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Review: Diet Coke Plus

This one might seem a little out of left field for my regular readers. After all, I’ve done movie reviews and book reviews, blog reviews and website reviews. But I haven’t done any soda reviews… until now.

First, a quick disclaimer: I am an unabashed Diet Coke fan & addict. Truly, it’s a sickness. I think I’ve been drinking Diet Coke for at least 20 years, and I truly prefer it to Coke, Pepsi, or pretty much any other soft drink. I appreciate its subtleties – the taste of can vs. bottle vs. fountain. Ice cold vs. cool vs. room temperature vs. warm (yes, there is a time & a place for warm Diet Coke. Almost supernaturally, Diet Coke can hold its fizz for hours and temperatures that render most other soft drinks into warm syrup.)

So, Coca Cola has gone a product extension tear lately, and when I go to DietCoke.com, I find no less than seven varieties of Diet Coke on the market:

  • Diet Coke
  • Caffeine-Free Diet Coke
  • Diet Coke with Splenda
  • Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke
  • Diet Coke with Lime
  • Diet Cherry Coke
  • Diet Coke Plus

(Note that Coke Zero is not included, since that’s not under the Diet Coke sub-brand)

Now, let’s talk Diet Coke Plus.

My wife picked up a 12-pack of the new Diet Coke Plus this week, so I’ve tried it out. If you are not familiar with the new drink, the idea is to take the Diet Coke and make it healthier by adding vitamins & minerals. As noted in Carbwire:

According to the nutritional label, Diet Coke Plus includes 25% of the recommended daily allowance of niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 as well as 15% of the RDA for magnesium and zinc in each 12-ounce serving. It is sweetened with an aspartame/ACE-K blend that has become the industry norm for just about every diet drink nowadays.

Low-carb blogs have been talking about this for a while… check out this one, for example.

Anyway, fundamentally, if you are going to drink Diet Coke anyway, it might as well have something nutritional added to it. But how does it taste?

Answer: On a scale from 1 being terrible (Diet Pepsi) and 10 being terrific (Diet Coke), I give it a 7. It’s OK, but it’s not Diet Coke.

The problem is their move to sweeten the drink with an Ace-K & Nutrasweet blend. Ace-K is the sweetener that debuted with Pepsi One, and for some reason, it seems like most soft drink companies have decided that this is a superior sweetner. Not in my book.

One of the great things about Diet Coke is that they specifically do not try to make it as sweet as normal soda, but with artificial sweetener. Instead, they just dial down the sweetness altogether.

Diet Coke Plus tastes like Pepsi One. Not terrible, but I’m not sure the relatively tepid health benefits of adding a B-vitamin complex, magnesium and zinc is worth it.

Anyway, it’s worth trying.

Since I’m on the subject, I’ll just take a moment to post a desperate plea to the Coca-Cola Company to re-instate Diet Vanilla Coke as a shipping product. This was the single best product extension ever, and I genuinely preferred it to Diet Coke. (Yes, this means on my scale, it went to 11.) It never got significant distribution, however, and they cancelled it after only a couple years on the market. Instead, we now have to live with Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke, which is OK (It’s an 8 on my scale), but just not the same.

Here’s to you, Diet Vanilla Coke:

Here is my complete grading scale, for all versions of Diet Coke, and a few related drinks:

  • Diet Coke (10)
  • Diet Pepsi (1)
  • Caffeine-Free Diet Coke (4)
  • Diet Coke with Splenda (7)
  • Diet Coke with Lime (6)
  • Diet Coke with Lemon, discontinued (3)
  • Diet Coke Plus (7)
  • Coke Zero (7)
  • Diet Cherry Coke (5)
  • Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke (8)
  • Diet Vanilla Coke, discontinued (11)
11 Comments Post a comment
  1. valya #

    so what is the time & place for warm diet coke?!

    May 3, 2007
  2. Ah, Valerie, there are so many times. In truth, the best warm diet coke is a room temperature one, left out maybe for a couple of hours in an open can. Surprisingly fizzy & flavorful.

    May 4, 2007
  3. Becca #

    I disagree I believe diet cherry coke to be an 8 and diel vanilla cherry coke to be more like a 4. I appreciate your evaluation but on this one you are way off. There is too much going on with the diet cherry vanilla coke. Keep it simple. They have a good thing going with regular diet coke. The should just stick with that and call it a day!

    May 4, 2007
  4. Rebecca,

    I can’t believe you read my blog! No way Diet Cherry Coke is an 8. Yuck. Too tangy.

    Adam

    May 4, 2007
  5. Steve #

    Ive been drinking Coke Plus for a couple of weeks and like it. The taste is different than diet coke yet I think the Plus has the edge.

    May 13, 2007
  6. Linda #

    I don’t usually reply o “surveys” or blogs…But since I found another one of the apparently few who had a passion for Diet Vanilla Coke, I decided to respond: I would agree that Diet Vanilla Coke is an 11. When they stopped making it I decided to show my buyer’s clout and STOP buying Coke. It doesn’t seem to be working (ha ha). I didn’t like the Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke (not liking Black Cherry and the fact that it was issued to replace Diet Vanilla Coke – did not help!). So I tried Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Pepsi – I thot it was better that Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke. THEN THEY CAME OUT WITH DIET CARAMEL CREAM PEPSI – Rank = 13. I’m not sure I would go back to Diet Vanilla Coke.

    It is even less often that I respond to a site when it erases EVERYTHING I wrote just because I had entered my e-mail wrong – PLEASE allow us to go back and make the needed corrections WITHOUT having to rewrite EVERYTHING!!!!! This time I have it in Word and will copy & paste….

    June 10, 2007
  7. SinisterMorality #

    Hey Adam,

    there is aparantly reason not to consume diet sodas at higher temparatures:

    The structure of aspartame seems simple, but what a complicated structure aspartame really is: Two isolated amino acids in aspartame are fused together by its third component, deadly methanol. In this structure, methanol bonds the two amino acids together, but when released at a mere 86 degrees Fahrenheit, the methanol becomes a poisonous free radical. Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde, embalming fluid. Methanol is a dangerous neurotoxin, a known carcinogen, causes retinal damage in the eye, interferes with DNA replication, and causes birth defects.

    August 1, 2007
  8. SinisterMorality,

    Nutrasweet (aspartame) has been an FDA approved sweetener for 25 years. The issues you report were known back in the 1980s. After dozens of studies, there has not be one single study that indicated any sort of correlation (let alone causal relationship) between consuming Nutrasweet in hot or cold beverages and the issues you are reporting.

    That being said, I use Splenda in my tea. :)

    – Adam

    August 2, 2007
  9. San #

    You didn’t list Coca Cola Blak… the only one that if you can’t find it you can “do it yourself” ;)

    http://www.uglydoggy.com/search/label/coca%20cola

    Personally I don’t like Vanilla Coke at all, but I guess that is the beauty of the world, is just a matter of personal taste!

    -San :)

    September 22, 2007
  10. Jonathan #

    I was surfing around for Diet Coke Plus info because a manager at my local Virginia grocery store told me it was discontinued. I doubt this seriously and have been in a mild state of…panic since hearing this news. As an avid Coca Cola drinker I must confess I wretch at the thought of Diet Coke. When my doctor said I needed to try diet drinks I balked and threatened to sue, but then I found Diet Coke Plus. Many other DP-fanatic friends don’t like DCP either, but for us Coke fans, it’s a blessing!

    July 4, 2008
  11. gail #

    Best vanilla diet Coke ever~~~~Buy some REAL vanilla and pour a bit in your diet Coke. Stir. YUMMMMMY!

    November 8, 2008

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