Dr Pepper TEN worked out so well that the Dr Pepper/Snapple group is test-marketing an ambitious expansion of the line, featuring "mid-calorie" versions of 7 Up, A&W root beer, Sunkist orange soda, Canada Dry ginger ale, and RC cola. We tried 'em all.
'diet soda' on Serious Eats
Canfield's Diet Chocolate Fudge soda was dreamed up as a diet aid by one of the executives of the A.J. Canfield Company back in the mid-1970s. This executive, it seems, was a chocoholic who hoped that a zero-calorie fudge soda might stem his cravings and slim his figure. The soda lingered in the shadows of the novelty-drink world until, back in 1985, the Chicago Tribune's Bob Greene wrote in his nationally-syndicated column that "a sip of the stuff is like biting into a hot fudge sundae." Sales went up 5,000 percent.
I was a teenage cashier in the main cafeteria at Texas A&M University. And that's a story in itself. But it's relevant here because that's where I first tried Coke Zero. The hours were long, the work was slow, and I needed a cold pick-me-up to get me through the dinner rush.
When a Cheesecake Factory moved into my suburban California hometown at the end of my high school years, there was one thing about it that excited me above all else. It wasn't the 33 flavors of cheesecake, or the choice of about two dozen entrées from every imaginable cuisine for $12. No, I was excited about their soda selection. Because for about two bucks, they'd give you a stunning 32 ounces of Fresca from the fountain—and then they'd give you free refills. I've always thought Fresca one of the most underappreciated citizens of the diet soda world.
I'm always on the lookout for diet sodas that make good mixers. It's a little silly given that I'm just going to dump something caloric into them, but if I take out half the calories, that means I can have twice as many drinks, right? (Or something.) Gosling's Diet Ginger Beer is my favorite diet soda discovery of late.
Dr Pepper Ten. Coke's short-lived C2. Many soda brands have tried to create a lower-calorie version of their standard product. The latest? Pepsi Next, launching this week with 60% less sugar than a standard Pepsi (and with both sucralose and aspartame to pick up the sweetening slack). Pepsi sent us over a few cans to get a first taste.
"Au Naturel" can mean many things. It's handy when we want to make "naked" sound more sophisticated than vulgar. And in the world of food, it presumably means something derived from "natural" ingredients. But when it comes down to it, the definition of "natural" is a fuzzy one. Jones Soda just released their new "Au Naturel" line—three sodas sweetened partially with stevia, with 35 calories and much less sugar (7g) than a standard bottle. We've had a number of low-sugar sodas we've liked recently. How would Jones fare?
As far as vices go, I think my diet soda fixation is a pretty innocuous one. (At least, there are clearer consequences to, you know, cigarettes or gambling or binge doughnut-eating.) Still, there are times when it can get out of hand. Anyone else out there ever tried to kick a diet soda habit? And were you successful?
As far as I can tell, Tab's primary role in the pop-culture-verse these days isn't as a soda; it's as a symbol of the '70s and '80s. I've been working through a six-pack this week and, when people catch a glimpse, their reaction is always the same: "They still make that stuff?"
We like the idea of 50 calorie soda. If you use juice to sweeten up your fizzy water, it's going to cost you a few calories, but at least you're not consuming a bunch of artificial sugars. Izze's Esque line of sodas all use juice as a sweetener and come in four fruity flavors.
When we were in Denver recently, we got our hands on a 12-pack of the stuff and decided to do a blind taste test, comparing the original Dr. Pepper, the zero-calorie Diet Dr. Pepper, and this new ten-calorie version. Which lower-calorie version tastes the most like the real thing? We were determined to find out.
My wife has been asking me to give up diet soda for years, but I've managed to keep her at bay by telling her that, at the very least, drinking diet soda reduces my sugar intake. Well, the Gourmet magazine email newsletter I just received says the opposite may be true. It mentions a recent study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City, in which researchers concluded that "drinking diet soda actually causes your body to absorb more sugar. Turns out that artificial sweeteners trigger the same taste receptors in the small intestine that glucose does, releasing hormones that absorb sugar into the bloodstream." I'm afraid I'm going to have to come up with another rationale...