The Thanksgiving Advent Calendar, Day Seven: Coke Zero

Oh, don’t look at me like that. You knew it was coming.

And yes, I actually am thankful for Coke Zero, which is in my opinion the only diet cola that doesn’t completely taste of ass, and that includes Diet Coke. Which in fact is not made from the Coke formula at all: It’s the last remaining vestige of the “New Coke” formula, reviled by the masses at its introduction in the 80s and quickly hounded off the shelves. Actually, if my understanding is correct, it’s New Coke that is a variant of the Diet Coke formula, since the diet version was released in 1982, and New Coke was unleashed in 1985. Either way, it sucks and it’s not Coke.

Which sucked for me when I hit my late 20s and my previously fast-burning metabolism slowed down considerably and then all the calories from the regular coke I was drinking decided to stick around in a doughy mass in my mid-section. If I wanted to keep drinking soda (which I did) and not roll down the hall (which I did not), I would have to switch to diet variants. And thus I was confronted with Diet Coke, which I was not happy with. There are other diet colas as well, of course, but all of them suffer from the same problem, namely, they don’t actually taste like Coca-Cola, which is my preferred cola experience. Yes, this is very much a first world problem. Please shut up now.

But then the Coca-Cola Company, in its wisdom, decided to make Coke Zero, and they did so for a very particular reason, which is that American men are fat but don’t like to be seen drinking a soda that has the word “diet” in it, because they think that makes them look like they’re concerned about their weight, and that’s girly. So they made a diet cola without the word “diet” in it and pushed their marketing at men, and since they couldn’t just rebrand Diet Coke and get away with it, they made this new stealth-diet soda with the original Coke formula.

Personally, I couldn’t give a crap about the whole “men don’t want to be seen with diet sodas” thing — I’m comfortable enough in my masculinity that being seen with a diet pop isn’t going to make my testosterone levels drop, and anyway, what do I have to hide? Why yes, I’ll get fat if I drink a lot of sugared sodas. I’m a middle aged man. The rest of my life will be a struggle not to just throw up my hands, say “oh, fuck it,” and start working on my Santa Claus impression. I know this about myself. I’m not particularly concerned if you know it too. Because you already do know this. Now none of us have to pretend at a polite fiction.

What I was interested in, however, was the fact Coke Zero was using the original formula. Could this finally be the answer to my diet cola prayers? When it arrived in my local store, I bought a 20-ounce bottle, went outside, cracked it open and swigged some back. Then I marched right back into the store and instantly bought four 12-packs of the stuff. Because, to borrow a catch phrase, Coke Zero was it. The magical dusky brown zero-calorie elixir I was looking for. Thank you, all you insecure pudgy men of America, for being enough of a marketable demographic that I got a tolerable diet cola in my lifetime.

Which is not to say, perhaps contrary to popular conception, that I think Coke Zero is the Best Liquid Ever. I do drink other things, you know — including things that are not sweet and carbonated — and I do keep an eye on my consumption of it. I also don’t confuse drinking Coke Zero with something that’s healthy; I mean, it may be marginally healthier for me than sucking down sugared sodas, but this is a strictly relative thing. I remember not too long ago Coke started touting the hydration benefits of Coke Zero on its 12-pack containers, which I thought was pretty ridiculous. If you want to hydrate, drink water, please. It’s better for you.

So: Not the best liquid ever. But best diet cola ever? Easily. Which is why I drink it. I do find it amusing how much it is associated with me at this point — when I go to appearances, for example, it’s even money that someone in the audience will come up with a bottle of Coke Zero they brought for me, which I actually do appreciate. And of course there was that time when the CapriCon convention gave me my weight in Coke Zero; it was a good thing I drove to that convention rather than flew to it. I would not have liked trying to get that all on the plane.

So for being delicious, non-fattening and an amusing and yet thankfully innocuous part of my public persona, I thank you, Coke Zero, for existing. And now I will drink you. Yes.

