Diet Coke

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Diet Coke
The current Diet Coke logo was adopted in 2018.
Type Diet Cola
Manufacturer The Coca-Cola Company
Country of origin United States
Introduced 1982, 36 years ago
Color Caramel
Related products Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola C2
Coca-Cola Zero Sugar
Pepsi Zero Sugar

Diet Coke (called Coca-Cola Light in some countries) is a sugar-free soft drink produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. It contains artificial sweeteners. Unveiled on July 8, 1982[1] and introduced in the United States on August 9,[2] it was the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark. The product quickly overtook the company's existing diet cola, Tab, in sales.


When Tab was released in 1963, the Coca-Cola Company refused to release a diet soda with the Coca-Cola name, fearing that its flagship brand might suffer. Its rival Pepsi had no such qualms, and after the long-term success of its sugar-free Diet Pepsi (launched in 1964) became clear, Coca-Cola decided to launch a competing sugar-free brand under the Coca-Cola name, which could be marketed more easily than Tab.

Diet Coke does not use a modified form of the Coca-Cola recipe, but instead an entirely different formula. The controversial New Coke, introduced in 1985, used a version of the Diet Coke recipe that contained high fructose corn syrup and had a slightly different balance of ingredients. In 2004, Coca-Cola introduced Coca-Cola C2, which it claims tastes much closer to Coca-Cola but contains half the carbohydrates. In 2005, the company introduced Coca-Cola Zero (replaced by Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in 2017), a sugar-free variation of regular Coca-Cola.

Diet Coke was sweetened with aspartame, an artificial sweetener, after the sweetener became available in the United States in 1983.[3] Early on, to save money, this was also originally in a blend with saccharin. After Diet Rite cola advertised its 100 percent use of aspartame, and the manufacturer of NutraSweet (then G. D. Searle & Company) warned that the NutraSweet trademark would not be made available to a blend of sweeteners, Coca-Cola switched the formula to 100 percent NutraSweet. Diet Coke from fountain dispensers still contains some saccharin to extend shelf life.[4]

In 2005, under pressure from retailer Walmart (which was impressed with the popularity of Splenda sweetener), the company released a new formulation called "Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda".[5] Sucralose and acesulfame potassium replace aspartame in this version. Early sales were weaker than anticipated; however, Coca-Cola did little advertising for the brand, investing money and advertising in Coca-Cola Zero instead. By late 2009, some distributors had stopped supplying Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda.

In 2018, in an effort to be more appealing to millennials, Diet Coke began offering itself in a skinnier can (but still in 12 fluid ounces), and introduced four new flavors.[6]


Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi have capitalized on the markets of people who require low sugar regimens, such as diabetics and people concerned with calorie intake. In the UK, a 330 ml can of Diet Coke contains around 1.3 kilocalories (5 kilojoules) compared to 142 kilocalories (595 kJ) for a regular can of Coca-Cola.

In other countries in which cyclamates are not banned (as they were in the US in 1970[7][8]), Diet Coke or Coca-Cola light may be sweetened with a blend containing cyclamates, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium.

Brand portfolio[edit]

