Best and worst diet sodas

For those individuals on a keto diet or those who simply want to lower their sugar intake for health reasons, diet sodas are a welcome reprieve from drinking water. If you pick the right diet soda, you will have a tasty beverage at your fingertips that has little to no sugar in it.

While the lack of sugar is beneficial for some people (particularly diabetics), not everyone agrees that diet sodas are healthy. But as long as you practice moderation, you should be okay.

Health issues aside, the main risk when it comes to diet sodas involves taste. Many diet sodas are gross, and some are so repulsive that you wouldn’t wish the drink on your worst enemy. Pick the wrong one, and you’ll regret it instantly. Luckily for you, we have gone to great lengths to taste test all types and brands of diet soda so that you can hop on over the worst ones and head directly toward the best of the bunch.

17. Diet Mountain Dew

Diet Mountain Dew bottle diet soda

Diet Mountain Dew is the ultimate tease. It smells like the real thing, and it has the same neon color. However, if you make the mistake of taking a sip, you’ll be wholly disappointed. It doesn’t taste anything like regular Mountain Dew. Instead, it has an artificial citrus taste that’s akin to decomposing grapefruit mixed with dirty water. Even if you love Mountain Dew, avoid this diet soda with all of your might.

What makes matters even more disappointing is the fact that there are so many great flavors of Mountain Dew. If you try Diet Mountain Dew and hate it, no one could blame you. That said, you should still try Mountain Dew Baja Blast Zero Sugar. It’s actually really good — much, much better than Diet Mountain Dew. Unfortunately, it’s only available at Taco Bell. Then again, that gives you an excuse to go pick up some of your Taco Bell favorites later tonight.

16. Coca-Cola Orange Vanilla Zero Sugar

Coca-Cola Orange Vanilla Zero Sugar soda can diet soda

You knew you were taking a risk when you bought Coca-Cola Orange Vanilla Zero Sugar. You probably second-guessed yourself before finalizing your purchase. But little did you know that you were in for a massive failure of this proportion. This stuff tastes like a Creamsicle Bar crawled into a vat of carbonated water and died. No matter how slowly you try to drink it, you can’t escape the overwhelming amount of regret you will feel. Amazingly, things go from bad to worse because the aftertaste is even more disgusting. Before long, your taste buds will revolt unless you stop drinking it.

Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero Sugar is a little bit better — but not much. It’s still not something you should spend your dollar bills on. When it comes to Coca-Cola Zero Sugar drinks, just go ahead and avoid anything with vanilla in it. You and your taste buds will be thankful for these words of wisdom.

15. Diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale

Diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale bottle diet soda

A good ginger ale has a complex flavor profile. First, you’re met with a satisfying zing. Then, a burst of flavor balances the zing and prepares your mouth for the next sip. From there, you rinse and repeat until your can of ginger ale is gone. At the end, you have a smile that has spread from ear to ear.

Sadly, none of that magic happens if you dare to drink Diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Instead of a zing, you’re met with an off-putting bitter bite that will cause your mouth to pucker. At that point, you’ll wait for a second wave of flavor — but it will never come. No ginger goodness. No blast of sweetness. Nothing at all. You’re left with a mouthful of bitter diet soda that will be difficult to swallow.

Even if you typically adore Canada Dry products, you won’t enjoy this diet drink. Move on to something better.

14. Diet Pepsi

Diet Pepsi cans diet soda

Diet Pepsi is so lacking in taste that it’s actually impressive in a perverse sort of way. While it smells a little bit like Pepsi, this stuff basically tastes like carbonated air. That doesn’t sound possible — but try Diet Pepsi and see for yourself. The minuscule amount of flavor that’s present is mostly from the carbonation process. There’s zero cola taste at play.

In defense of Diet Pepsi, it deserves credit for being a pioneer in the industry. The history of this drink dates back to 1963. In fact, it was the first diet cola to be sold throughout the United States. Back then, Diet Pepsi was a novel drink that was unlike anything else available on the market. However, these days, there’s really no excuse to settle for Diet Pepsi. It’s been lapped by the competition. There are many other diet sodas that are better — including a handful of others made by Pepsi.

13. Diet A&W Root Beer

Diet A&W Root Beer can diet soda

After your first sip, you might fall in love with Diet A&W Root Beer. And, honestly, no one should judge you on this love affair. Your first kiss of this stuff will blow you away. But before you start planning a wedding, you should know that it’s all downhill from there. Tragically, by the end of your first can of Diet A&W Root Beer, you will be asking for a divorce.

Why does the relationship turn sour? This diet root beer is just way too sweet. You’ll enjoy the sweetness the first time or two it enters your mouth. But it doesn’t take long for that overpowering sweetness to become too much to handle. The unrelenting fake sugar taste becomes nauseating, even if you have a sweet tooth that seems to never be satisfied with your dietary decisions.

Skip Diet A&W Root Beer completely, or save it for an occasional rendezvous. A sip here and there every few months will be enjoyable. More than that is fatiguing.

