Diet drinks, sometimes known as light drinks and are sugar-free, naturally or artificially sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages typically marketed to health-conscious people, diabetics, athletes, and other people who want to lose weight or stay fit. Many diet drinks are carbonated. Aspartame, known by the brand name NutraSweet, is one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners.
Many Americans choose to consume soft drinks morning, noon, and night. They are tasty drinks, available everywhere, and are relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, for most Americans, soft drinks are also a prime source of extra calories that can contribute to weight gain. Using artificial sweeteners in soft drinks instead of sugar or high fructose corn syrup offers an advantage by sidestepping common problems associated with weight gain or diabetes. Artificial sweeteners contain zero carbohydrates, no fat, and no protein, so they do not directly influence caloric intake or blood sugar levels. The bottom line is switching from sugar-sweetened soft drinks to diet drinks cuts calories.
The FDA approves the use of five artificial sweeteners. Gram for gram, each one is sweeter than sugar. Approved sweeteners include: aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), which is 180 times sweeter than sugar; acesulfame-K (Sunett, Sweet One), which is 200 times sweeter than sugar; saccharin (Sweet'N Low, Necta Sweet), which is 300 times sweeter than sugar; sucralose (Splenda) which is 600 times sweeter than sugar; and neotame which is 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar.