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Diet soda

Diet soda

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Diet sodas are typically sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

-free, artificially sweetened, non-alcoholic
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

 carbonated beverages generally marketed towards health-conscious people, diabetics, athletes, and other people who want to lose weight, improve physical fitness, or reduce their sugar intake.

Sweetening


Different artificial sweeteners are used instead of sugar to give diet soda a sweet taste and some are often used simultaneously. Opinion is mixed as to the taste of these beverages: some think they lack the taste of their sugar-sweetened counterparts, others think the taste is similar. Some also note an unusual non-sugary aftertaste
Aftertaste
Aftertaste is the taste intensity of a food or beverage that is perceived immediately after that food or beverage is removed from the mouth. The aftertastes of different foods and beverages can vary by intensity and over time, but the unifying feature of aftertaste is that it is perceived after a...

. Some feel the opposite—that diet soda has no aftertaste and that soda sweetened by high fructose corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup
High-fructose corn syrup  — also called glucose-fructose syrup in the UK, glucose/fructose in Canada, and high-fructose maize syrup in other countries — comprises any of a group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce...

 has a gritty, over-sweet aftertaste.

Aspartame


Aspartame
Aspartame
Aspartame is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. In the European Union, it is codified as E951. Aspartame is a methyl ester of the aspartic acid/phenylalanine dipeptide. It was first sold under the brand name NutraSweet; since 2009 it...

, commonly known by the brand name NutraSweet
NutraSweet
The NutraSweet Company makes and sells NutraSweet, their trademarked brand name for the artificial sweetener aspartame, and Neotame.Aspartame was accidentally discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter, a chemist with a master's degree working under Dr. Kurt Rorig, PhD, in charge of new drug research...

, is one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners. The 1982 introduction of aspartame-sweetened Diet Coke
Diet Coke
Diet Coke is a sugar-free soft drink produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. It was first introduced in the United States on August 9, 1982, as the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark...

 accelerated this trend. Today, at least in the United States, "diet" is nearly synonymous with the use of aspartame in beverages.

Cyclamates


The first artificial sweeteners used in diet soda were cyclamate
Cyclamate
Sodium cyclamate is an artificial sweetener. It is 30–50 times sweeter than sugar , making it the least potent of the commercially used artificial sweeteners. Some people find it to have an unpleasant aftertaste, but, in general, less so than saccharin or acesulfame potassium...

s (often synergistically
Synergy
Synergy may be defined as two or more things functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable.The term synergy comes from the Greek word from , , meaning "working together".-Definitions and usages:...

 with saccharin). While many say these cyclamate-sweetened soda had a more pleasant taste than the diet soda that followed them, in 1970 the Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 banned cyclamates in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 on evidence that they caused cancer in lab rats
RATS
RATS may refer to:* RATS , Regression Analysis of Time Series, a statistical package* Rough Auditing Tool for Security, a computer program...

. Cyclamates are still used in many countries around the world, including for use in diet soda.

Saccharin


Once cyclamates were banned, American producers turned to saccharin
Saccharin
Saccharin is an artificial sweetener. The basic substance, benzoic sulfilimine, has effectively no food energy and is much sweeter than sucrose, but has a bitter or metallic aftertaste, especially at high concentrations...

. Saccharin alone was often criticized for having a bitter taste and "chemical" aftertaste. Some manufacturers, such as Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

 with Tab
Tab (soft drink)
Tab, stylized as TaB, is a diet cola soft drink produced by the Coca-Cola Company, first introduced in 1963. The soda was created by Coca Cola after the successful sales and marketing of Diet Rite cola, owned by The Royal Crown Company; previously, Diet Rite had been the only sugarless soda on the...

, attempted to rectify this by adding a small amount of sugar. In 1977, the FDA was petitioned to ban saccharin, too, as a carcinogen
Carcinogen
A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes...

, but a moratorium was placed on the ban until studies were conducted. The ban was lifted in 1991, but by that time, virtually all diet soda production had shifted to using aspartame. Perhaps the most notable holdout is Tab
Tab (soft drink)
Tab, stylized as TaB, is a diet cola soft drink produced by the Coca-Cola Company, first introduced in 1963. The soda was created by Coca Cola after the successful sales and marketing of Diet Rite cola, owned by The Royal Crown Company; previously, Diet Rite had been the only sugarless soda on the...

, which nevertheless also uses some aspartame in its formula.

Sucralose and acesulfame potassium; "sugar-free" sodas


Recently two other sweeteners, sucralose
Sucralose
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener. The majority of ingested sucralose is not broken down by the body and therefore it is non-caloric. In the European Union, it is also known under the E number E955. Sucralose is approximately 600 times as sweet as sucrose , twice as sweet as saccharin, and 3.3...

