Having been recently reminded of Cecil’s discussion of Tab vs. Diet Coke (“For practical purposes the difference between Tab and Diet Coke is that they come in different-colored cans.”) I’m now pondering Pepsi One and Diet Pepsi.
Personally, when I have a sample of each in front of me, I can taste that they are marginally different but:
a) I can’t express the difference well in words
b) I can’t ever remember which ‘taste’ belongs to which name
c) I have no choice between them – either are equally fine, in the sense of ‘close enough to tasting like a cola to be potable when I’m being good about my diet.’
So…is this another case of different colored cans, or is there genuinely a difference between them that a resonable person might use as a basis for selection? Different artificial sweetener, maybe?
For sweetener, Pepsi One uses Ace-K (Acesulfame Potassium) and a splash of Nutrasweet (I think because the Ace-K is bitter all by itself). Diet Pepsi uses just Nutrasweet.
The consensus is that Ace-K is a better sweetener which was just recently approved for beverage uses. But a lot of people really are committed to Diet Pepsi, and Pepsico isn’t going to mess with a good thing and change the recipe on them. So they created a new soda for the new sweetener.
For some surreal reason Pepsi One tastes like Tab to me. I like it, but I never think to buy it as I grab Diet Pepsi out of habit. Also, why have one calorie when you can have NONE? (I suspect there isn’t that much difference and they round up for One and down for Diet.)
Here in the UK we have Pepsi Max and Diet Pepsi (which is, as stated, called Pepsi Light elsewhere in Europe). I prefer Pepsi Max (advertised as “Maximum cola taste with no sugar” or something like that) but don’t know if it’s the same as Papsi One, as I’ve never seen that. Pepsi Max does seem to have more flavour than the Diet Pepsi, though.
One way to get used to diet sodas is to buy reg and diet and mix them a bit. I hate the after taste of diet sodas, so I did this for awhile until I could remove all the regular and not care/notice so much about the aftertaste…
The difference is the sweetener. Pepsi one is sweetened with splenda. The others are sweetened with aspertane. I cannot drink soda with aspertane. I am very upset with Pepsi for discontinuing Pepsi one.
I’ve seen this experimental design as double-blind and tasters need to say if the drinks are the same or different. Either option is equally likely - a fact that the taster is aware of to avoid the bias of “Of course they’re different.”
In my opinion, artificial sweeteners and sugars are equally bad for you, for different reasons, and you gain nothing by giving yourself a dose of both of them, instead of just one. Personally, I drink the kind that is sweetened with cane sugar – luckily I live in an area where the local supermarket has a store brand sweetened with cane sugar, for about 25c a can. I drink about two a week.
All Coke and Pepsi in Mexico is made with cane sugar (which has a superior flavor and by most accounts, is healthier than HFCS) and the demand is high for cane sugar colas in areas with high Hispanic populations. Imported Mexican soft drinks are widely sold here, too.
The advantage that ABX gives (and given its history this was important) is that the person doing the test has absolutely everything they could possibly need available to do the test. They can’t complain that the difference in taste is very subtle, and without a reminder of the tastes, they can’t pick the precise nuance needed to pick X. ABX was invented to test to see if people who claimed to be able to tell differences where none should exist actually could. There is simply no wiggle room (and believe me, the inventiveness of those trying to find wiggle room was impressive.)
That may not actually be true, though I’d love to get more information. Wikipedia says that Mexico is also made with HFCS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Coke), but maybe not the stuff they export. I don’t know why that would be, because I thought the specific U.S. policies of sugar price supports and corn subsidies were the problem here.
I get Mexican Coke too, and I think I can taste a difference. I know after living in Southeast Asia for awhile, I found the taste of sodas really nasty when I came back here … almost as bad as diet drinks. Maybe I’ve acclimated back to corn sweetener by now though.