Great Mysteries of the Universe: Diet Mountain Dew and Concentrated Orange Juice

I was enjoying a Diet Mountain Dew today and happened to notice the ingredients list, and the first two ingredients in the list (and I assume, by volume?), are carbonated water and orange juice concentrate. How is it physically and chemically possible that the highest sugared fruit juice concentrate, that I can think of, is the second ingredient in an advertised, zero calorie beverage?

How is that even possible?

Same way they were once able to advertise an olive as a low fat food. There’s less than 1 gram of fat in one single olive. :eek::dubious: (They can’t do that anymore, note)

There’s not a lot of OJ in those 8oz, likely just enough to not add a calorie. Or perhaps there might be a calorie or two, they are allowed some rounding.

Or even more mysteriously, how it has 0 g of sugar?

I’m going ta guess it must have 4.9 mg of sugar? Rounding down from 1 gram?

While I agree with the general sentiment, I believe 499 mg would make more sense. (1 g = 1000 mg)

Why of course. Gotta get all logical on me, and all. I’m simply rounding up.

I figure it would be what, 4.9 decagrams? Me, I’m a pounds and ounces guy, I’ll guess your weight but it will be in archaic weights and measures. The Metric system is slow to culturize.

No, guess it would be more than .049 kilograms. Maybe 49 kilograms to .049 of a metric tonne.
Slow to acculturate.

Or maybe it’s 499 Kg of OJ Concentrate to a metric tonne.

Note that those figures are per serving. And they define a serving as something less than a can, so the figures are small, especially when rounded.

Pepsi didn’t arbitrarily choose to report the information on less than a can; you can request info on larger sizes. The pulldown menus to the left side of that page let you check nutritional information on larger servings if you wish-- a 12 oz. can (which is also considered a full serving) contains 0 calories, too.

The 20 oz bottle, on the other hand, contains 10 calories, which lends credence to the theory that there’s just some rounding going on.

::checks one of the many Diet Mountain Dew cans lying around::

Yep, Serving size: 1 can.

Ironically, it may be the case that they are legally required to round to the nearest 5 calories, in order to disincentivize subtly toying around with the serving size or ingredient list to have “just” slightly lower calories than the competitor. But it leads to abfurd situations like a 3 calorie beverage having zero calories.

(OK, I admit, I’m halfway making that answer up, and I too have wondered how diet mt dew has zero calories while having some OJ in it. I guess we have the answer now: it does indeed have more than 1 calorie in it.)

or Maybe, it’s 14 Kilocalories of Grapefruit in a Fizzy Pepsi Drink?

No, you’re right. Calories are rounded to the nearest 5. So 2.4 calories is still 0.

I also note that the label (according to the OP’s link) says “concentrated orange juice” which is different from “orange juice concentrate.” Unsweetened orange juice doesn’t have anywhere near the calories or sugar of sweetened juices or concentrate.

The FDA regulation states that a food may be labled “calorie free” if it contains less than 5 calories per serving, with a few stipulations: This is similar to the regulation that allows a food to be labeled fat free if it contains less than 0.5g fat per serving, or “sugar free” if it has less than 0.5g sugar per serving: Even artificial sweeteners have SOME caloric content, it’s just that you use so little of it, it’s negligible.

Keep in mind that just because something is listed as the second ingredient in a product doesn’t mean there’s much of it – it just means there’s more of it than of the first ingredient, and more of it than everything else listed after. In this case, it’s essentially just a flavoring.


For the first time in years, I can sleep tonight.

I’m not sure whether to laugh or open fire. Some dead things ought to remain dead.

Rule #2: Double tap.