Mountain Dew Zero Sugar is here, and it’s being marketed with the tagline “As good as the original.”
But is it?
As a longtime drinker of Mountain Dew and Diet Mountain Dew, I had to try it. As a kid, I drank a lot of high-octane, full-sugar Mountain Dew. When my taste buds graduated from puberty and I realized that much sugar wasn’t so good for me, I switched things up to the diet version.
And I love it. I drink at least one a day, and I have found myself wondering if Mountain Dew gives sponsorships to nonathletes, cuz I’d be a prime candidate.
So this new version was on my list of things to try, despite the off-the-mark Super Bowl commercial starring Bryan Cranston. (I know it was a tribute to “The Shining,” but it was creepy in all the wrong ways.)
I spotted a store display earlier this week and grabbed a couple 20-ounce bottles of Mountain Dew Zero Sugar. Per a press release, it’s also available in standard 2-liter bottles, 12-packs of 12-ounce cans and “a variety” of other sizes.
(This is a good time to point out that the soda is now officially called MTN DEW, all caps, at least on its labels and in PepsiCo press releases. But whatever. We’ll still call it Mountain Dew, thank you very much.)
Anyway, I cracked open one of the neon green sodas and took a big swig.
It was different.
It sorta tasted like the original Mountain Dew, but that fake sugar taste you get in some diet sodas lingered a bit.
Much like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Pepsi Zero Sugar and Gatorade Zero, it’s flavored with a few different artificial sweeteners. I found that made it taste closer to real sugar, but left it with a somewhat chemically aftertaste.
It also has a load of caffeine: 133 milligrams per 20 ounces, which is more than either Diet or regular Mountain Dew, according to foodbev.com. It also has 0 calories, compared to Diet Mountain Dew’s 10 calories, not that there’s much of a difference there.
I downed the second bottle the next day, but I probably won’t be going back. Diet Mountain Dew is just fine for me, and if I wanted something that tasted closer to the sugary sweetness of a regular Mountain Dew, I’d probably reach for the real thing over the Zero Sugar version.
But the new version is out there if you feel differently.