 (marketed as Splenda
Splenda
Splenda is the commercial name and registered trade mark of a sucralose-based artificial sweetener derived from sugar, owned by the British company Tate & Lyle. Sucralose was discovered by Tate & Lyle and researchers at Queen Elizabeth College, University of London, in 1976...

) and acesulfame potassium
Acesulfame potassium
Acesulfame potassium is a calorie-free artificial sweetener, also known as Acesulfame K or Ace K , and marketed under the trade names Sunett and Sweet One. In the European Union, it is known under the E number E950...

 ("Sunett" or "Ace K" (the K
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

 is the chemical symbol for potassium) which is usually used in conjunction with aspartame, sucralose, or saccharin rather than alone) have come into growing use, particularly by smaller beverage producers (e.g. Big Red
Big Red (drink)
Big Red is a soft drink that was created by Grover C. Thomsen and R.H. Roark in Waco, Texas and originally known as Sun Tang Red Cream Soda. It is generally considered to be one of many American varieties of cream soda, and is the original "red cream soda"...

). Diet Rite
Diet Rite
Diet Rite is a brand of no-calorie soft drinks originally distributed by the RC Cola company. It was introduced in 1958 and initially released as a dietetic product, but was marketed to the general public as a healthful beverage in 1962...

 is the non-aspartame diet soda brand with the highest sales today; it uses a combination of sucralose and acesulfame potassium.

Advocates say drinks employing these sweeteners have a more natural sugar-like taste than those made just with aspartame, and do not have a strong aftertaste. The newer aspartame-free drinks can also be safely consumed by phenylketonurics
Phenylketonuria
Phenylketonuria is an autosomal recessive metabolic genetic disorder characterized by a mutation in the gene for the hepatic enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase , rendering it nonfunctional. This enzyme is necessary to metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine to the amino acid tyrosine...

, because they do not contain phenylalanine
Phenylalanine
Phenylalanine is an α-amino acid with the formula C6H5CH2CHCOOH. This essential amino acid is classified as nonpolar because of the hydrophobic nature of the benzyl side chain. L-Phenylalanine is an electrically neutral amino acid, one of the twenty common amino acids used to biochemically form...

. Critics say the taste is not better, merely different, or note that the long-term health risks of all or certain artificial sweeteners is unclear.

The widespread, though not universal, agreement that the newest formulations taste much more "normal" (sugar-like) than the older diet sodas have prompted some producers, such as Jones Soda
Jones Soda
Jones Soda Co. is a beverage company based in Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington. It bottles and distributes soft drinks, non-carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and candy. Jones Soda is a carbonated soft drink that has many unusual flavors that are not offered by other soft drink makers.Founded...

, to abandon the "diet" label entirely in favor of "sugar-free soda," implying that the taste is good enough to drink the soda even when not trying to lose weight. (This idea was first floated by Diet Coke
Diet Coke
Diet Coke is a sugar-free soft drink produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. It was first introduced in the United States on August 9, 1982, as the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark...

 in 1984, with the tagline, "Just For the Taste of It.")

In 2005, the Coca-Cola Company announced it would produce a new formulation of Diet Coke
Diet Coke
Diet Coke is a sugar-free soft drink produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. It was first introduced in the United States on August 9, 1982, as the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark...

 sweetened with sucralose, to be called Diet Coke with Splenda, but it would continue to produce the aspartame version as well. There were also rumors that a sugar-free version of Coca-Cola Classic, also sweetened with sucralose, was being formulated as well. This formulation was eventually called Coca-Cola Zero
Coca-Cola Zero
Coca-Cola Zero or Coke Zero is a product of the Coca-Cola Company. It is a low-calorie variation of Coca-Cola specifically marketed to males, who were shown to associate 'diet' drinks with women....

, though it is sweetened with aspartame in conjunction with acesulfame potassium
Acesulfame potassium
Acesulfame potassium is a calorie-free artificial sweetener, also known as Acesulfame K or Ace K , and marketed under the trade names Sunett and Sweet One. In the European Union, it is known under the E number E950...

.

History


The beginning of the diet soda or refreshment era was in 1952, when Kirsch Bottling in Brooklyn, New York launched a sugar free ginger ale
Ginger ale
Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger. Dr. Thomas Cantrell, an American apothecary and surgeon, claimed to have invented ginger ale and marketed it with beverage manufacturer Grattan and Company. Grattan embossed the slogan "The Original Makers of Ginger Ale" on its bottles...

 called No-Cal
No-Cal Soda
-History:Hyman Kirsch and his son Morris, both Russian immigrants living in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, began selling sodas in 1904...

