Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Diet Rite, Right

Most of my adult life, I have been an avid Diet Pepsi drinker. I love the stuff. Love love love it. But with the changes I had to undergo in diet last year, Diet Pepsi became the unwanted mistress. She has too much in the sodium department. As much as I hated to set her free, it was a necessary evil.

So I set out for another beverage. At first I thought I would just go for juices. But that proved fruitless (pun intended). I don't like apple juice, and I think grape juice should only be consumed by humans under the age of 9. Cranberry juice is ok, but I cannot resist the urge to toss in a little Southern Comfort whenever I have a glass (not that there's anything wrong with that). Orange juice gives me indigestion. Vegetable juices (tomato, V-8, etc) have more sodium than soda. And prune juice is just stank! It has the consistency of diluted paint and it tastes basically like crap (which is what it's ironically supposed to make you do, too).

I thought I would be reduced to water the rest of my life, and then I discovered
Diet Rite. [insert Halleujah Chorus here]

Oh sure, I've seen it before, lurking on the shelves, usually at the bottom of the cooler, alone and unpopular, like a guy in Cobalt who weighs over 165 pounds. So I bent over and picked one up (a Diet Rite, not a loner) and examined the "nutrition facts" on the bottle. Admittedly, sodas have no nutritional value, but do you know what's in a Diet Rite? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

No calories, no fat, no carbs, no protein and best of all, no sodium. None. It also doesn't have aspartame. Instead, it uses a combination of sucralose and acesulfame potassium. So it's basically like drinking sugared water, but not really. Figuring I could afford to invest the $1.29 in my future, I bought me a Diet Rite Cola, crossed the store threshold, stepped onto the sidewalk, and cracked the bottle open. After my first swig, my only thought was, where the hell have you been all my life?

Oddly enough, Diet Rite was the very first diet soda ever created back in 1958 (Ginger Ale was created in 1952, but it was marketed to diabetics, not dieters). In 1963, the Coca-Cola company followed suit by creating Tab. Diet Pepsi came along in the 1970's, then Diet Coke followed in 1983.

In 1964, Diet Rite also became the first soft drink sold in an all-aluminum can. You trendsetting little minx, you! But it doesn't end there. In 1983, it became the very first sodium-free diet soft drink, then in 1987, it became the first caffeine-free cola drink. And finally in 2000, it became the very first soft drink to not use aspartame. Huge breakthroughs. It's a wonder Diet Rite hasn't told us all to go to hell for ignoring her accomplishments.

I think the beauty of Diet Rite has been sequestered for too long. If you haven't tried it recently - or ever - give it a spin. It's a great alternative if you need to watch your sodium intake. And it doesn't brag or need to talk about feelings all the time.