Choosing a diet soda over regular won’t lead to hard abs — and you shouldn’t expect it to, a new ruling says.
A Federal appeals court ruled Monday that the makers of Diet Dr. Pepper are not misleading consumers by using the word “diet” in the soft drink’s title, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which made that decision, also tossed out litigant Shana Becerra’s 2017 claim against Diet Coke last week, in which she alleged she’d been consuming that product for more than a dozen years without getting the results she wanted. Becerra reportedly hoped to file a class action suit on behalf of all diet soda drinkers who felt deceived.
Judge Jay Bybee announced the court’s unanimous decision that “diet” drinks need only to be less fattening than their more caloric counterparts.
“While ‘diet,’ as a noun, means a plan to lose weight, the word used as an adjective — as in ‘diet soft drink’ — carries a dictionary definition of a product with fewer or no calories,” Bybee ruled.
The judge further stated “no reasonable consumer” would conclude that a soft drink promoted by ads using the word “diet” and featuring thin models would alone serve as a weight-loss tool.
Becerra’s lawsuit also alleged that Aspartame, an artificial sweetener in diet sodas, can lead to weight gain. That claim, which was rejected by a different court in August of 2018, was not considered by the Ninth Circuit, which deemed that point moot since the false advertising claim against soda makers was being thrown out completely.
A lawyer for Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Inc. reportedly expressed satisfaction that the court "recognized that the law and common sense are on the same side.”