76 Comments on “The Thanksgiving Advent Calendar, Day Seven: Coke Zero”

  1. I drink Diet Coke for much the same reason. I’ve yet to find another diet cola that doesn’t taste either mostly of Corke or mostly of Pepsi, both of which I dislike. Diet coke on the other hand I like the flavor of and it doesn’t taste like Coke.
    Another suprising diet drink is Diet Mountian Dew. It isn’t great, but it doesn’t invoke my gag refflex like regular mountian dew does. Which is kind of odd since back in high school, when I’d run a D&D game I’d buy 2 24 packs of mountian dew. One for the players and one for me.

  2. I agree the Diet Coke is vile. Diet Pepsi I actually enjoy, but given the choice I’d choose Coke Zero. Heck, you can even mix rum with Coke Zero and it tastes okay. Now if I could just find some of this Dr. Pepper 10 I’ver heard about…

  3. I hate diet drinks. Period. But you’ve been blathering like Kathy Lee for so long about Coke Zero that I tried it last week — not on purpose, mind you, but by accident. It was the only beverage offered with the pizza we got for lunch. So I tried it, prepared for the worst. “Hey, this is okay,” are the exact words I used, completely surprised. “Really okay,” I repeated, after not just one or two sips, but the entire bottle. So I’ll put Coke Zero on my list of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Before baked Cheetos and after $2500 used cars.

  4. Just a slight tangent for you, but New Coke was never intended to be a long term formula. It was just a stop-gap while they changed the “original” formula to use corn syrup as the sweetener, rather than cane sugar. They kept New Coke long enough for all of the existing supplies of Coke to be cleared out, including the syrup containers used in soda fountains, which accounts for the longest amount of time, and then re-introduced the original formula again, with the sugar change. Another feature of taking so long was that it allowed people to forget the actual taste of coke before the sugar change, so they wouldn’t be complaining about it decades later.

    The really funny thing is that they intended New Coke to only be around for a short time, but it has stayed around as the formula for Diet Coke.

  5. Personally, I don’t care for the ‘zero’ or ‘max’ drinks that Coke and Pepsi, respectively are peddling out as male ‘alternatives’ to reg. diet drinks. Because, IMO, they probably taste the same as well. And I’m not too happy with their ads either. Especially the one for Dr. Pepper “10” & their “It’s Not for Women” tagline. Even I find it offensive & insulting, and I’m a guy.

  6. Coke Zero was my gateway drug to Cherry Coke Zero which, along with Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi, is probably better suited as a blood substitute for me than *actual blood*. (Though now that I can start finding Mello Yello Zero with more regularity, I suppose I’m operating as a kind of hybrid-fuel carbonated acid water system.)

    Side note: Kroger brand “Cola Oh!” generic Coke Zero is actually very tasty, nearly indistinguishable from Coke Zero. For those who haven’t had a “I’m getting the next round” kind of book deal. :)

  7. I don’t understand carbonated beverages. They burn like fire. Add in enough sweetener to make your palate collapse, and together you have a sensation that seems only slightly more pleasant than a sinus infection. How do you do it? I really wonder–why are beer, soda, and champagne are so popular? Does early exposure inoculate you, somehow? Do you form some sort of callous inside your mouth to deaden the sensation? And then how do you handle the horrible gas cramps, after? Is this why antacids and Gas-X are so popular? I have been curious about the popularity of carbonation my entire life…

  8. I cant stand the taste of aspertame. And I am consistently able to taste it in a blindfolded test. Truvia is a tolerable sweetener for me. but still has a bit of aftertaste. I usually end up drinking regular mountain dew if I want caffinated/sweetened drinks or coffe with truvia if i want caffeine without the calories.

  9. I do find it amusing how much it is associated with me at this point

    I was terribly embarrassed when — on seeing Some Dude drinking a Coke Zero — I said, “Oh, that must be Scalzi!” And then you heard me and I had to explain it.

