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Pepsi Diet vs. Pepsi Zero Sugar — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Urooj Arif — Published on February 27, 2024
Diet Pepsi is a low-calorie alternative to regular Pepsi, sweetened primarily with aspartame, offering a lighter taste. Pepsi Zero Sugar, also calorie-free, uses a blend of aspartame and ace-K for a bolder, closer-to-regular flavor.
Pepsi Diet vs. Pepsi Zero Sugar — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Pepsi Diet and Pepsi Zero Sugar


Key Differences

Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Zero Sugar cater to those looking for low-calorie soda options but differ in taste profile and sweetener composition. Diet Pepsi, introduced in 1964, targets consumers preferring a lighter version of the original Pepsi, with aspartame as its main sweetener since the 1980s. This choice of sweetener gives Diet Pepsi a distinct taste that some find preferable for its mildness compared to regular soda.
Pepsi Zero Sugar, launched as Pepsi Max outside the United States before being rebranded, aims to deliver a taste that's closer to that of full-sugar Pepsi. Its formula includes a blend of aspartame and acesulfame potassium (ace-K), which creates a sweeter, more robust flavor intended to mimic regular Pepsi more closely. This has made Pepsi Zero Sugar popular among those who wish to reduce sugar intake without significantly compromising on taste.
The nutritional content of both beverages is similar, with neither containing calories, sugar, or fat. However, the taste perception varies significantly due to the different sweetener combinations, with Pepsi Zero Sugar often described as having a more intense flavor.
Marketing strategies for these products also diverge, with Diet Pepsi being marketed as a lighter alternative suitable for a health-conscious audience, while Pepsi Zero Sugar targets younger consumers and those seeking the full-flavor experience of regular soda without the calories.
The choice between Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Zero Sugar depends on individual taste preferences and the desired sweetness profile. Both provide calorie-free alternatives to regular Pepsi, with distinct flavors that cater to different segments of the diet soda market.

Comparison Chart


Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K)


Lighter, milder flavor
Bolder, closer to regular Pepsi



Sugar Content


Target Audience

Health-conscious consumers, those preferring a lighter taste
Younger consumers, those seeking a taste closer to regular Pepsi

Launch Year

2007 (as Pepsi Max in the US)

Caffeine Content

Similar to Pepsi Zero Sugar
Similar to Diet Pepsi

Compare with Definitions

Pepsi Diet

Aimed at consumers seeking a mild soda option.
She prefers Diet Pepsi for its subtle sweetness.

Pepsi Zero Sugar

Initially launched as Pepsi Max before being rebranded in the US.
Pepsi Zero Sugar has gained popularity since its rebranding from Pepsi Max.

Pepsi Diet

Contains no calories, appealing to those monitoring caloric intake.
Diet Pepsi fits well into his calorie-controlled diet.

Pepsi Zero Sugar

Designed to mimic the taste of regular Pepsi closely.
Pepsi Zero Sugar is perfect for those who love the original Pepsi taste but want to avoid sugar.

Pepsi Diet

A low-calorie Pepsi variant sweetened with aspartame for a lighter taste.
Diet Pepsi offers a refreshing taste without the calories.

Pepsi Zero Sugar

Targets a younger audience seeking sugar-free soda options.
Pepsi Zero Sugar appeals to millennials looking for healthier beverage choices.

Pepsi Diet

Has been a staple in the diet soda market since the 1960s.
Diet Pepsi has been her favorite since she started choosing diet sodas.

Pepsi Zero Sugar

A calorie-free Pepsi with a blend of aspartame and ace-K for a fuller flavor.
Pepsi Zero Sugar satisfies his craving for a bold, sweet taste without sugar.

Pepsi Diet

Marketed as a healthier alternative to regular Pepsi.
Diet Pepsi is advertised as the smart choice for health-conscious individuals.

Pepsi Zero Sugar

Offers a robust flavor profile compared to Diet Pepsi.
For a more intense taste, he chooses Pepsi Zero Sugar over Diet Pepsi.

Common Curiosities

What is the main sweetener in Diet Pepsi?

Aspartame is the primary sweetener in Diet Pepsi.

What makes Diet Pepsi's flavor different?

Diet Pepsi has a lighter, milder flavor due to its aspartame sweetener.

Does Diet Pepsi contain caffeine?

Yes, Diet Pepsi contains caffeine, similar to Pepsi Zero Sugar.

How does Pepsi Zero Sugar's taste compare to regular Pepsi?

Pepsi Zero Sugar is designed to closely mimic the taste of regular Pepsi, offering a bolder flavor than Diet Pepsi.

Can Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Zero Sugar be part of a diet plan?

Yes, both are calorie-free and can fit into a calorie-controlled diet.

What year was Pepsi Zero Sugar introduced?

Pepsi Zero Sugar was introduced in the US as Pepsi Max in 2007 and later rebranded.

Is there a price difference between Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Zero Sugar?

Pricing can vary by region and retailer, but typically, there is no significant price difference between the two.

Are there calories in Pepsi Zero Sugar and Diet Pepsi?

No, both beverages contain zero calories.

Why might someone prefer Pepsi Zero Sugar over Diet Pepsi?

Someone might prefer Pepsi Zero Sugar for its fuller flavor, which is closer to that of regular Pepsi.

What is the difference in marketing between the two products?

Diet Pepsi is marketed as a lighter alternative for health-conscious consumers, while Pepsi Zero Sugar is aimed at those desiring a taste closer to regular Pepsi without the calories.

Can the sweeteners in these sodas affect health?

While aspartame and ace-K are approved for use, some individuals choose to limit artificial sweeteners due to personal health concerns or preferences.

Who is the target audience for Pepsi Zero Sugar?

Pepsi Zero Sugar targets younger consumers and those seeking a no-calorie soda that tastes closer to regular Pepsi.

Why was Pepsi Max rebranded to Pepsi Zero Sugar in the US?

The rebranding to Pepsi Zero Sugar was aimed at more clearly communicating the product's no-sugar attribute to consumers.

Is aspartame the only sweetener in Pepsi Zero Sugar?

No, Pepsi Zero Sugar also contains acesulfame potassium (ace-K) alongside aspartame.

Which soda is better for someone trying to reduce sugar intake?

Both options are suitable for reducing sugar intake, as neither contains sugar.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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