Diet Coca-Cola light or Light Taste Coca-Cola (in the Benelux and Germany) is a sugar-free and no-calorie soft drink produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. It contains artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Unveiled on July 8, 1982, and introduced in the United States on August 9, it was the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark. The product quickly overtook the company’s existing diet cola, Tab, in sales.
Diet Coke was sweetened with aspartame, an artificial sweetener, after the sweetener became available in the United States in 1983. Early on, to save money, this was also originally in a blend with saccharin. After Diet Rite cola advertised its 100 percent use of aspartame, and the manufacturer of NutraSweet (then G. D. Searle & Company) warned that the NutraSweet trademark would not be made available to a blend of sweeteners, Coca-Cola switched the formula to 100 percent aspartame. Diet Coke from fountain dispensers still contains some saccharin to extend shelf life.
According to the Coca-Cola Company, “[t]he sweetener blend used for Diet Coke/Coca-Cola Light is formulated for each country based on consumer preference.” In countries in which cyclamates are not banned (as they were in the US in 1970), Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Light may be sweetened with a blend containing aspartame, cyclamates, and acesulfame potassium.