  10. By the 3 Laws of Thanksgiving Thermodynamics:
    (1) every Calorie (actually Kilocalorie) saved by drinking diet soda, will be compensated by an equal or greater number of calories in the stuffing and Turkey.
    (2) Every calorie saved by eating a low-fat Turkey or stuffing, will be compensated by an equal or greater number of calories in the sweet potatoes, salad dressing, or pie.
    (3) Every calorie saved by eating a low-fat pie will be compensated by an equal or greater number of calories in the topping, be it ice cream or whipped cream. The latter is known as “mit schlag” in Germany, as you know, since mit schlag means “with whipped cream,” which is how Austrians love to top many foods and beverages including fruit, desserts and coffee But is not to be confused with Mitt Romney.

  11. Yes, Diet Coke is pretty nasty, and doesn’t taste much like the product for which it theoretically substitutes.

    Maybe I should give Coke Zero another try, but I think my reaction was “better than regular Diet Coke”, but hardly a ringing endorsement.

    I’ve never been very happy with any diet colas though I find that Cherry Diet Rite is growing on me. I find non-cola diet soft drinks more palatable– like the Diet Rite fruit flavors, though I haven’t seen the white grape in quite some time.

    My nominee for least beloved diet beverage must be Cragmont Diet Chocolate Soda.

  12. Coke Zero’s good. I think my favorite diet cola is Diet Dr. Pepper. I’ve cut down on my pop consumption, though. Now I mainly drink cheap tea all day, mainly for convenience reasons. I have a travel mug that seals so I can carry it around at work, and even tuck it under my arm if my hands are full. The staff lounge has an Insta Hot tap, so I can refill it any time.

  13. Quoth our host:
    > it’s even money that someone in the audience will come up with a bottle of Coke Zero they
    > brought for me
    Or bought several doors down the street, having failed to Plan This Ahead Of Time.

    Based on your testimony, I decided to try CZ and was pleasantly surprised. The Coca-Cola World domination won’t happen anytime soon, though – I might be good for a dozen cans in an entire year, counting all fizzy and sugary drinks. Water mostly.

  14. Diet Dr. Pepper is the elixir of life. Coke Zero, Diet Pepsi, or even (gasp) Diet Coke can pass in a pinch, but I’ll be thinking of Diet Dr. Pepper while I’m drinking them.

  15. @Clear2grey,
    I’ve been mainlining Diet Dr. Pepper for a couple of years now for the same reason John does his Zero and now I find out that the media thinks I’m a wuss and I’m supposed to switch to DP10. I hope it fails to sell and goes the way of Crystal Pepsi.

  16. @Chris, @David, Snopes has debunked that:

    Coke started allowing bottlers to used %100 corn syrup six months before New Coke hit the market. There was no diabolical plan; Pepsi was just totally schooling Coke in blind taste tests. Meanwhile Diet Coke was doing very well, and increasing its market share as fast as original coke was losing it. Coke execs put two and two together, added sugar to the formula, and reintroduced it. They would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for that meddling brand loyalty.

  17. I’m a big fan of HEB generic diet caffeine free cola. For years I drank diet caffeine free Pepsi, and I’ve found the generic HEB store brand tastes very nearly the same, for about half the price. And I much prefer the Randalls/Safeway store brand of lemon-lime soda to either 7up or Sprite. I also like the Kroger Big K Cherry Cola.

    While it’s true that sometimes generics do fall far short of the brand names in terms of taste and quality, I’ve found the difference in flavor between the brand name sodas and the generics I’ve just mentioned is so minimal to not be worth spending twice as much money just to prove my “brand loyalty”.

  18. Oh, and I almost forgot. If you live anywhere near an “international” food market of any sort, and you miss the way Coke used to taste before they rolled out New Coke, then went back to Coke “classic”–Mexican Coke is still made with real cane sugar.

  19. @Annalee – Pespi was beating Coke in a particular kind of blind taste test, known as a sip test. When they went back and retested for the whole cola drinking experience (i.e. a whole can), Coke outperformed Pepsi equally as much. It was more a case of Pepsi using advertising to manipulate we gullible fools into drinking their vile sweet product than an actual preference for the vile sweet Product that is Pepsi. Malcolm Gladwell devoted a whole chapter of Blink to this very topic.

