Zero-calorie soft drinks appeared in the United States as a marketing spin on diet soda varieties, according to the book "Coca-Globalization" by Robert Foster. Zero-calorie soft drinks contain no sugar, but instead use alternative zero calorie sweeteners to maintain the taste. There are several of these soft drinks available.
Pepsi Max is a sugar-free, 0-calorie soft drink first available in 2007, according to Joe Collier in his article, "Pepsi Chief Predicts a Challenging Year," published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In addition to being 0-calorie, it also is free of carbohydrates and has an infusion on ginseng, Alex Lluch says in his book, "The Complete Calorie, Fat and Carb Counter." Lluch says that Pepsi Max contains only 25 mg of sodium per 8-oz. serving. Its sweetening agent is aspartame, which has a controversial presence in the food industry. The American Cancer Society reports that no evidence or links are shown to implicate aspartame as a cancer-causing agent. Additional ingredients include carbonated water, phosphoric acid, citric acid and other flavoring and preservatives.
Similar to Pepsi Max, Coca-Cola Zero is a 0-calorie soft drink available across the U.S. It contains 40 mg of sodium per 12-oz. serving size and has no sugar, fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol, potassium or vitamins, according to Lluch. It has different ingredients depending on the region, but all use aspartame as a sweetener. In the U.S. the ingredients include potassium citrate and benzoate, carbonated water, caramel coloring, natural flavors, caffeine, acesulfame potassium and phosphoric acid, Lluch reports.
Sprite Zero is a product of the Coca-Cola company, which also distributes Coca-Cola zero. It is not a dark soda variety but instead has a lemon-lime flavor. According to Lluch, Sprite Zero contains 65 mg of sodium and 75 mg of aspartame per 8-oz. serving. According to Barry Vacker in his book "Zero Conditions," much of the success of Coca-Cola zero products is due heavily in part to their marketing campaigns for those who are weight- and calorie-conscious. Nonetheless, Vacker says, the use of the artificial sweetener aspartame does damage the appeal.