12. Fanta Orange Zero Sugar

Fanta Orange Zero Sugar can diet soda

Fanta is known for their fun fruit flavors. From Pina Colada to Strawberry and from Fruit Punch to Grape, Fanta has many tasty flavors to pick from. Each one of them is entertainingly joyous in its own right. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Fanta’s diet options.

In the United States, the most prevalent diet soda by Fanta is Fanta Orange Zero Sugar. While it’s better than the previously mentioned diet drinks on this list, there’s nothing fun about it. Instead, it’s a mediocre drink that basically tastes like carbonated Tang that has been watered down so much so that you can barely taste the orange flavoring.

Hopefully, one day, Fanta will learn how to bring their collection of fruit flavors to the world of diet sodas. But as it stands, it’s obvious that they haven’t figured out how to do that. When you’re in the mood for a fruity Fanta drink, your best option right now is just to drink a regular Fanta and forget all about the diet options.

11. Diet 7UP

Diet 7UP bottle diet soda

Unless you are participating in a burping contest, you probably won’t be too thrilled with Diet 7UP. This diet soda is super carbonated. It’s so carbonated that it can even be painful to drink, especially if you mistakenly try to gulp it down too quickly. If you take it slow and easy, Diet 7UP is okay — but you can do better.

While Diet 7UP doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor, it has a satisfying sourness to it. On the can, it tells you that you’re getting a lemon-lime flavored soda — and 7UP isn’t fibbing when they tell you that. If you want your diet drink to be highly carbonated and sufficiently sour, this is a soda you should buy. But if the thought of a sour diet soda doesn’t do it for you, switch to Diet Cherry 7UP. It’s much sweeter and has a slight cherry aftertaste that you may enjoy.

10. Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry

Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry bottles diet soda

Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry is a lot like Diet A&W Root Beer. You’ll experience love at first sip. As the diet soda is trickling down your esophagus, you’ll be sure that you have discovered your new favorite diet soda. However, this love won’t last.

With Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry, the culprit is its aftertaste. At first, there’s a legitimately good cherry flavor. But after three or four sips, you begin realizing there’s a chemical aftertaste. No matter how hard you try, you simply can’t ignore it. Before long, you’ll be plotting about which diet soda to try next, and your initial thoughts of love will be a long lost memory. You may be able to keep drinking it, but you won’t regard it as anything special.

Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper is also a thing, but it too is doomed by a chemical aftertaste that makes it only moderately enjoyable.

9. Fresca Original Citrus Soda

Fresca Original Citrus Soda cans diet soda

If you want a perfectly average diet soda, buy a can of Fresca Original Citrus Soda. This drink isn’t amazing — but there’s also nothing to dislike about it. It has a clean, crisp taste that you can definitely live with. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be wowed, but its subtle goodness could very well make you a fan for life.

The best attribute of Fresca Original Citrus Soda is the fact that it’s refreshing. On a hot afternoon, there’s not a more refreshing diet soda. Within moments, your thirst will be quenched.

Fresca has four other diet soda flavors: Blackberry Citrus, Black Cherry Citrus, Strawberry Citrus, and Peach Citrus. While there’s nothing wrong with trying any of these flavors, you’ll eventually circle back around and go with the Original Citrus flavor when you want a refreshing soda. The other four flavors are equally as clean and equally as crisp, but the Original Citrus has the most enjoyable taste.

8. Diet Coke

Diet Coke bottle diet soda

While the aforementioned Diet Pepsi was born in the 1960s, Diet Coke wasn’t unveiled until 1982. It didn’t take long for it to become the best-selling diet soda in America, which remains the case to this day.

Compared to Diet Pepsi, it’s clear that Diet Coke is an upgrade. However, it has its quirks. First of all, you will probably hate it the first time you drink it. But, strangely, you’ll like it more and more as the years pass and you continue to drink it. It’s like the opposite of Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry and Diet A&W Root Beer in that regard. As the years turn into decades, Diet Coke may have grown on you so much so that you thoroughly enjoy it.

The second oddity with Diet Coke is that it’s mandatory that you drink it when it’s cold. Warm Diet Coke tastes like poison. The colder it gets, the better it tastes.

7. Diet Sunkist

Diet Sunkist Orange bottle diet soda

If you want an orange diet soda that actually tastes pretty good, the only real option you have is Diet Sunkist. While it’s not great by any measure, it’s much better than all of its competitors. The orange flavor is authentic, and it doesn’t taste like it has been diluted. And though Diet Sunkist is sweet, it doesn’t have an annoying level of sweetness that plagues other fruit-flavored diet sodas.

If you’re obsessed with Mountain Dew and you want a suitable diet version, Diet Sunkist is about as close as you’re gonna get. In case you didn’t know, Mountain Dew has orange juice in it. That same orange flavor is in this drink, which could help you scratch that Mountain Dew itch. At the very least, it’s leaps and bounds better than the disaster that is Diet Mountain Dew.

Interestingly, while Sunkist currently has 11 different flavors for sale, they only have one diet drink.