. It was designed for diabetics, not dieters, and distribution remained local. Royal Crown Cola placed an announcement in an Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

 newspaper in 1958 announcing a diet soda product, Diet Rite
Diet Rite
Diet Rite is a brand of no-calorie soft drinks originally distributed by the RC Cola company. It was introduced in 1958 and initially released as a dietetic product, but was marketed to the general public as a healthful beverage in 1962...

. In 1962, Dr Pepper
Dr Pepper
Dr Pepper is a soft drink, marketed as having a unique flavor. The drink was created in the 1880s by Charles Alderton of Waco, Texas and first served around 1885. Dr Pepper was first nationally marketed in the United States in 1904 and is now also sold in Europe, Asia, Canada, Mexico, Australia ...

 released a diet(etic) version of its soda, although it sold slowly due to the misconception that it was meant solely for diabetic consumption. In 1963, the Coca-Cola Company joined the diet soda market with Tab
Tab (soft drink)
Tab, stylized as TaB, is a diet cola soft drink produced by the Coca-Cola Company, first introduced in 1963. The soda was created by Coca Cola after the successful sales and marketing of Diet Rite cola, owned by The Royal Crown Company; previously, Diet Rite had been the only sugarless soda on the...

, which proved to be a huge success. Tab was originally sweetened with cyclamates and saccharin
Saccharin
Saccharin is an artificial sweetener. The basic substance, benzoic sulfilimine, has effectively no food energy and is much sweeter than sucrose, but has a bitter or metallic aftertaste, especially at high concentrations...

.

Tab, Diet Rite, and Fresca
Fresca
Fresca is a citrus diet soft drink made by The Coca-Cola Company. First introduced in the United States in 1966, the drink is now sold throughout the American continent...

 (a grapefruit-flavored soda introduced by Coca-Cola) were the only brand-name diet refreshments on the market until Pepsi
Pepsi
Pepsi is a carbonated soft drink that is produced and manufactured by PepsiCo...

 released Diet Pepsi
Diet Pepsi
Diet Pepsi is a no-calorie carbonated cola soft drink produced by PepsiCo, introduced in 1964 as a variant of Pepsi-Cola with no sugar. First test marketed in 1963 under the name Patio Diet Cola, it was re-branded as Diet Pepsi the following year, becoming the first diet cola to be distributed on a...

 in the 1960s (initially as Patio Diet Cola
Patio (soda)
Patio Diet Cola was a brand of diet soda introduced by Pepsi in 1963. It was created in response to Diet Rite Cola, which was the first diet cola on the market. Debbie Drake was Patio Diet Cola's spokesperson. In 1964, Patio released orange, grape, and root beer flavors...

). Diet 7 Up was also released in 1963 under the name Like. It was discontinued in 1969 due to the US government ban of cyclamate
Cyclamate
Sodium cyclamate is an artificial sweetener. It is 30–50 times sweeter than sugar , making it the least potent of the commercially used artificial sweeteners. Some people find it to have an unpleasant aftertaste, but, in general, less so than saccharin or acesulfame potassium...

 sweetener. After reformulation, it was reintroduced as Diet 7 Up in 1970. It was renamed Sugar Free 7 Up in 1973 then back to Diet 7 Up in 1979. Coca-Cola countered by releasing Diet Coke
Diet Coke
Diet Coke is a sugar-free soft drink produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. It was first introduced in the United States on August 9, 1982, as the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark...

 in 1982. After the release of Diet Coke, Tab took a backseat on the Coca-Cola production lines; Diet Coke could be more easily identified by consumers as associated with Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

 than Tab. Additionally, a study was released claiming that saccharin was a possible carcinogen
Carcinogen
A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes...

, leading to Coca-Cola's decision to decrease production of Tab. Prompted by the rising popularity of soft drinks, in the mid-1980s some of those in the alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

 industry began to follow their lead with some beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

 companies putting sugar-free beer on the market.

By the early 1990s, a wide array of different companies had their own diet refreshments on supermarket shelves. Tab made a comeback during the late 1990s, after new studies demonstrated that saccharin is not an important factor in the risk of cancer. Nevertheless, the Coca-Cola Company has maintained its 1984 reformulation, replacing some of the saccharin in Tab with NutraSweet.

By 2002, some soda companies had diversified to include such flavors as vanilla
Vanilla
Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, Flat-leaved Vanilla . The word vanilla derives from the Spanish word "", little pod...

 and lemon
Lemon
The lemon is both a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and the tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind are also used, mainly in cooking and baking...

 among their products, and diet sodas were soon being produced with those flavors as well (see Diet Vanilla Coke, Diet Pepsi Vanilla). By 2004, several alcohol companies had released sugar-free or "diet" alcoholic products too.

Health concerns


Along with possible health concerns of sugar substitutes and caffeine
Caffeine
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants...

 overuse, the effectiveness of diet soda as a weight loss tool should also be considered.