  20. “Which is why I drink it. I do find it amusing how much it is associated with me at this point” – perhaps you need to work out an endorsement deal…

  21. I’ve never been a coffee drinker because I don’t like drinking hot liquids (I am always hot) so I’ve always been a large consumer of Diet Coke and now Coke Zero. I consume massive quantities of soda so I have to drink 0 calorie soda (I average about 4L a day). I am also very thankful for Coke Zero as it’s FAAAAR better than Diet Coke.

  22. I was stationed in the high desert on the Apocalypse (New Coke in – Old Coke out). I scoured every gas station and convenience store in the desert and bought up cases and cases of old coke, put it in the garage, and mainlined on it every day trying to stretch the supply until rational minds won out. I like Diet Coke, can’t stand Coke Zero, and can’t explain why. The day I had the epiphany about real Coke and my love handles is still one of the saddest days of my life.

  23. @Michael: Oh, don’t worry, I labor under no illusions that Pepsi is an acceptable cola product. It is not. Coke is superior in every way. I’m just saying they weren’t trying to pull some kind of dastardly bait-and-switch. They just messed up. And possibly saved their brand in the process.

  24. I remember at the switch of New Coke for Old Coke I called the Coca-Cola Company to complain. They said that they would be happy to send me a coupon for a 6- or 8-pack of New Coke to give it another try. I was, what, fourteen at the time. I was happy for the offer, but what stick in my mind was that out there in the world, there were other children enjoying *eight* packs of soda, to my paltry northern California six packs. I still don’t think I’ve ever run into an eight pack in the wild, but apparently if I had found one then, I’d have gotten it for free.

  25. It’s great that you found something like this. I never warmed to any particular brand of diet pop, but managed to cut back my soda intake drastically a few years ago when I finally internalized the principle that Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Sprite and all the rest of them are mass-produced products–they’re not going away any time soon, so do I really have to have one right now?

    Sometimes–maybe once out of every 4 or 5 times–I’ll have soda in a restaurant. For home consumption I stock up on pop made with cane sugar rather than corn syrup, either from things like Pepsi’s recent “Throwback” line or pricy bottled pop like Boylan’s. The theory here is that if I’m going to have empty calories, at least I’m going to think about what I’m buying, I’m going to think about what I’m putting in my body, and when I do give into a soda craving at home (not that often, fortunately; it can take me months to finish a 12-can case of “Throwback” Pepsi) I’m damn well going to enjoy it. So far it works for me, and I hope it might work for others who choose to stick with non-diet soda.

    (Now if only I could cut down on Cheetos, M&M’s and ice cream sandwiches….)

  26. Restaurants treat ‘diet’ as a flavor. Usually they have either Diet Coke, or Diet Pepsi and that is all. In restaurants, the virtues of other diet carbonated soft drinks are largely irrelevant. I find that iced tea is usually the best solution. I was about to ask if Diet Mountain Dew was even available as syrup for fountain machines, but it turns out that it is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it offered in a fountain. I assume that it just isn’t popular enough to justify taking up a slot in the fountain machine.

    I think the largest selection of soda I’ve ever seen offered at a restaurant was a place in Canada, and it turned out that was because the server brought you a can and a glass of ice.

  27. During one of my dieting escapades of the 90s, I did a sip test of all the diet colas. I found that pepsi one was the least orally insulting, but in all honesty I cant remember if Coke zero was one of the tasters. I’ve pretty much given up sodas these days, but do treat myself occasionally to a Mexican coke.

    Mr. Scalzi, if coke zero is NOT your favorite beverage, how’s about telling us what your fav beverage is?

  28. To each his own. Coke Zero tastes like ass-partame to me.

    (Still…I suppose someone who doesn’t drink beer OR coffee has to consume something.)

  29. I can’t remember who coined the term “jumped-up sugar water” as a name for colas, but I’ve used it relentlessly since I first heard it. And I’m a lifelong cola drinker, sweetened and unsweetened. My poison of choice is Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry, which I see has been mentioned at least once in this thread. Good stuff — for me, at least.

