Consumers demanded it, and Pepsi listened. The company announced earlier this Spring that it would stop using the artificial sweetener aspartame in all its Diet Pepsi products — and those drinks should be on shelves next week, a bit earlier than expected.
The newly formulated Diet Pepsi products (including Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry, Diet Pepsi, and Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi) are being specifically marketed as "aspartame-free." Instead of the maligned sweetener, the new diet sodas contain a mix of the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium, also called ace-k.
Many consumers have demanded that soda companies stop using aspartame (also known as Equal, NutraSweet, or AminoSweet) in their products because of potential side effects like cancer or dizziness and other neurological problems, and Pepsi is the first beverage company to ditch the sweetener from its diet sodas. But while sucralose is generally regarded as a safer sweetener, the consumer advocacy group Center For Science in the Public Interest notes that ace-k is poorly tested and may also pose a cancer risk, and therefore consumers should avoid this sweetener as well. The bottom line? Between possible increased risk of diseases as well as weight gain and accelerated aging, there's just no good reason to keep up a diet soda habit.