When Coca-Cola announced that it was doing away with the beloved Coke Zero and replacing it with a new beverage called Coke Zero Sugar, fan reactions ranged from concerned to devastated.
What is it: The new (and improved?) Coke Zero Sugar
Who tried it: Four PEOPLE staffers
Level of Difficulty: 1
As it turns out, though, the new drink and the old one have very few differences on paper. Each has the exact same ingredient list, in the same order. Coke Zero Sugar has less sodium than the original by 30 g, and both are sweetened with aspartame. A rep for Coca-Cola explains that the difference lies in the ratios of the ingredients, and the new blend was designed to taste more like real Coke.
The cans of Coke Sugar Zero promise a “new and improved taste”—but does it deliver? To put their success to the test, four PEOPLE staffers (and avid Coke Zero fans) did a blind test, side by side—and the results were split right down the middle.
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The new recipe was noted by one taster to have “a stronger overall taste and leaves a sweeter aftertaste,” with another adding that it “doesn’t taste as fake.” Both of these staffers preferred Coke Zero Sugar to the original.
Some purists, though, still preferred the old one—saying it tasted “more like the real Coke” and “less chemical-y.” Another note was that the new version tasted flatter and less carbonated.
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So there you have it. With all of these completely opposite and mixed reactions, it’s safe to say you should probably just try the new one and decide for yourself. (But don’t overthink it, because they’re basically just the same thing anyway.)