A refreshing drink, hold the sugar - Trina Trice

Diet drinks are an acquired taste.

I remember I used to be a soft drink fiend. Nothing was as refreshing as an ice-cold can of Coke or Pepsi or Dr. Pepper when I was young and out in the warm Kentucky sun.

As I grew older, soft drinks got more sophisticated.

Cola drinks became cherry, vanilla, but most of all?diet.

The invention of the diet soda was either a gift from the gods or a curse from hell.

Diet soda was sort of like a miracle because the theory behind it was that we, the ordinary people, would be able to consume large quantities of brown, fizzy beverage without gaining a pound.

See the trick is that there is no sugar in the soda. Or is there?

When you look at the Nutrition Facts box on a diet soda can, you can see that the sugar content reads "0 grams."

But when tasting a typical sip of a diet drink, the soda is (remember, now, this is theory) just as sweet as the "real thing."

But anyone who has ever had both "regular" and diet soda, no matter the preference, can tell by sampling both that one of them tastes rather funny.

Diet soda tastes like what it says – less of a real soda.

It's almost as if it should be less brown than regular cola.

The first time I had diet soda, I nearly spit it out.

I remember most about that experience, though, what my mother said to me: "Don't worry, you'll get used to it."

I thought I'd never "get used to it," but I did.

I realized that if I were to prevent myself from becoming a big ol' brown blimp, I best leave the regular soda alone and opt for a refreshing, diet soda, instead.

Now, I couldn't imagine drinking a soda if it isn't diet. On the rare occasion or out of desperation, I have a can of regular, high-calorie soda.

Whenever I taste the "real" stuff, it's like sucking on a sugar cube. Why soda manufacturers make soft drinks so sweet, I don't know.

What makes the diet soda sweet in most is the addition of aspartame, an artificial sweetener.

It has yet to be determined, the last time I heard, what the long-term effects of aspartame consumption will be.

I'm putting my money on cancer. You can't put something totally artificial in your body on a regular basis and not expect your body to counteract such a blatant abuse.

Because of that us diet soda drinkers will probably all die of cancer. Well, at least we'll be thin. Right?

Trina Trice is the education reporter for the News Daily. Comments should be sent to ttrice@news-daily.com.