Soda is big business, especially when it comes to soda consumption by children and adolescents. Research from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in 2009 showed 41 percent of children and 62 percent of adolescents drink at least one soda every day. Furthermore, the researchers found that the average person in the United States drinks 50 gallons of soda or other sweetened beverages every year. This soda consumption adds up to a lot of calories, which can contribute to obesity. To help lower sugar intake, soda companies like Pepsi, which manufactures Mountain Dew, have introduced diet products.
The recipe for Mountain Dew was created by Ally and Barney Hartman, who originally planned to use the beverage as a mixer for hard liquor. In 1964, Pepsi acquired the Mountain Dew name, launching its first advertising campaign in 1965. With other brands introducing diet drinks, Mountain Dew launched its diet version of the soda in 1986.
Diet Mountain Dew has the same amount of caffeine as most other brands with 36 mg per 8 oz.; Mountain Dew Volt has 37 mg. However, caffeine-free regular and diet Mountain Dew don't have any caffeine.
The main difference between Diet Mountain Dew and other Mountain Dew products is the lack of calories. Most other Mountain Dew drinks have 110 calories per 8 oz. A can of soda typically contains 12 oz. of soda. Diet Mountain Dew achieves a lower calorie number because of its use of alternative sweeteners, namely the non-saccharine sweetener aspartame.
Diet Mountain Dew's most significant benefit over regular Mountain Dew is the number of calories you consume with each serving. Take the data for the 50 gallons a year of sweetened beverages the average person in the U.S. consumes. With 128 oz. in each gallon, that calculates to 88,000 calories a year. Since 3,500 calories equal 1 lb. of body fat, switching to Diet Mountain Dew to replace these beverages could save you 25 lb. in a single year. However, if weight loss is your goal, water, 100 percent fruit juice in moderation and skim milk are much more nutritious options.
The potential disadvantages of Diet Mountain Dew revolve around the artificial sweetener and caffeine. Caffeine, although a popular additive, can have side effects including an increase in heart rate, restlessness, anxiety, depression, tremors and difficulty sleeping, suggests the National Institutes of Health's Medline Plus. Aspartame has also come under fire over concerns about the long-term effects of the artificial sweetener on the body.
- National Institutes of Health: Medline Plus: Caffeine in the diet
- UCLA Center for Health Policy Research: Bubbling over: New research shows direct link between soda and obesity
- California Center for Public Health Advocacy: Sugar Sweetened Beverages
- CNN: Is aspartame safe?
- Pepsi: Pepsi Product Information