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I’ve been drinking Diet Coke, or DiCo as I like to call it, for as long as I can remember. My parents, two baby boomers, didn’t believe in distinguishing between children and adults. As a toddler, I guzzled beer from their beer cans. When I was a couple years older, I began watching movies my parents said were rated R for “required.” Neighbors often chastised my parents for their laissez-faire attitude, but, for the most part, their indulgence taught me responsibility and moderation.
Except when it came to soda. By age 12, I averaged two to three cans of diet soda a day. By the end of high school, my consumption spiked even higher. Soon, there were college all-nighters, boring office jobs, and diets outlawing carbs. Throughout it all, Diet Coke was my constant comfort, a fizzy pick-me-up that never disappointed.
And yet, I approach this new Diet Coke Plus stuff with some skepticism. Diet Coke’s entire purpose, after all, is that it’s minus, not plus. Like many people, my passion for Diet Coke is predicated on a sense of absence. No sugar, no calories, no problem. Sure, you’re imbibing a mess of other chemicals, but as long as the label has a bunch of zeros on the back, I’m fine.
On Saturday, I had lunch at the Whole Foods on P Street NW. As I always do, I picked up a Diet Coke at the CVS next door (because you can’t find Coke among the rainbow coalition of juices Whole Foods sells). This time, I bought the new DiCo. And I have to admit, it isn’t bad. It comes with vitamins and minerals, and happily, has just as many zeroes as the original while tasting exactly the same. Is it time for all the health nuts to back off? Could it be that vitamins have transformed this vice into a virtue?