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Diet Coke (also known as Diet Coca-Cola) is a sugar-free soft drink produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. It was introduced in the United States on Independence Day in 1982 as the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark. The product quickly overtook Tab in sales.

Diet Coke was sweetened with aspartame after the sweetener became available in the United States in 1983; to save money, this was 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. After many years the NutraSweet trademark expired and was never renewed by Coca-Cola, but the formula is still made with 100 percent aspartame. Diet Coke from fountain dispensers still contains some saccharin to extend shelf life.
Coca-Cola light logo

In other countries, in which cyclamates are not banned (as they were in the U.S. and the United Kingdom in 1970), Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Light may be sweetened with a blend containing cyclamates, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium.

In 2005, under pressure from retailer Wal-Martmarker (which was impressed with the popularity of Splenda sweetener), the company released a new formulation called "Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda". 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.

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, a sugar-free variation of regular Coca-Cola.

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 extensively than the more anonymous Tab.

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 calories (5 kilojoules) compared to 142 calories (595 kJ) for a regular can of Coca-Cola.
A 2009 Diet Coke bottle and can from the US.
A Diet Coke can from 1994 compared to one from 2009.
Diet Coke's Holiday 2008 Edition bottle and can compared to regular ones.
Coca-Cola light bottle from Germany.

Brand portfolio

Name Launched Discontinued Notes Picture
Diet Coke/Diet Coca-Cola 1982 The first version of Coca-Cola without sugar.
Caffeine-Free Diet Coke 1983 The first version of caffeine free version of Diet Coke and the first extension of the Diet Coke formula.
Diet Cherry Coke/Diet Coke Cherry 1986 Available in U.S. and United Kingdom ( ).

Discontinued in Australia and Israel.
Diet Coke with Lemon 2001 Still available in Austria, Belgium, Brazilmarker, Canada, Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker, Germany, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and Israel. The version sold in Continental Europe uses the Coca-Cola Light brand.
Diet Vanilla Coke/Diet Coke Vanilla 2002 Still available in Hong Kong, New Zealand (only 300mL and 600mL), Australia, and Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker.
Diet Coke with Lime 2004 Available in the U.S., Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Canada and Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker.
Diet Raspberry Coke June 1, 2005 2006 Available in New Zealand, and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Diet Coke Sweetened with Splenda 2005 Available in the U.S. and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Diet Coke Black Cherry Vanilla 2006 2007 Available in Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker.
Coca-Cola Light Sango 2005 Only available in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Diet Coke with Citrus Zest 2007 Available in Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker and in the United Kingdom.
Diet Coke Plus/Coca Cola Light plus 2007 Available in many European countries and in the U.S.

  • In the United States and most English-speaking countries, the soft drink is called Diet Coke or Diet Coca-Cola.
  • In most of continental Europe, the drink is marketed as Coca-Cola Light, but often referred to as Cola or Cola Light, and Coca or Coca Light in France.
  • In French-speaking Canada, it is called Coca-Cola Diète or Coke-Diète.
  • In Italy, the name Diet Coke was used between 1983 and 1991.
  • In Mexico, Central, South America and most of the Caribbeanmarker it is called Coca-Cola Light. In Mexico, it was introduced as Diet Coke in 1984, but it was renamed Coca-Cola Light in 1991.
  • In Brazilmarker, it is called Coca-Cola Light - Baixas Calorias. Introduced in 1985 as Coca-Cola Baixas Calorias, it was renamed Coca-Cola Light in 1988.
  • In many English-influenced non-English markets (e.g., Israelmarker), it is called Diet Coca-Cola.
  • In Japan, the soft drink was launched in 1984 as Coca-Cola Light, later in 1999, it was renamed Diet Coca-Cola, and since April 2007 it has been called No Calorie Coca-Cola.
  • In India it is called Diet Coke. After much campaigning against Coca-Cola in India, Coca-Cola still sells well in Chennai and other cities.
  • In most of Southeast Asia, it is called Coca-Cola Light or Coke Light.
  • In 2008 in Australia, Diet Coke cans were rebranded as Diet Coca-Cola.
  • , Diet Coke supports The Heart Truth campaign, a national awareness campaign with a goal of better heart health for women.

Advertising slogans in the U.S.

The current Diet Coke logo was adopted in 2007

  • "Just for the taste of it!" (1982)
  • "The one of a kind" (1984)
  • "Just for the taste of it!" (1986)
  • "Taste it all!" (1993)
  • "This Is Refreshment" (1994)
  • "Just for the taste of it!" (1995)
  • "You are what you drink" (1998)
  • "Get the taste of it" (2000)
  • "Live Your Life" (2001)
  • "Do what feels good" (2002)
  • "It's a Diet Coke thing" (2004)
  • "Life is how you take it" (2005)
  • "Light it up!" (2006)
  • "Yours" (2007)
  • "Enjoyment" (2007)
  • "What life should be like." (2008)
  • "Just for the taste of it!" (2009)
  • "Hello You..." (UK 2009)

Debate over health issues

The most commonly distributed version of Diet Coke (and majority of beverages using artificial sweeteners) relies on aspartame, which has been blamed by some scientists and medical professionals for possibly causing serious illnesses (such as cancer, brain tumors, brain lesions, and lymphoma) when consumed in large quantities.Coca-Cola has now released Diet Coke sweetened with sucralose (also known as Splenda), although it is not as common. See also soft drink controversy and health concerns.

The sodium benzoate was found to break down mitochondrial DNA in living yeast cells. 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.


New Zealand

The ingredients as printed on the outside of 330 ml cans of Diet Coke in New Zealand, listed in order of greatest to least amount:

United States

The ingredients in Diet Coke (as formulated in the United States), listed in order of greatest to least amount:


  3. Ordoñez, Franco. "Suit Alleges Deceit in Fountain Diet Cola Drinks". Boston Globe, March 3, 2005. Accessed August 26, 2008.
  5. Study Links Aspartame To Cancer, Lymphoma, Leukemia In Rats Fed Sweetener; Some Dispute Results - CBS News
  7. Caution: Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health from The Independent

External links

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