The Worst Zero-Sugar Soda Comes With The Nastiest Aftertaste

zero sugar coke, pepsi, and A&W
zero sugar coke, pepsi, and A&W - Mohd Syis Zulkipli/Shutterstock

Zero-sugar soda is the miracle baby of sweet drinks and low-calorie beverages. There's nothing as redeeming as enjoying a Coke or Pepsi for a fraction of those pesky calories. But the real miracle is finding a zero-sugar soda that doesn't taste like something out of a fourth-grade chemistry lab. We ranked 13 popular zero-sugar sodas, and if an experiment gone wrong doesn't sound like your choice of beverage, steer clear of A&W Root Beer Zero Sugar.

Some fans of A&W's zero-sugar soda will tell you that it tastes just like regular root beer. This redeeming factor, however, does little for the zero-sugar soda's off-putting scent, for starters. Despite being one of the best root beer brands, A&W's zero-sugar soda smells like a cross between a musty and stale medicinal plant, and you'll have to ride this scent out before you get to the actual drink.

But the unpleasant smell persists even in the flavor, as our Tasting Table taste tester found while attempting to stomach the zero-sugar soda. If anything, chilling the beverage is what dials down its intense tonic flavor, but you'll still have to deal with the aftertaste. The last thing you'll taste after sipping A&W's zero-sugar soda is root beer residue with the worst artificial tang that was never supposed to escape the science lab in the first place.

Read more: 30 Healthy Snack Ideas That Won't Ruin Your Diet

Zero-Sugar Soda Shouldn't Mean Zero Fun

A&W zero-sugar root beer
A&W zero-sugar root beer - The Image Party/Shutterstock

While our experience with A&W Root Beer Zero Sugar fell short, this doesn't set the tone for all zero-sugar sodas. Our top rankers, such as Dr Pepper Zero Sugar and Virgil's Zero Sugar Root Beer, are more of what we look for in a bottle of zero-sugar soda. For a zero-sugar version that actually tastes like the OG stuff, we think Dr Pepper got it right. The brand's regular soda was birthed from syrup and carbonated water (and Dr Pepper is one of many foods that were initially designed for something else), so artificial flavors inherently ran through its veins. Hence, we think the zero-sugar alternative isn't a far cry from the original. After all, the idea of zero-sugar sodas is to help you switch to a lower-calorie diet without the extra hassle of persuading your palate that what you're drinking is still just as good.

Even our number two brand, another zero-sugar root beer like A&W, found a near-perfect way to concoct its beverage without a nasty medicinal aftertaste. To begin, Virgil's Zero Sugar soda smells like regular root beer, so that when you inhale its aromas, you whet your appetite in preparation instead of bracing yourself before you chug it. Most importantly, the brand manages to use a sweetener blend that doesn't take away — or add — to the flavor of root beer. In the end, as much as taste remains subjective, a nasty aftertaste almost always turns people away.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.