Changing the food energy intake from one food will not necessarily change a person's overall food energy intake, or cause a person to lose weight. One study, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, reported by Sharon Fowler at the ADA annual meeting, actually suggested the opposite, where consumption of diet soda was correlated with weight gain. While Fowler did suggest that the undelivered expected calories from diet soda may stimulate the appetite, the correlation does not prove
Correlation does not imply causation
"Correlation does not imply causation" is a phrase used in science and statistics to emphasize that correlation between two variables does not automatically imply that one causes the other "Correlation does not imply causation" (related to "ignoring a common cause" and questionable cause) is a...

 that consumption of diet soda caused the weight gain. The ADA has yet to issue an updated policy concerning diet soda.

An independent study by researchers with the Framingham Heart Study
Framingham Heart Study
The Framingham Heart Study is a long-term, ongoing cardiovascular study on residents of the town of Framingham, Massachusetts. The study began in 1948 with 5,209 adult subjects from Framingham, and is now on its third generation of participants...

 in Massachusetts, has turned up results which indicate that the consumption of diet soda correlates with increased metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical disorders that, when occurring together, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It affects one in five people in the United States and prevalence increases with age...

. Of the 9,000 males and females studied, findings stated that 48% of the subjects were at higher risk for weight gain and elevated blood sugar
Blood sugar
The blood sugar concentration or blood glucose level is the amount of glucose present in the blood of a human or animal. Normally in mammals, the body maintains the blood glucose level at a reference range between about 3.6 and 5.8 mM , or 64.8 and 104.4 mg/dL...

. The researchers also acknowledged that diet soda drinkers were less likely to consume healthy foods, and that drinking diet soda flavored with artificial sweeteners more than likely increases cravings for sugar flavored sweets.

A preliminary abstract presented by the University of Miami
University of Miami
The University of Miami is a private, non-sectarian university founded in 1925 with its main campus in Coral Gables, Florida, a medical campus in Miami city proper at Civic Center, and an oceanographic research facility on Virginia Key., the university currently enrolls 15,629 students in 12...

's Hannah Gardener linked daily consumption of diet soda to a 61% higher incidence of "vascular events" such as strokes and heart attacks, although Gardener acknowledged that these results could not be conclusively linked to harmful effects of diet soda itself, and may be the result of other behaviors. The author stated confirmation was required prior to drawing conclusions. These studies were published as abstracts and presented at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal

Among individuals who drink several regular sodas per day, diet soda may be a better choice, according to a website on dieting. Studies have also indicated that body mass gain is an unlikely consequence of artificial sweetener consumption.

Animal studies suggest that artificial sweeteners cause body weight gain, theoretically because of a faulty insulin response, at least in cattle and rats. Rats given sweeteners have steadily increased caloric intake, increased body weight, and increased adiposity (fatness). Adding saccharin to the food of calves increases their body weight as well.

A study of almost 60,000 pregnant Danish women found that preterm birth was more common in women who drank diet soda than in those who drank sugar-sweetened soda. The study was not designed to determine if there was any cause and effect relationship.

Nomenclature


In some countries outside the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the term "light" is often used instead of "diet".

Reduced-calorie soda



In an effort to cash in on the surging popularity of low-carbohydrate diet
Low-carbohydrate diet
Low-carbohydrate diets or low-carb diets are dietary programs that restrict carbohydrate consumption usually for weight control or for the treatment of obesity. Foods high in digestible carbohydrates are limited or replaced with foods containing a higher percentage of proteins and fats...

s, in 2004 both Coca-Cola
The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company is an American multinational beverage corporation and manufacturer, retailer and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in Columbus, Georgia...

 and Pepsico
PepsiCo
PepsiCo Inc. is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Purchase, New York, United States, with interests in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of grain-based snack foods, beverages, and other products. PepsiCo was formed in 1965 with the merger of the Pepsi-Cola Company...

 released reduced-calorie versions of their flagship sodas that contain approximately half the sugar of the regular version. The Pepsi
Pepsi
Pepsi is a carbonated soft drink that is produced and manufactured by PepsiCo...

 variant, Pepsi Edge, is sweetened with sucralose and corn syrup. The sweetening of the Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

 variant, Coca-Cola C2
Coca-Cola C2
Coca-Cola C2 was a cola-flavored beverage introduced by The Coca-Cola Company first in Japan, then later on 7 June 2004 in the United States , in response to the low-carbohydrate diet trend...

, is a combination of corn syrup, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose. Pepsi discontinued Edge in 2005, citing lackluster sales. Coca-Cola soon followed suit.

Half the sugar of a can of regular cola is still more sugar than many people on popular low-carbohydrate diets are permitted to have in a day. It is possible that these sodas are targeted, instead, at so-called "carb-conscious consumers" who are paying attention to, but not trying to drastically reduce, their carbohydrate intake.