History Of Weight Loss Drinks

Weight loss drinks as we know them were first marketed in 1952, by the Kirsch Bottling Company in Brooklyn, New York. Kirsch Bottling developed and promoted a sugar free ginger ale labeled “No-Cal.” This weight loss drink was developed for diabetics, but not dieters. The product was only distributed locally. In 1958, Royal Crown Cola advertised in an Atlanta newspaper a new diet soda product, which was called “Diet Rite.” Later, in 1963, the giant Coca-Cola Company threw in the diet soft drinks race with an entry labeled “Tab.” This diet drink was a huge success. The product Tab was initially sweetened using cyclamates and saccharin.

Diet Rite, Tab, and Fresca (a Coca-Cola grapefruit-flavored product) were the only marketed brand-name diet drinks until Pepsi marketed Diet Pepsi in the 1960s. Pepsi called this product “Patio Diet Cola” initially. In 1982, the Coca-Cola Company released “Diet Coke.” Soon after the release of Diet Coke, the product Tab became less important to the Coca-Cola Company and the consumers. This was probably because Diet Coke was easily identified by purchasers as a Coca-Cola product than was Tab. Also damaging to the product was a study that claimed that saccharin -the sweetner in Tab – could cause cancer. This all lead to the Coca-Cola Company’s decrease in the production of Tab.

Other beverages got into the act as well. Due to the popularity of weight loss drinks, some beer companies began producing and marketing sugar-free beer.

Many different companies had their own diet drink brands by the early 1990s. The product Tab even became popular again during the late 1990s, following new studies which proved that saccharin is not an important factor in the risk of cancer. However, the Coca-Cola Company has replaced some of the saccharin in Tab with the NutraSweet sweetner.

As early as 2002, some soda companies had included diversity of their weight loss drinks with flavors like vanilla and lemon. Some weight loss drinks added flavors like Diet Vanilla Coke and Diet Pepsi Vanilla. Several alcohol bottlers by 2004 had marketed different sugar-free or “diet” alcoholic products as well.