Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Diet Coke: Fountain vs. Can

My friend W and I are both Diet Coke addicts, and we have both made the observation that we prefer the fountain variety (from places like McD's) over the can. I've always been curious why that is.

Then, I opened a can of Diet Coke from my garage and it tasted NASTY. There was no flavor to it at all. It tasted like soda water. So I went on the Diet Coke website to look for a way to report it to the company. In the Frequently Asked Questions on the website, I found this:
Why is the U.S. fountain version of Diet Coke sweetened with aspartame and saccharin?

Because aspartame by itself is heat and pH-sensitive (meaning it loses sweetness over time), the concentrated found syrup causes aspartame to lose it sweetness faster than it would in a finished beverage. Fountain diet drinks, therefore, are sweetened with a blend of aspartame and saccharin to assure maximum product quality.
This explains both why the Diet Coke I had from the garage was nasty and why W and I prefer the fountain variety of Diet Coke. First, the Diet Coke in the garage came from a large case that's been sitting in the HEAT in the garage for quite some time, so I think the aspartame lost its sweetness. Second, the fountain variety has SACCHARIN in it!!!

Who knew?

Flashback - It was always weird for me pulling in to foreign ports and buying their local version of "Coke Light" and getting used to the sweetness of the saccharin they still use in the canned sodas overseas. Then, coming home from deployment, I would have to let my tastebuds get used to the American version with aspartame again.

Come to think of it, I coulda sworn saccharin had been outlawed in the U.S. When I looked it up on wikipedia though, it says it is not, in fact, banned in the U.S. (but it is in Canada). There was a proposed ban in 1977, and that's probably why a lot of soda companies switched to other artificial sweeteners like aspartame, but studies since then have shown it is NOT a carcinogen. "In 1991, after fourteen years, the FDA formally withdrew its 1977 proposal to ban the use of saccharin, and in 2000, the U.S. Congress repealed the law requiring saccharin products to carry health warning labels" (from the Wikipedia article).


righnote said...

When aspartame is exposed to heat, as in the body, it breaks down into formaldehyde for one thing--not as harmless as losing its sweetness.

Keyword in Jennifer Cohen to see her experiment on coke at room temp, in the fridge and in an incubator.

And check out this very graphic private study.


Thanks for letting me post.

the wifey said...

i always say it's better to have the real thing anyhow; the sugar just tastes so much better than all those artificial sweeteners. i do, however, think that regular coke tastes better out of the fountain, too, so i wonder if they add anything to that as well?
oh, and LH and i have a disagreement about coke vs. pepsi. he's a die-hard pepsi guy, but since i do the shopping, he always ends up drinking coke. i think pepsi is way too sweet. do you drink diet pepsi or do you stick to the diet coke only?

amy said...

amen, brotha! finally someone who really understands the intricacies of fountain v can drinks! the best is in a styrofoam cup with crushed ice. it keeps the diet coke "crisp", if you know what i mean. and to echo wifey, i only do diet coke, no pepsi. i'd rather drink water, thank you very much!

blunoz said...

Wifey - Interestingly enough, I can tolerate Diet Pepsi from a fountain in restaurants (although I much prefer Diet Coke), but absolutely CANNOT STAND Diet Pepsi in a can. I'd rather drink bile.

Amy - I can relate to the styrofoam cup and the crushed ice, too. I hadn't really thought about it before, but when I read what you wrote, I was like, "Yyyyeaaaah."

Kel said...

Wow, that is very interesting. I have always enjoyed the fountain variety more as well and my DH makes fun of me saying that it's all in my head...I can't wait to share my new found knowledge!! He he!!

As for my turkey burgers, I don't have a link b/c it's out of a magazine, but I can email you the recipe if you would like...

Have a good one!