Diet Tonic

diet tonic
Diet Tonic – generic store brand

For well over 15 years now, one of my go to drinks at the bar is a gin and tonic, preferably made with Bombay Sapphire. I also like vodka tonics as well when I’ve had other vodka drinks and want to keep it classy. And with tonic, different bars have different varieties but for the most part, they are regular tonic. But last year, I was told my glucose level was higher than normal. I still wanted my gin and tonics, but didn’t want to cut back. So I switched to diet tonic. My wife’s brother switched to diet tonic some years back and others I drink with have as well. So I figured, what the hell, I can get used to it.

But what are the differences between regular tonic and diet tonic? Over the last 8 months, I’ve made some tasteful and tasteless conclusions. Follow me down the diet spout.


Yes, diet tonic has zero calories. Regular tonic contains about 100 calories per serving [8 oz], so there’s an obvious advantage switching to the diet version when mixing with gin or vodka and planning to drink several in a night. Less calories means the number of drinks I have in one sitting – about 3 – is less overall daily calorie intake. Also, there’s no sugar, so my glucose concern gets reduced.

Health Issues

But diet tonic is not all that in other areas. There are health disadvantages of consuming diet carbonated mixers. According to studies, various problems like kidney damage, weight gain and getting drunker quicker [well, I don’t know if that last one is all that bad] come with regular consumption. Sounds like some areas of caution to be aware of.


Let’s face it, diet sodas and mixers in general have a different taste to them. No matter what soda companies invent next, unless they are using High Fructose Corn Syrup [HFCS], refined sugar or cane sugar to sweeten their beverages, any other kind of sweetener is going to affect the taste buds.

Mixing your gin and tonics or vodka tonics with the diet variety changes the taste. Adding more lime does help some, but there’s a certain mixture of sweet with the alcohol when using regular tonic. I guess over time, you could get used to it, but if you are like me and have gin and tonics in multiple bars, restaurants and homes, you want some consistency.

And for me, the consistency comes in regular tonic. While I’ve made my best attempt to like diet tonic, it’s just not happening. And I don’t want to get used to my drinks at home being that much different than my drinks at other bars and watering holes. So even with those glucose concerns, I’m going back to my regular tonic. Perhaps I can find a reduced sugar tonic in a specialty brand someday and give it a proper round of tasting.


What say you, the drinkers of the world? Do you have a preference? And if so, what are your thoughts on diet vs. regular tonic? Comment away below.


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