Ok so maybe diet soda hasn't died yet...it's certainly on its way. Rumor has it their slow death has been aided by the fact that our fearless leader, Freddy, has recently kicked his 10 cans a day habit. :-)
The rather strange hold that diet soda has had for decades seems to finally be lifting. Sales of diet drinks fell by a whopping 6.8% this year. The Wall Street Journal reportedly that, "In a March survey by Mintel, 46% of those surveyed agreed that artificially sweetened soda is 'unhealthy,' including more than 50% of consumers under the age of 35. In a recent survey by Datamonitor, 28% of US respondents said they avoid low-calorie sweeteners entirely and another 23% said they try to limit intake."
This drastic change in attitudes about diet soda may in fact be fuelled by the media blitz about health fears concerning aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium. Although the American Beverage Association swears that the artificial sweeteners are totally safe, their position is slightly undermined by the fact that the American Diabetes Association and the FDA reflect a completely different understanding. The aforementioned sweeteners are linked to weight gain and have been shown to lead to obesity and diabetes. They are also believed to trigger insulin, which puts the body into fat storing mode.
The behemoth beverage companies aren't giving up without a fight. Pepsi has removed aspartame from its Pepsi Next and is planning on releasing a new beverage next year. Meanwhile Diet Coke hired Taylor Swift as their celebrity spokesperson and are currently using print ads to defend the honour of aspartame. Losing sales on diet drinks drastically impacts the bottom lines of these companies. Don't be fooled by the zero calorie labels, it's much better to drink a 200 calorie smoothie full of fruits, veggies, and Greek yogurt instead of a zero calorie, chemical ridden soft drink.