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Diet Drinks: The Good, the Bad, the Meh

Posted 10/02/2008 by Manny Perez

If life gives you zero calories, low fat lemons, make diet lemonade.
by Manny Perez

    Ask yourself one question before purchasing a bottle of water: are you paying $1.25 for the bottle, or the water?

If you’re buying it for the water, you fail. It’s water, the most abundant liquid on the face of the Earth. It’s not so rare; people actually die from drowning in it. Never buy more than one bottle of water.

    Though, due to DPS’s new drink policy, and TJ’s five-year contract with Pepsi, water may be the only sensible choice. Diet drinks may make us cry for calories, but times get hard, study halls become dry, Coach Owens requires many laps. So who’s to sort through the seas of fructose concoctions to find the elixir of the gods? The TJ Journal of course. Below is a review every drink currently available.

DP.jpgDiet Pepsi
Tasting like Pepsi that has been left out for a while, with a heavy aftertaste, and a strong diet flavor – Diet Pepsi seems to be an acquired taste. Only good for the first split second before the dextrose flavoring attacks, this prescription fails to impress.
Rating: 6




MountianDew.jpgDiet Mountain Dew
Not branching far from the eternal favorite, this diet version of Mountain Dew stays close to the original formula. Not as sweet and as fizzy, but with a very similar flavor, Diet Mountain Dew lacks the “diet” taste from which a lot of beverages suffer from.
Rating: 8




SierraMist.jpgSierra Mist Free
On par with “sparkling water”, Sierra Mist Free tastes good – though noticeably diluted compared to the original. Still refreshing, and with no real aftertaste, it’s an adequate substitute to the real thing.
Rating: 7



Pepper.jpgDr Pepper Diet
Stale, bland, and with a weak flavor, Dr Pepper Diet misses on most of what made the original great – mainly tasting like something. A shadow of a once-great, bold tasting mixture, Dr Pepper Diet should be avoided if only for the strange aftertaste.
Rating: 4



DP-Cherry.jpgDiet Pepsi with Cherry
Though not without its faults; foamy, sweet, and fruity, Diet Pepsi with Cherry is what all diet drinks strive to be. Leaps and bounds better than regular Diet Pepsi, with a cherry lining that carries over and muffles the aftertaste, DP with Cherry is a fantastic choice.
Rating: 8



TropicanLight.jpgTropicana Light – Berry
Accurately described as a “Vitamin Water spin-off failure,” Tropicana Light is pretty light. Watery, with an odd flavor-death about halfway between a sip, and with thoughts of fruity cough syrup not too far off, Tropicana Light is best taken with a cold.
Rating: 4



FSCitrus.jpgFlavor Splash – Citrus Blend
What seems to be marketed as water that used to have a lemon in it, Flavor Splash – Citrus Blend has almost no flavor at all. Paired with a “surprise” aftertaste that only emerges a few seconds after drinking, this beverage could easily be substituted with a trip to the fountain where someone left an old lemon rind sitting out.
Rating: 5



FS-Rasberry.jpgFlavor Splash – Raspberry
Citrus Blends’ sister drink, Raspberry, decently pulls off flavor subtlety, and though the raspberry taste is stronger, smoother, and without an aftertaste – it still tastes artificial. FS Raspberry is overall simply “decent.”
Rating: 7



AlivePeachMango.jpgAquafina Alive Wellness Water – Peach Mango (AKA Orange Lime)
Aquafina Alive does not want you to purchase its products; at least the ones they advertise. Besides having the Berry Pomegranate variety always vend a flavor of Propel, Orange Lime actually works under the pseudonym “Peach Mango.” Unfortunately, it’s still disgusting and similar to drinking a liquefied Ricola lozenge.
Rating: 3



PropelStrawB.jpgPropel – Kiwi-Strawberry
All three Propels are basically the same combination of diluted Gatorade and sucrose – but as they’re the only monopolistic sports drink available, they serve adequately as thirst quenchers. Kiwi-Strawberry is the best of the trio – sweet without tasting too “fruit punchy.”
Rating: 7




PropelBerry.jpgPropel – Berry
Propel Berry may as well find its own crowd; the flavor is above average, but that’s about it. A round of applause for generic berry flavor?
Rating: 6




PropelGrape.jpgPropel – Grape
The definite worst of the three, Propel Grape is very upfront with its taste – like drinking a bottle of melted popsicles.
Rating: 5



TeaGreen.jpgDiet Lipton – Green Tea
One of the better options available, Diet Lipton Green Tea, is very organic tasting; though the manufactured sugar takes a few sips to get used to. Garnished with lemon, Green Tea tastes like actual tea!
Rating: 8



WhiteTea.jpgDiet Lipton – White Tea
Overpowering, with a bombardment of dextrose, and a creepily tangy aftertaste, White Tea offers no advantages over Diet Lipton’s other option.
Rating: 4




    Overall, be wary of your purchases. The vending machines are infamous for their talent at delivering everything but what’s asked for – not to mention Aquafina Alive Berry Pomegranate’s non-existence.
    On a related note: the vending machine way in the back, the last one at the end of the auditorium, serves the coldest drinks. Our sample of Propel had ice chunks in it.