Mashed's Exclusive Survey Confirms Which Diet Soda Is The Best

Diet soda has been around for the past 70 years. While it started off as an alternative for diabetics in the '50s, a decade later, Coca-Cola took on the challenge of bringing this beverage to everyday people looking for healthier drink options and created Tab. 

While many are aware that the average soda contains close to the recommended daily intake of sugar — one Coke contains 80% of the sugar you should have in a day, for example — and others are counting calories, some people might prefer the less-sweet taste of diet sodas. Preference usually comes down to two factors, what original drink people prefer and what sweetening agent is being used as a sugar substitute. Sugar substitutes vary greatly, with different sweetness levels and aftertastes. To find out which one was most popular, Mashed gave 582 survey respondents five popular diet soda options and asked what their favorite was.

Coming in last place with 11.51% of the votes was Diet Mountain Dew. This drink was introduced in 1976 as Sugar-Free Mountain Dew and is currently sweetened with a blend of aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose. It contains 10 calories per 20-ounce bottle, compared to its sugared counterpart which has 290. In fourth place with 18.73% of the vote is Diet Pepsi. Always a cola rival, this soda came out in 1964 and Pepsi claims it was the first national diet cola, despite Coca-Cola's Tab claiming to have come out the year before. 

The top three diet sodas according to our Mashed survey

Sprite Zero Sugar came in at third place in Mashed's diet soda survey, nabbing 20.27% of the votes. Sprite started developing a sugar-free product back in the 70s, but as of 2004 it was rebranded with its current name. According to the New York Times, marketing experts suggest the word "diet" doesn't appeal to particular demographics such as young men, hence changing the word to "zero". 

Coming in second place is Diet Dr. Pepper at 21.48% of the vote. This drink was originally called Dietic Dr. Pepper back in 1963 but quickly changed its name due to low sales. In 1991, it changed its formula and holds a place as one of the top 10 sodas in America. 

However, coming in at the number one diet soda at a whopping 28.01% is Diet Coke. Introduced in 1982, Coca-Cola quickly took over the diet soda market with its advertising campaigns stating, "Just for the taste of it, Diet Coke!" While the ads featured celebrities and fit people enjoying a variety of activities, the company wanted to drive the point home that it didn't matter if you were drinking it for a health-based reason or not. As the Mashed survey demonstrates, this sugar-free cola drink is still number one with American consumers today.