  30. Coke Zero is the best diet drink since Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr Pepper. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long.

  31. Somewhere in the basement, in the boxes that haven’t been opened for decades, is at least a six-pack of Old Coke, left-overs of a buying binge way back then. I’d heard about the coming switch to corn syrup and stocked up before the local distributor changed. When I found the Mexican stuff, I stopped worrying. I suspect it’s different than Old Coke but it’s close enough. Some day I’m going to have a friend with a good chemical analyzer and we’re going to do testing.

    Old Coke ~= Mexican Coke > Coke Zero >> any other cola product. They’ve mucked with Hires Root Beer, too, and spoiled it. Vernors is sweeter than it used to be, it seems.

    Izzy Grapefruit, and Reed’s Extra Ginger Ginger Beer, are probably the two sodas I consume the most of.

    Be grateful for the flavored water(s) that delight your tastes.

  32. I switched to Diet Coke a few years back for many of the reasons you enumerated, plus the fact that my step-kids won’t drink it. I got by on that for a while until I tried Diet Coke with Lime. Now I drink way too much DCWL, but at least I was able to lose weight and run a couple of marathons. I doubt that it’s good for me, but I ain’t gonna live forever anyway…

  33. I’ve never understood the American obsession with “soda”. Here at the bottom of the world (New Zealand) it’s regarded as a drink for children. Adults would only drink coke well spiced with alcohol. We had a coke machine at work for a while but we recently had it removed — in the last 8 months it sold exactly 6 cans…

    We like our caffeine hot. Coffee and tea are the drinks of choice. I probably drink about half a dozen cups of each during an average day.

    Aren’t people strange?



  34. I haven’t seem ads for Dr. Pepper 10 so don’t know enough to be offended. However, I did spot some at the store and picked some up to try it. And I’ll be darned if it doesn’t taste just like the regular stuff, or at least more so than straight Diet Dr. Pepper.

    I noticed the other day when I got a Diet Mt. Dew, it now lists itself as 10 calories. So it seems the new trend is to put just enough sugar in there that it can be enhanced with the artificial sweeteners. I hope more soft drink makers go towards making “low calorie” versions, as opposed to “zero calorie” versions.

  35. I just noticed today that my office has started stocking Coke Zero. Add me to the list of those who have just tried it and… it ain’t bad. It’s no Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but since I’m not allowed to drink beer at work (any more. Don’t press me for details, but I would like to make it clear that I didn’t realize that that those were actual ferrets or that the fire extinguisher was quite so touchy) it will do very nicely, I think.

  36. I like Coke Zero. I like Cherry Coke Zero even better than diet Dr. Pepper but now, I’ll be looking for the Dr. Pepper 10.

  37. My favorite adult beverage is Cherry Coke Zero w/ Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. We call it a “Spicy Virgin”. Mmmm!

  38. Alan Robinson, coffee and tea (well, coffee) are very popular adult drinks in the Northern hemisphere, too. But since I don’t like the taste of coffee, I have to get my caffeine from other sources. I’m no masochist, so I won’t drink coffee just to fit in.

  39. I don’t know who you are yet (a friend just forwarded a Tweet of yours to me) but as you like Coke Zero and Thomas Dolby music, you are clearly a kindred spirit (insomuch as diet soda and Dolby music can bring spirits together in some way). I was amused by your “Budapest by Blimp” tweet and passed it on to Thomas (who is touring in the UK right now).

    Cheers from chilly DC.

  40. Kevin B. — I think you probably mean North America rather than the whole Northern hemisphere. When I lived in England, the same attitudes prevailed. And I found the same thing on my trips to Europe. Few, if any adults of my acquaintance ever consumed soft drinks.

    I don’t mean this as a criticism — quite the opposite in fact. I simply find the different cultural (if that’s the word I’m groping for) attitudes to the consumption of soft drinks to be very interesting. I’m also quite curious as to how it might have arisen in the first place. I have no explanation for it…



  41. Man, I miss Diet Coke. I used to drink that stuff down like it was the antidote to everything that was wrong with the world. I never really liked the sweetness of regular colas, so Coke Zero wasn’t going to work for me. Unfortunately, Coca-Cola Japan came to pretty much the same conclusion about the manliness of diet drinks, and I haven’t been able to find it here for years.

