Why do sugary drinks still exist?

I have memberships at both Costco and Sam’s Club (for the uninitiated, these are wholesale outlets that have opened up to nonretail clients like myself). Among other things, they have a massive row, next to the wall, full of various and sundry canned beverages. And I see them. Every time. Next to the sensible calorie-free choices like Diet 7 Up and Pepsi One, the old, obsolete sugar-drenched concoctions. Both traditional carbonated drinks like Coke Classic and the perversely named “fruit drinks”, crowing the fact that they’re 10% the real thing.

Okay. Typewriters have a use today. (My office got a new one just last month.) And pencils, for that matter. There are tons of VHS videos that have yet to be converted to so much as laserdisk. A lot of computers still use 3 1/4" floppies. 8-bit video games are more popular than ever. Heck, even cigarettes serve a purpose (although I’d argue that they stopped being worth it at least 15 years ago, let alone now). So there are a lot of old technologies that still serve a purpose to this day.

But sodas? Pop? Soft drinks? Look, sugar is only a means to an end (well, okay, except for some baked goods, but that’s not what I’m discussing). It tastes good, and that’s it, nothing but empty useless calories. Which means that once something comes along that tastes as good without the calories, it becomes obsolete. Useless.

Aspartamine (the first artifical sweetner that was actually pretty good) should’ve dealt a heavy blow to old-fashioned sodas. Yeah, there were some really rinky-dink potential health risks, but I don’t remember anything coming from them, and in any case, the health risks from lots of empty calories trumps anything aspartamine supposedly put you at risk of. Now we have sugar substitutes that make aspartamine taste like a stale rice cake. Coke Zero? Which really has the Classic Coke taste to a tee with zero calories? Been around for months now.

Obviously someone’s still buying these hopelessly outdated, unhealthy sodas, but who?

Because it tastes good.

People who don’t think that the artificially sweetened drinks taste as good as the sugar sweetened ones.

I buy regular pop because it makes me feel “full”. I find I eat more when I drink diet pop, more than the calories that are in the pop. Occassionally I switch over to diet but not for long.

It’s my one big addiction and I’m ok with it.

Children should not drink artificially sweetened drinks either.

Well, me, for one. I buy them because I like them. I don’t buy the other types because I don’t like them as much. (ETA: I see I got beaten to the punch on this one. Ah well, goes to show.)

Sarcasm aside, asking this question is like asking why Healthy Choice didn’t kill off Stouffer’s, or why any healthful option didn’t kill off anything with a reasonably similar flavor profile; it’s merely a different option for those who are willing to make the trade.

As for me, I’m in fair-to-middling shape, and I like sugary sodas better, so there you have it. I don’t avoid aspartame because of the supposed health risks, I avoid it because it makes drinks taste like donkey piss. Sure, there are better substitutes, but the differences still exist. Bet me $1,000 I can’t tell the difference between Coke and Coke Zero in a blind test. (Seriously, do it; I could use the cash.)

When I wouldn’t feel confident making that bet, I might reconsider your question, but even then, people like having options, and they enjoy having a treat every now and again without worrying about counting calories or avoiding fat and sugar. Soda in its current form isn’t going anywhere for a good, long while.

Yeah, and in a few years, we’ll be getting all our nutrition from a pill. Sitting down to eat a meal will go the way of the dinosaur.

I gave up on soda about 10 years ago, but are you serious? I tried the diet and non-diet versions of more or less every major soda when I was younger, and the diet and low-calorie versions always tasted like shit. I remember Diet Pepsi being especially horrible. So as far as I was concerned, the healthy versions didn’t make the older versions obsolete at all. Sugary drinks still exist because they taste good. If my understanding is correct, our bodies are evolutionarily wired to like sugar because the presence of sugar indicated calories and nutrition that our ancestors needed. Not so much anymore, but aspartame doesn’t get any evolutionary hand. You can tell me that aspartame tastes like regular sugar, but unless you pull my tongue out, I’ll be able to taste the difference.

Hardly any sweet drinks actually have sugar which is unfortunate. The metallic taste of aspartame as compared to cane sugar is ridiculous.

Here in Canada, our Coke is still made with sugar, as far as I know. And it’s so delicious.

Coke Zero tastes exactly like regular Coca Cola…that has been shaken to hell and back, left in the sun for days, and then chilled and recarbonaded. Blech.

