06/19/2004: I'm having my first taste....
of Coca-Cola C2™ as I write this, and my initial reaction is something along the lines of, "uh, so what's the fuss about?"
The good news: it tastes more like real Coke than Diet Coke does. Specifically, it does have something resembling that distinctive Coca-Cola "tang"; that indescribable aftertaste that distinguishes (in my mind, at least) Coke from Pepsi and all other imitators (including Diet Coke). I always thought that the distinctive tang was because real Coke has phosphoric acid in it; glancing at the label I see that C2 also contains phosphoric acid. However, when I check the ingredient label for Diet Coke, it also claims to have phosphoric acid in it. Apparently, that's not the distinguishing factor.
The bad news: it still doesn't exactly taste like real Coke. Call it "Coke Light" (everywhere but Japan, where "Coca-Cola Light" is the name for what we know and love as Diet Coke; supposedly the Japanese word for "diet" has associations of sickness and death which apparently The Coca-Cola Company would (understandably) just as soon not bind to one of Their Fine Products). Reading the ingredient label, what C2 would appear to be is basically Diet Coke, jazzed up with a little sugar. Or maybe real Coke cut with Diet Coke. I say that because it appears that while C2 has some sugar in it, it's also got aspartame in it too. Basically, C2 has all the ingredients of Diet Coke except citric acid; C2 appears to "replace" the citric acid with potassium citrate, and, of course, real Coke and Diet Coke could be wildly different as to what ingredients are included under the rubric of "natural flavors" that both products list on their ingredient labels.. Otherwise, C2 has a few other ingredients (most notably, of course, "high fructose corn syrup and/or sucrose", i.e., sugar). It would be instructive, I think, to mix Coca-Cola Classic and Diet Coke in equal measures, and see how closely the mixture resembles C2. I may do that one of these summer afternoons when I need a kitchen science project to keep me off the streets and out of trouble. :-)
The bad news, for me: It's still got sugar in it. Since I'm diabetic, that means that C2, whatever its other virtues, couldn't be a really viable replacement for Diet Coke (I could, I suppose, replace Diet Coke with C2 if I'm willing to count carbs more closely than I've been doing of late ("eyeballing carbs" is probably a more accurate description of my dietary management process right now) and put some sort of cap on my cola intake. Right now I doubt it; C2's not that much of an improvement over Diet Coke to make the extra work worthwhile).
Len on 06.19.04 @ 02:47 PM CST