    When I go back to the States, though… Oh, it’s all chemically goodness.

  42. Another Diet Coke drinker here. The carbonation bothers my stomach more than it used to, so these days I mostly drink water mixed with Crystal Light. They have a strawberry flavor that has just enough caffeine in it to keep the headaches at bay.

  43. @ Alan – it might have to do with climatic differences. Even the finest cup of Earl Grey holds little appeal when it’s 45C in the shade (or 35C and 90% humidity, as happens in some of the more hygroscopic states).

    I suspect that’s also why Bud, Miller and other “making love in a canoe” beers sell better than tasty ales – sometimes you just want hydration and a wee buzz.

  44. @ Chris – that’s a long-standing myth to try to explain what the hell happened with New Coke. In reality, Coke was losing market share and was under the impression that the American soda-buying public wanted a less sharp taste. They totally did. (This was the days of the great Pepsi Challenge, and Coke knew that Diet Coke was cannibalising their sales.) But they didn’t want people to mess with their Coke, either.

    As always, Snopes has the scoop:

  45. @allium – Good point, that hadn’t occurred to me. Though I do find a really hot cup of tea *very* refreshing (and, paradoxically, much more cooling) on a hot day. Cold drinks give momentary relief but I find that the effect tends to wear off correspondingly quickly as well. Perhaps that’s why tea is so ubiquitous in Arabia. Though I take your point about humidity, it’s absolutely evil. Desert countries, though they have high temperatures, tend also to have low humidity and it does make a difference. I got married in Perth (Western Australia – another desert area) and on my wedding day it was 42 degrees centigrade (that’s 108 in the weird fahreheit scale) but there was almost no humidity at all. Tea was just wonderful!

    I’ve spent a lot of time on the Pacific islands and they tend to be very, very humid indeed and that really is most uncomfortable. Cool drinks do help a lot there. And under those circumstances I would, by choice, drink water or fruit juice (or beer! By far the best choice!). Dehydration is a very real danger (travel advisories warn you to take it seriously) and water is almost compulsory! Soft drinks or sodas would always be way down on my list — I’d never, ever drink them from choice, only from necessity if nothing else was available.

    Aren’t cultural differences interesting and amusing?

    And I find it hilarious that our coke machine managed to sell only 6 cans in 8 months. I work in an educational establishment and we have many, many hundreds of student pass through our doors. But we still only sold 6 cans in 8 months…


  46. Polar Diet Orange Dry, and their diet Ginger Ale is good too. Was never a big Coca-Cola fan. About once a year I’ll drink one, ice cold on a too-hot day.

  47. Before Coke Zero came along, I decided I preferred Coke to Pepsi, but Diet Pepsi to Diet Coke. When dealing with restaurants and vending machines, of course, you rarely are faced with that choice because places negotiate exclusive contracts.

    In my childhood, I actually preferred Tab, Coca-Cola’s first diet soda, in all its saccharin-aftertaste glory. The brand was hurt by reports of saccharin’s carcinogenicity in the Seventies, but that seems not to have been replicated by later studies; it doesn’t even need a warning label any more. Coca-Cola still sells something called Tab, which apparently has a saccharin-aspartame mixture for sweetness, but it’s hard to find were one motivated to do so. They don’t even offer it in the Freestyle fountain machines.

    None of this stuff is good for you and the politics of all these corporations tend toward the baleful, so I feel a little guilty about liking this stuff. But I’ve acquired the taste, no doubt about it. My daughter doesn’t drink soda at all, preferring to stick to either water or chocolate milk. I guess she thinks if you’re going sweet you ought to go the whole hog…

  48. For me the taste of Diet Coke was always terrible even painful (sweet and too strongly carbonated), I occasionally like to have a Coke as a non-coffee caffein delivery system and also found Coke Zero quite tasty.
    There is only one problem… I get intestinal troubles when drinking more than one glass (0.25l) of aspertame sweetened beverages.

