Diet Pepsi Max Invigorating Cola

I encountered these feisty little 12-ounce bottles of Diet Pepsi Max today, and I had to give it a chance. I mean, how many times are you going to run into the phrase 'invigorating cola' in your life?


Review: Diet Pepsi Max Invigorating Cola

Published 08:11 am

I encountered these fiesty little 12-ounce bottles of Diet Pepsi Max today, and I had to give it a chance. I mean, how many times are you going to run into the phrase 'invigorating cola' in your life? The label is all blue and black and shiny chrome, too, and I guess The Man's slick marketing machine has finally figured out a couple of my buttons, because I snapped a few up without even thinking. I sort of wish I had.

I'm not one of those soda connoseurs who can tell with a sniff and a swallow what state your Pepsi was bottled in. I still have trouble telling Pepsi and Coca-Cola apart, and on the rare occasions that I drink Diet Pepsi, I think any flavor difference I discern is mostly psychosomatic.

Not so much with Diet Pepsi Max. I'll grant that it does taste like it was originally derived from some sort of cola beverage, but I think the apple's managed to fall pretty far from the tree on this one. After my first few gulps even my cute little 12-ounce Pepsi bottle was starting to feel more like a chore than a refreshment.

Diet Pepsi Max has zero calories and zero sugar. Normally I'd consider that impressive, even admirable, but in this case I find it almost more worrying than the alternative. All but a meager handful of the ingredients are complex chemicals (including aspartame, and 69mg caffeine per 12 ounces), and I'd almost really prefer some sugar in there just so I know what I'm dealing with.

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I guess if you're going to be chugging the stuff it's good to have it sugar-free, but frankly I don't think any Pepsi fan would consider this stuff remotely chug-worthy.

Diet Pepsi Max has practically no sodium, and that is good. It's also got absolutely nothing else. The nutrition facts table is almost startlingly bare - zero of everything, except that small hint of sodium. It forces me to wonder what's actually in there.

I've been really depressingly cynical so far, so I'll end on the high note. Diet Pepsi Max does seem to live up to its promise of invigoration. It contains panax ginseng extract (though that's last on the list, so it may not contain much), and a hefty dose of caffeine (69mg/12oz - by way of comparison Jolt Cola has 71mg/12oz, and Mountain Dew 55mg.)

I have been more focused and less shockingly dozy ever since I had it an hour or two ago.

Most of the time, though, I think I'll stick with tea when I need a jolt.

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