6. Sprite Zero Sugar

Sprite Zero Sugar bottle diet soda

Sprite and 7UP have been competing against each other ever since Sprite was introduced in the United States back in 1959. While opinions regarding the taste of Sprite versus the taste of 7UP vary from person to person, there’s conclusively more to like about Sprite Zero Sugar than Diet 7UP.

Firstly, Sprite Zero Sugar isn’t overwhelmingly carbonated. You won’t feel the need to belch after each and every sip of this lemon-lime flavored soda. Secondly, while Diet 7UP is sour from beginning to end, Sprite Zero Sugar is sour at first, but eventually, you’re rewarded with a sweet aftertaste.

That said, don’t get too confident with this soda and think the entire line of Sprite’s diet drinks is of the same quality. Sprite Cherry Zero Sugar and Sprite Ginger Zero Sugar are both really bad. Diet Cherry 7UP is nothing to write home about, but it’s way better than either of these two calamities.

5. Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry

Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry soda cans diet soda

It seems like every brand of diet soda attempts to make a cherry-flavored drink. Most attempts fall flat on their face, and the result is something that’s too sweet or something that tastes like chemicals. If you want the best cherry-flavored diet soda, Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry is what you should get your hands on. You’ll find nothing on the market that is superior.

Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry is gentle on your taste buds, which makes it a diet soda that you can drink by the gallon without ever getting tired of it. The cherry flavor is present with each sip, but it’s not overpowering at all. Additionally, the aftertaste is entirely pleasant.

Even if you hate regular Diet Pepsi (and you certainly have reason not to like it), don’t let that stop you from trying Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry. The addition of cherry is subtle, but it results in a big, big improvement.

4. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar soda cans diet soda

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar hit grocery shelves in 2005, and it immediately made a splash in the diet soda industry. Coke Zero, as it was known when this product was launched, is a completely different animal than Diet Coke. While Diet Coke has an extremely unique taste, the cool thing about Coca-Cola Zero Sugar is that it actually sort of tastes like Coca-Cola, the world’s best selling soda — by far.

At the very least, you can tell that Coca-Cola Zero Sugar is a cola. Considering that wasn’t the case with either Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi, its introduction was a big step forward for fans of diet colas.

That said, this is a drink that you will either love or hate. If you love it, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (and its handful of variants) could very well be the only diet soda you ever turn to. But there is a vocal part of the population that hates this drink and much prefers Diet Coke.

3. Diet A&W Cream Soda

Diet A&W Cream Soda can diet soda

While A&W struck out with their diet root beer, Diet A&W Cream Soda is a colossal home run that would make Babe Ruth blush. In fact, don’t be surprised if you like this diet cream soda as much as you like any other cream soda, including A&W’s regular, sugar-filled cream soda. It’s that good.

While Diet A&W Root Beer is overly sweet, Diet A&W Cream Soda doesn’t suffer from that same fate. It actually has a deep cream flavor and the right amount of sweetness to make sure you enjoy the party. Yes, it’s sweeter than any other diet sodas at the top of this ranking. However, the sweetness is easily bearable. In fact, you’ll have a hard time putting this drink down. After you finish a can, you’ll be ready to pop open your next one.

Want to kick things up a notch? Make a cream soda float by adding a scoop of low-calorie ice cream. That’d be a dessert that even a health nut could love.

2. Pepsi Zero Sugar

Pepsi Zero Sugar float diet soda

Pepsi Zero Sugar came to life in 2007 as Pepsi’s answer to Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. First, it was known as Diet Pepsi Max. Then it was known simply as Pepsi Max. Today, it goes by the name Pepsi Zero Sugar. Whatever you call it, this stuff is good. Really, really good.

Like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Pepsi Zero Sugar has an unmistakable cola taste. While it’s relatively new to the market, give it a try, and you too will be convinced that it’s the best diet cola in the nation.

As an added bonus, Pepsi Zero Sugar is supercharged with ginseng and an extra amount of caffeine. Ginseng has many health benefits (it’s even an aphrodisiac), while any coffee drinker can tell you how much caffeine can aid your energy level. Twenty ounces of Pepsi Zero Sugar has 115 milligrams of caffeine, which is more than both Diet Mountain Dew and Diet Coke.

1. Diet Dr. Pepper

Diet Dr. Pepper can diet soda

Usually, you have to give something up when you reach for a diet soda. However, that’s not the case with Diet Dr. Pepper. This diet drink is just as good as regular Dr. Pepper — if not better! It’s miraculous how good this stuff is. For those people who only drink diet sodas, Diet Dr. Pepper is a miracle from the soda gods above.

That said, don’t fall for the gimmick that is Dr. Pepper TEN. Advertisements state that Dr. Pepper TEN is an upgrade to Diet Dr. Pepper — and the only price difference you will have to pay is an extra ten calories. If true, those few calories would be a small price to pay. However, the truth of the matter is Dr. Pepper TEN is too sweet and can’t hold a candle to its zero-calorie counterpart. Don’t mess with perfection, and stick with Diet Dr. Pepper — the best diet soda you can buy.