  49. @Constance #8: I have been led to believe that carbonation of alcoholic beverages gets the alcohol into the bloodstream faster. I don’t know to what extent it is a side effect rather than a goal of the brewing process, as fizziness varies greatly between different styles of beer. Champagne is fizzy due to secondary fermentation in the bottle, which is entirely deliberate.

    The study of carbonation is of course better known as “fizzics” ;-)

  50. …Another fact I just learned: Diet sodas sweetened with aspartame tend to have saccharin mixed in in their soda-fountain versions, for greater syrup longevity. So fountain Coke Zero/Diet Coke is more like Tab than the canned/bottled versions, I guess.

  51. This thread comes at a good time for me, because sadly I’ve reached the age where I need to stop drinking sugared sodas unless I want to buy a whole new wardrobe. I just brought home a case of Diet Dr. Pepper, without much enthusiasm because last time I tried the stuff, I couldn’t stand it. But the Dr. Pepper 10 thing sounds like it might be good (the ad is so full of self-parody I’m not offended by it). I might even try Coke Zero as a last resort.

  52. @John P. Murphy — I live to serve. (And thanks for the evidence I can bring the next time I’m re-upping my endorsement contract.)

  53. I’m a terrible person, to be sure. I know most of this discussion is about taste, CZ definitely tastes better. But if you are going for weight gain, check science:

    “Diet soft drink users, as a group, experienced 70 percent greater increases in waist circumference compared with non-users. Frequent users, who said they consumed two or more diet sodas a day, experienced waist circumference increases that were 500 percent greater than those of non-users.”

  54. @Tim

    I suspect a lot of what they’re seeing is correlation, rather than causation: you notice you’ve gained weight, so you switch to diet, so the people seeing the greater waist circumference are drinking diet soda because of it.

  55. I have never tried CZ because I assumed it meant “caffeine free” and I like caffeine (I drink a lot of coffee, every day). But I do like diet coke and its my “soda of choice”, partly because it doesn’t . taste like regular coke which I find too sweet for me now (another middle aged man here). I’m now motivated to go find a CZ as see what it tastes like – so thanks!

  56. There’s some speculation that just tasting something sweet can cause the body to tell itself to store up fat instead of burning the energy it gets. In which case diet sodas, regardless of the sweetener used, would be no good at all for losing weight. I get the impression it’s far from settled.

  57. The only cold drink worth drinking is beer. Liquid bread. Let’s get real here. All the rest is propoganda. (Unquote — yes, I know I nicked that sentence without attribution, but I’m sure. Alan Sillitoe doesn’t care).

    Hot drinks are something else again. Coffee, tea, tisanes and infusions (I think tisane may be another word for infusion, but I’m not certain) give an almost infinite variety and range of choices. Despite what I said above, I’d almost rather drink lapsang souchong tea than beer. That smokey flavour is irresistible…


  58. Liking Coke is not a thing I get. Of all the colas I have had in my thirty years on this planet, Coke is the one I like least.

    But I don’t really like Colas.

    What I really don’t get is how a person who prefers Coke could be into Coke Zero. Coke Zero tastes absolutely nothing at all like Coca-Cola Classic: Because of the artificial sweetener it’s far, far sweeter resulting in a taste far more like Pepsi. Something I can actually tolerate if the Divine Ambrosia (Mountain Dew, of course) is unavailable.

  59. The metabolism myth: When someone says their metobolism slowed down, they are claiming that somehow their body burns less calories and more of the food calories become stored in fat. What this means is that somehow, your body becomes more efficient at using calories and actually needs less calories to do the exact same thing? Ever stop to think this isn’t actually the case and maybe you just stopped being as active and started eating more calories?

  60. So, which is it — pop, or soda…? It could be that the town you live in sits smack dab on top of the pop/soda county line, as you use the terms interchangeably. My son (Chicago) dislikes it when I (New Hampshire) order soda. :)

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