Diet Coke has wooed weight-conscious pop imbibers since its inception in 1982—claiming the title of America’s best-selling zero-calorie beverage brand to date. Fast forward to mid-January 2018, and the classic can that’s been photographed in the hands of Ivanka Trump and Heidi Klum is making headlines for its divisive new makeover.
No, Diet Coke did not change its beloved recipe—the company added four new calorie-free flavors to the line: Feisty Cherry, Twisted Mango, Ginger Lime, and Zesty Blood Orange. In an effort to reinvigorate the brand and appeal to a millennial-focused target market, The Coca-Cola Company is “modernizing what has made Diet Coke so special for a new generation,” Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke, said in a press release. “We’re making the brand more relatable and more authentic.”
But are the iconic soda brand’s new recipes actually hitting home with the targeted folks who sip on Spindrift and La Croix?
Diet Coke’s innovative new flavors may tantalize the taste buds of those willing to try them, but its ingredient list is far from exciting. Aspartame, an artificial sweetener used in the classic Diet Coke recipe, has been linked to weight gain and metabolic syndrome, while acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) has been shown to cause cognitive impairment. Much to our dismay, both of these artificial sweeteners are spotted on the new cans’ labels. And rather than flavoring the sodas with real fruit like Spindrift does, Cola opted for infusing these with “natural flavors,” an ambiguous, transparency-lacking term that happens to be La Croix’s secret ingredient, too.
Our verdict? Skip the sketchy additives in Diet Coke’s new cans and crack open one of these 15 New Drinks That Make it Easy to Quit Soda instead.