Name Launched Discontinued Notes
Diet Coke 1982 The first version of Coca-Cola without sugar
Caffeine-Free Diet Coke 1983 Diet Coke without the Caffeine. It was the first extension of the Diet Coke formula
Diet Cherry Coke/Diet Coke Cherry 1986 Diet Coke with a Cherry flavor. Available in US and United Kingdom (as of 2007).
Discontinued in Australia and Israel. In mid-January 2018, Diet Coke Cherry would be rebranded for retail in the United States, and would gain a new name, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry. However, it can still be purchased online through,[9] as well as Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.
Diet Coke with Lemon 2001 2005 in US Diet Coke with a Lemon flavor. Available in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan,[10] The Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Israel, and the United States. The version sold in Continental Europe uses the Coca-Cola light brand. Was available for a time in Australia. Only available in the United States from Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.
Diet Vanilla Coke/Diet Coke Vanilla 2002 2005 in US Diet Coke with a Vanilla flavor. Available in Hong Kong, New Zealand (only 300mL and 600mL), Australia, Belgium, Canada. Only available in the United States from Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.
Diet Coke with Lime/Diet Coke Lime 2004 Diet Coke with a Lime flavor. Available in the US, the UK, Ireland, Finland, Canada. Was available for a time in Australia. In mid-January 2018, Diet Coke Lime was reintroduced to retail stores under the new name of Diet Coke Ginger Lime. However, it can still be purchased under its old name online via Amazon, Amazon Fresh and Peapod,[11] as well as Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.
Diet Coke Raspberry June 1, 2005 End of 2005 Diet Coke with a Raspberry flavor. Only Available in New Zealand. Only available in the United States from Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.
Diet Coke Sweetened with Splenda 2005 A version that is sweetened with Splenda. Diet Coke with Splenda contains 2.83 mgs of caffeine per fluid ounce. The drink contains acesulfame potassium and sucralose; aspartame was used previously as sweetener.
Diet Coke Black Cherry Vanilla 2006 2007 Diet Coke with a combination of Black Cherry and Vanilla flavors. Only available in US
Coca-Cola Light Sango 2005 Coca-Cola Light with a Blood Orange flavor. Only available in Belgium, France and Luxembourg. Was introduced to the United States and Canada in 2018 as Diet Coke Zesty Blood Orange.
Diet Coke with Citrus Zest 2007 Diet Coke with a lemon and lime flavor. Only available in the United Kingdom
Diet Coke Plus 2007 2011 Diet Coke with a combination of vitamins and minerals. Available in many European countries, US and Brazil
Diet Coke Feisty Cherry 2018 Diet Coke with a Cherry flavor. Available in the UK, US and Canada, replacing the former Diet Coke with Cherry flavor in retail stores.
Diet Coke Ginger Lime 2018 Diet Coke with a combination of Ginger and Lime flavors. Available in the UK, US and Canada, replacing the former Diet Coke with Lime flavor in retail stores.
Diet Coke Twisted Mango 2018 Diet Coke with a Mango flavor. Available in the UK, US and Canada.
Diet Coke Ginger Lemon 2018 Diet Coke with a combination of Ginger and Lemon flavors. Exclusively sold in the United States from Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.

Product timeline[edit]

  • 1982 – Diet Coke is introduced, becoming the largest-selling low-calorie soft drink in America.
  • 1983 – Diet Coke is introduced in the UK.
  • 1986 – Diet Cherry Coke is introduced in American markets.
  • 1994 – Diet Coke changes logo.
  • 1999 – Diet Cherry Coke changes logo.
  • 2001 – Diet Coke with Lemon is introduced.
  • 2002 – Diet Vanilla Coke is introduced.
    • Diet Coke and Diet Cherry Coke change logo.
  • 2004 – Diet Coke with Lime is introduced.
    • Diet Coke with Lemon changes logo.
  • 2005 – Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda is introduced.
    • Diet Cherry Coke and Diet Vanilla Coke change logos and are renamed.
  • 2006 – Diet Coke Black Cherry Vanilla is introduced.
    • Diet Coke with Lemon and Diet Coke Vanilla are discontinued.
  • 2007 – Diet Coke Plus is introduced.[12][13]
    • Diet Coke Black Cherry Vanilla is discontinued.
    • Diet Coke and its six flavors changes logo.
  • 2011 – Diet Coke surpasses Pepsi in sales for the first time to become the second most popular soda in the United States after Coca-Cola.[14]
  • 2013 – In the UK, Coca-Cola swapped the logo on Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero bottles and cans in the UK with 150 of Britain's most popular names for a summer-long "Share a Coke" campaign.[15][16]
  • 2014 – In the US Coca-Cola swapped the logo on Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero bottles and cans in the US with 150 of America's most popular names for a summer-long "Share a Coke" campaign
  • 2014 – Diet Coke invites consumers to 'Get A Taste' of the good life. This campaign asks the question "what if life tasted this good?". Television commercials debuted September 24. The first commercial take place on an airplane when a woman is surrounded by crying babies but takes a sip of Diet Coke and opens her eyes into a speak-easy party.
  • 2018 – On January 22, Diet Coke introduced Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango flavors in a skinny can, targeting millennials.[17]

Advertising slogans[edit]

[citation needed]

  • "Just for the taste of it!" (US 1982, 1986, 1995, 2000, 2009, 2014)
  • "The one of a kind" (US 1984)
  • "Taste it all!" (US 1993)
  • "This Is Refreshment" (US 1994)
  • "You are what you drink" (US 1998)
  • "Live Your Life" (US 2001)
  • "Do what feels good" (US 2002)
  • "It's a Diet Coke thing" (US 2004)
  • "Life is how you take it" (US 2005)
  • "Light it up!" (US 2006)
  • "Yours" (US 2007)
  • "Enjoyment" (US 2007)
  • "What life should be like." (US 2008)
  • "Hello You..." (UK 2009)
  • "I light it" (Spain 2010)
  • "Stay Extraordinary" (US 2010–2014)
  • "Love it heavy" (UK 2010)
  • "You're On" (US 2014)
  • "Get a Taste." (US 2014–2018)
  • "Because I can." (US 2018-present)

