It’s a general rule that “diet” beverages that are promoted as having “zero calories,” “zero sugar” and/or “zero carbs” have less than ideal taste. They bank on those promises being enough to catch the eye of those of us who are trying to cut sugar out of our diet but still need something with a bit more kick in between gallons of water.
I personally don’t mind the taste of diet sodas, but that’s probably because I was drinking them on a regular basis long before I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes just so I could have something with that fizzy sensation to get me past the afternoon hump without ingesting inordinate amounts of sugar.
For those looking for something better for their palate, might I suggest trying Washington-based Talking Rain’s line of antioxidants infused sparkling mountain spring waters called Sparkling Ice which use a combination of fruit juice concentrate and sucralose — specifically Splenda brand — as a source of sweetness.
I won’t sugarcoat things and say that you won’t be able to tell at all that these drinks use artificial sweeteners, but these taste pretty damn good regardless. Plus you get the benefit of not just Vitamins B (B3, B5, B6 and B12 to be exact) and D but also antioxidants via 50 mg of green tea extract in every bottle.
The black raspberry variety is especially good thanks to the inherently strong flavor of raspberries: the juice concentrate successfully masks the artificial notes to the point where there are only whispers of the sucralose taste left.
The orange mango and pink grapefruit flavors are my other favorites although the “diet” DNA of the beverages is more discernible in these varieties. The lemon lime and kiwi strawberry flavors aren’t bad, either, but I’m not a huge fan of the very tart pomegranate blueberry and I avoid the coconut pineapple like a plague (I tried this once and couldn’t even get through a bottle… just a nasty flavor all around).
They’re now available at Costco — in the northern New Jersey region, at least — in a 12-pack of the black raspberry, orange mango and lemon lime varieties for just $9.99 which is a far sight cheaper than the $2.50 I pay at the Korean deli around the corner from my office in midtown Manhattan.
And now Amazon sells a larger version of that variety pack as well as 12-packs of each individual flavor which could work out better for me since I find the black raspberry flavor to be far and away better than the rest and I’d only pay 12 cents more per bottle to be able to enjoy only that flavor.