Energy Drinks are to Diet Soda what Smoking Marijuana is to Hard Core Drug use... they are both gateways.
Even up to a year ago, if you told me that I would willingly be drinking Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi on a regular basis I would have farted on you and told you to smell what I think of what you just told me.
Today I sit here with a cold can of Diet Pepsi at my side, ready and willing to finish it off. How did I get here? What horrible hypnotic brainwashing process did the major soda companies put me through that would make me accept the diet versions of their far superior(only Coke... regular Pepsi I only drink at Angels games because it is all they have) original colas?
It wasn't the efforts of the soda companies that did it. It was the promise of no calories to threaten my recent weight loss and a shot of caffeine that could lift my heavy eyes from closing the curtain on my day about an hour and a half after lunch. I'm no longer working in a situation where the occasional nod off is OK. As a PA for a small production company in Irvine I used to take a nap in my car during my hour long lunch break. Today I work in a production office which needs to be alert from the start to finish of the day. I sit at my desk and answer the phone while I eat my lunch. OK so I'm tired and I don't want to fall asleep at my desk and I don't want to take in a bunch of calories... this is the obvious reason why I would drink a diet soda, right? Not really.
I'm 25 years old. I've developed my taste for certain things. I've gotten past my childish candy eating no veggies McDonalds cheeseburger days and now eat pretty healthy but diet soda hadn't made it into that "healthy" diet. I don't drink coffee and in the recent past if I really needed a pick me up I'd drink a Coke. But something happened about a year ago while purchasing soda for the MBA company fridge. I bought a case of Coke Zero. My intentions were to try the new soda and see if it was anything like real Coke. What I found was that it was 1000 times better than Diet Coke and almost kinda like real Coke. From then on I switched to Coke Zero whenever I needed a pick me up at work.
The next event in the chain leading to Diet drinks came when I moved to Hollywood. I was working in Irvine down in Orange County but living up in Hollywood. This meant waking up at 6:00 AM every morning, driving through crap traffic, getting off work around 6:00 PM in OC and driving to LA in more crap traffic. I also started working for MLB.COM at Angels Stadium after work in OC that would keep me down there until 10:00 or 11:00 PM. These long days and long distance driving caused me to seek something more powerful than a can of Coke Zero to keep me up for the drive. I began to dabble in sugar free energy drinks. With hardly any calories and TONS OF KICK Sugar Free Rockstar became my nasty diet pick me up soda of choice. If that wasn't available then I could drink two sugar free Red Bulls(same thing as the Rockstar but it comes in smaller cans). These energy drinks are the ultimate bad tasting crappy drinks ever but they were essential to my survival. At this point I had lowered my tastebuds' standards to just above urine. Seriously these drinks taste almost that bad.
So now go back to my production office job and make my only caffeinated choices between regular Coke and Diet Coke/Pepsi? I choose Diet Coke/Pepsi and it's not half bad.