And I only drink Coca Cola Light (or “diet”), and never touch any sugary drinks if I have a choice. But If the only things available are Regular and Zero, I’ll take the regular.

(Why anybody would drink regular when Coke Light is available, I have no idea, but Zero is a really bad example.)

Well, in a manner of speaking. There’s sugar, but it’s also made with a ton of glucose-fructose, and it doesn’t compare to versions of Coke without glucose-fructose in my opinion. I know it’s stupid to drink pop in Europe, but I can never resist a bit of Coke because it’s so much better over there. (I also like the organic cane sugar ones here, but they’re expensive.)

I’m usually a big believer in scientific studies and I know that no long term risks have ever been associated with artificial sweeteners, but I still feel deep down that they’re not good. I feel like I know the risks of “real” pop up front - a massive amount of sugar, weight gain and diabetes. But aspartame does weird things to me - it makes my face break out in acne, and I just feel odd - so I can’t quite accept those studies. The fact that no major risks have been found just adds to my skepticism, as I’m sure they’ll discover something big any time now. :stuck_out_tongue:

You’re probably going to post something retarded like “Why does bacon still exist?” and then ask why people still eat bacon when turkey bacon is available…

People tend to eat what they like, not necessarily what’s best for them, strictly speaking.

I mean, have you ever had a Cuba Libre with diet Coke? Nasty. Or a 7 & 7 with Diet 7Up?

Or something abominable like a baked chicken fried steak with fat-free gravy? (anyone who makes such a thing deserves to be shot!)

The two things wrong with sugary drinks are empty calories and tooth decay.

Tooth decay can be dealt with with brushing, flossing, dental sealents.

As for empty calories, some people can afford them. A two litre bottle of Coke is what like 800 calories. Now I eat 1,800 calories a day. I’m not gonna use 45% of my daily caloric intake on sugar. But that’s a personal choice.

The thing that gets me is people will say “Ew I would never drink Coke,” And then they go drink orange juice, which is sugar water with vitamins throw in and fiber (for those few people who don’t remove the pulp).

I don’t drink many sodas, but the diet ones trgger my migraines and asthma.

Artificially sweetened drinks DON’T taste as good as sugar sweetened ones… at least to me.

I’ve tried all sorts of “Diet” soda pop and they just don’t taste the same to me.

I can tell the difference between HFCS and sugar… in Australia things still use real sugar.

Most artificially sweetened drinks don’t taste as good as those sweetened with sugar, or even HFCS.

Actually, I drink tea mostly these days, rather than pop. And I’ll drink diet if non-diet isn’t available. But if I’m drinking pop/soda I prefer the stuff with sugar and caffeine, thank you very much.

As I engage in manual labor for a living the additional calories are not much of an issue. During a really tough week with overtime I usually lose some weight regardless of what I eat or drink, or how much. Back when I had a desk job I was a little more careful with the calories, but as I still wear the same clothes I did in high school and my weight has been stable for, oh, 20+ years I’m going to claim I’m consuming sugary drinks in moderation.

Wrong or not…well obviously it’s wrong…I like sugar. I hate artificial sweeteners. I can always tell. Drinking things like Crystal Light make me feel sick to my stomach.

I sometimes use Splenda in iced tea at restaurants because sugar will not dissolve.

I despise going to a party and finding that they only have diet drinks. Oh, of course they have plenty of beer and wine, but if you want a soda you must drink diet. Some people can’t drink beer because, duh, it tastes terrible. And some people are allergic to wine.

Except ice wine…but I digress.

It’s still made because people still buy it. It’s as simple as that. If people quit buying it, companies would stop making it.

Supply and demand. simple economics.

I think the thing diet drinkers are generally very bad at communicating is that we all got used to the taste. I often hear diet soda consumers insist they like diet better than non-diet, and that is certainly the case with me. What people tend to leave out is that they also thought it tasted like shit at first and had to get used to it. I don`t know why people do it except that they’re bad communicators, but it’s my personal suspicion that virtually everyone who drinks diet thought it was gross the first time they tried it.

So why persevere? Because there’s no calories and once you`re used to it, it really tastes just as good as the calorie laden version. Regular soda tastes cloyingly sweet and has a nasty after taste to me now. I swear I honestly like diet better and no, I didn’t always.

On the other hand, to answer the OP, it’s entirely reasonable to not want to drink something you find unpleasant for X duration until you get used to the taste and actually enjoy it.