Debate over health issues[edit]

The most commonly distributed version of Diet Coke (and the majority of beverages that contain artificial sweeteners) relies on aspartame, which has been suggested to pose health concerns.[18][19] Aspartame is one of the most intensively scrutinized food additives.

Coca-Cola has now released Diet Coke sweetened with sucralose (also known as Splenda), although it is not as common.

The sodium benzoate was found to break down mitochondrial DNA in living yeast cells.[20] Research published in 2007 for the British government's Food Standards Agency suggests that sodium benzoate (E211) is linked to hyperactive behavior and decreased intelligence in children.[21] In January 2008 sodium benzoate was removed from production lines for Diet Coke sold in the UK, however it remains in other Coke products and other production locations.[22]

Coca-Cola Light[edit]

According to the Coca-Cola Company, "[t]he sweetener blend used for Diet Coke/Coca-Cola Light is formulated for each country based on consumer preference."[23] Some countries began using the term "Coca-Cola Light" as early as the 1990s, with others adopting the name later on, while others continue the use of "Diet Coke".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Diet Coke introduced". Wilmington Morning Star. North Carolina. Associated Press. July 9, 1982. p. 6B. 
  2. ^ "See First Use in Commerce, Trademark Application, US Patent & Trademark Office."
  3. ^ "Coke Beginning Aspartame Use". New York Times. August 18, 1983. p. D4. 
  4. ^ Ordoñez, Franco (March 3, 2005). "Suit Alleges Deceit in Fountain Diet Cola Drinks". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 26, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Diet Coke Sweetened with Splenda Archived January 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.." The Coca-Cola Company. 2009. Web. February 9, 2010.
  6. ^ Klara, Robert (January 10, 2018). "Can Diet Coke's New Skinny, Rainbow-Colored Cans Attract the Millennials It Covets?". AdWeek. Retrieved February 17, 2018. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Newton, David E (2009-01-01). Food Chemistry. pp. 73–77. ISBN 9781438109756. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "The Diet Coke Story." Diet Coke. *2010 – The Coca-Cola Company, Web. January 29, 2010.
  13. ^ "Cola Marketing History." Solar Navigator. 2008. Max Energy Limited, Web. January 29, 2010.
  14. ^ "Top-10 CSD Companies and Brands for 2010" (PDF). John Sicher, Editor & Publisher, Beverage Digest Company L.L.C. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 10, 2011. Retrieved July 8, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Coca‑Cola Bottles History". London, UK: Coca-Cola GB. 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Share a Coke: Is your name on the list?". The Belfast Telegraph. Belfast, UK: Independent News & Media. May 27, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  17. ^ Meyer, Zlati (January 10, 2018). "Big changes coming to Diet Coke with 4 new flavors". USA Today. Retrieved January 11, 2018. 
  18. ^ Nettleton, Jennifer A.; Lutsey, Pamela L.; Wang, Youfa; Lima, João A.; Michos, Erin D.; Jacobs, David R. (2009-04-01). "Diet Soda Intake and Risk of Incident Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)". Diabetes Care. 32 (4): 688–694. doi:10.2337/dc08-1799. ISSN 0149-5992. PMC 2660468Freely accessible. PMID 19151203. 
  19. ^ Maher, T J; Wurtman, R J (1987-11-01). "Possible neurologic effects of aspartame, a widely used food additive". Environmental Health Perspectives. 75: 53–57. doi:10.1289/ehp.877553. ISSN 0091-6765. PMC 1474447Freely accessible. PMID 3319565. 
  20. ^ Hickman, Martin. "Caution: Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health." November 15, 2011. web.
  21. ^ Posch, Linda. "Food Additives, Hyperactivity & Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Archived January 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.." Leif Grunseth. October 17, 2007. Web. February 9, 2010.
  22. ^ Crowley, Laura (2008-05-27). "Sodium benzoate removed from Diet Coke". Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  23. ^ "FAQs". The Coca-Cola Company. 

External links[edit]