Bookmark and Share May 22, 2011 - Dave Mulder

What’s in Diet Pepsi?

It may not be on a list of life’s greatest mysteries, but in this post we briefly investigate the ingredients in Diet Pepsi.

A can of Diet Pepsi

Ingredients in Diet Pepsi

Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, caffeine, citric acid, natural flavor

What’s it all doing?

Carbonated water is the principal ingredient because all beverages could be re-labeled as flavored aqua. So no surprise there.

Moving on, we find caramel color. In non-diet sodas, the second ingredient is always some variation of sugar, usually high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar. That we’re jumping all the way to caramel color is a strong indication that Diet Pepsi is about 99% water and 1% other stuff.

Aspartame shows up third. It’s an artificial sweetener and the reason why you see warnings about phenylketonurics on zero-calorie sodas.

Potassium benzoate shows up as a preservative. That’s okay … and then you have caffeine (about 35 milligrams, or 1/2 a cup of coffee), citric acid (adds tartness), and natural flavor. We’re not quite sure what the natural flavor is, but it’s probably just enough of the Pepsi taste to offset the metallic tinge of aspartame.

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