Pepsi brings back the aspartame because it just wants to make us happy

Jun 28, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. ET
Image: Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

Die-hard fans of Diet Pepsi, get excited: Pepsi is bringing back aspartame. The company is relaunching its aspartame-sweetened Diet Pepsi, which will now be sold in a light blue can with the wording "Classic Sweetener Blend."

Last year, Pepsi removed aspartame from its diet cola and started using sucralose and acesulfame potassium instead (yum?). That's because aspartame is a controversial ingredient that has been linked to cancer in lab mice, and consumers have been wary of it for several years. Customers were badgering Pepsi to remove it, and so the company did.

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However, it turns out that the staunchest Diet Pepsi fans were none too pleased with the ingredient swap. Apparently the soda just tasted too different to what they had grown up drinking, and sales of Diet Pepsi dropped. I guess it was just a classic case of the grass being greener on the other side.

Though Diet Pepsi in the silver can, which states "Now Aspartame Free," will still be available for those who don't want to consume such a troubling ingredient, the aspartame-sweetened version will hopefully help stop Pepsi's slipping sales, as customers will now be able to choose exactly which sweetener they want in their drink.

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But there's even more to choose from. Pepsi also has Pepsi Max, which is being relaunched as Pepsi Zero Sugar and comes in a black can. What makes Pepsi Zero Sugar different from the other two diet Pepsis? It has almost twice the caffeine, is infused with ginseng and, like Diet Pepsi classic, it is sweetened with aspartame.

If you're like me and don't exactly have the spare room in your brain to dedicate to memorizing the intricacies of Pepsi's product offerings, we've laid it out for you in this handy infographic. The next time you go to the store and find yourself facing a multicolored wall of Diet Pepsi cans, just whip it out for quick reference. Or, you know, stick to drinking water or whatever. Now if only they made that caffeinated...

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