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Old 02-23-2012, 11:50 AM
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Calories in Diet Mountain Dew

So most days I usually buy a 20 oz. bottle of Diet Mountain Dew. Thanks to the new prominent calorie labeling (pdf) adopted by the American Beverage Industry in 2010, I can easily see it has "10 Calories per Bottle".

But yesterday the machine was out of DMD bottles, so I bought a 12 oz. can, and I noticed this is labeled "0 Calories per Can". I also checked the nutrition info on the bottle I bought today, and noticed that there are two columns: One for an 8 oz. serving (0 calories) and one per bottle (10 calories).

The other listed nutrients all seem to scale up as expected (e.g. sodium is 35mg in 8 oz., 85 mg. per bottle, which is roughly the same mg's/oz.). Why doesn't the calorie count?

BTW, a quick check of the vending machine shows that Diet Coke is 0 calories for both sizes. Not sure if this discrepancy is unique to DMD, but if so why?
Old 02-23-2012, 11:55 AM
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An obvious guess is that it's because calorie counts are rounded to the nearest ten, and the calories in the can round down to 0.

This would also explain why, according to the nutritional information on cereal boxes, the same milk aquires more calories when added to some varieties of cereal than to others.
Old 02-23-2012, 11:55 AM
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Calories get rounded to the nearest 10. So if 8 oz. technically has 4 calories, they can call it 0, but a 12 oz. can has 6 calories so it gets rounded up to 10.

TD, good one.

Last edited by DCnDC; 02-23-2012 at 11:57 AM. Reason: ninja'd
Old 02-23-2012, 12:23 PM
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Shoulda thought of that...probably too much DMD. Thx TD and DCnDC.
Old 02-23-2012, 01:10 PM
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Why does Diet Mountain Dew have some calories and many other diet sodas don't? What's different about it?
Old 02-23-2012, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
Why does Diet Mountain Dew have some calories and many other diet sodas don't? What's different about it?
The second ingredient in diet Mountain Dew is concentrated orange juice, which adds some sugars, but it should list them if there is enough to get 10 calories (~2 grams sugar):

Quote:
INGREDIENTS:
Carbonated water, concentrated orange juice, citric acid, aspartame, potassium benzoate (preserves freshness), citrus pectin, potassium citrate, caffeine, gum arabic, natural flavors, brominated vegetable oil, yellow 5 and erythorbic acid (preserves freshness).
Also of interest, while the amount used is negligible for caloric purposes, aspartame has the same number of calories per gram (4) as sucrose.
Old 02-23-2012, 01:50 PM
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Many other listed ingredients also have some caloric value. Pectin is a plant protein. Brominated vegetable oil is fat. Gum arabic has both carbohydrates and protein.
Old 02-23-2012, 02:23 PM
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If there are less than 5 calories per serving, the makers are allowed to market it as zero. For the life of me I don't know why. So one serving may have 4 calories, 2 would have 8, 3 would have 12, etc. It's still a minuscule amount, but over time does add up.
Old 02-23-2012, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockey Monkey View Post
If there are less than 5 calories per serving, the makers are allowed to market it as zero. For the life of me I don't know why. So one serving may have 4 calories, 2 would have 8, 3 would have 12, etc. It's still a minuscule amount, but over time does add up.
What you mean is, one serving has zero calories but two or three servings have 10 calories...but if you have three one serving portions you've consumed no calories.
Old 02-23-2012, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockey Monkey View Post
If there are less than 5 calories per serving, the makers are allowed to market it as zero. For the life of me I don't know why. So one serving may have 4 calories, 2 would have 8, 3 would have 12, etc. It's still a minuscule amount, but over time does add up.
The same thing is allowed with trans fat, which can be listed as "0 grams" (prominently on the front label) when it has partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient; it is thought that there is no safe level of this kind of trans fat (I say this kind because meat and milk from ruminants, like cows, contains a natural trans fat which has health benefits), so you want to minimize consumption.
Old 02-23-2012, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
This would also explain why, according to the nutritional information on cereal boxes, the same milk aquires more calories when added to some varieties of cereal than to others.
Do they specify that it's the same variety of milk? Because I've noticed that there are differences in the nutritional information on the side of the milk cartons - not just the categories that you'd expect to have differences, (skim, 1%, 2%, whole homogenized, etcetera.)

One of the brands of lactose-free 1% at my neighborhood store lists 90 calories per cup, another 110. I wonder if it's because they leave different amounts of sugars behind.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockey Monkey View Post
If there are less than 5 calories per serving, the makers are allowed to market it as zero. For the life of me I don't know why. So one serving may have 4 calories, 2 would have 8, 3 would have 12, etc. It's still a minuscule amount, but over time does add up.
I believe this is an example of successful lobbying.
Old 02-23-2012, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
Many other listed ingredients also have some caloric value. Pectin is a plant protein. Brominated vegetable oil is fat. Gum arabic has both carbohydrates and protein.
Citric acid will have calories too: about as many as in the same weight as sugar, I should think.

Last edited by njtt; 02-23-2012 at 03:32 PM.
Old 02-23-2012, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Ambivalid View Post
I believe this is an example of successful lobbying.
It's also an example of the fact that calorimetry is an inexact process and subject to rounding errors.
Old 02-23-2012, 07:08 PM
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I just checked the caloric values of some other foods, and many of them are rounded to the nearest five. And obviously, manufacturers can adjust the calories by redefining the serving size.
Old 02-23-2012, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by friedo View Post
It's also an example of the fact that calorimetry is an inexact process and subject to rounding errors.
As an aside here, do they (whoever 'they' are for our purposes) use bomb calorimeters for determining how many calories food products have?
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