Diet Pepsi Max is one of the latest additions to the crowded "diet" cola category. It is a hybrid diet cola and energy drink. In its black and blue understated can (the word "Max" is much larger than either the "Diet Pepsi" brand name or logo), Diet Pepsi Max is "infused with ginseng", and is carrying 46 mg of caffeine per 8 ounces (69 mg per 12 ounce can and 115 mg per 20 ounce bottle). This is nearly twice the caffeine as regular Diet Pepsi (24 mg caffeine per 8 ounces).
As a diet cola, it contains no calories, no sugar, and no carbohydrates. Aspartame is its primary sweetener, but it also contains Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K). This sweetener combination is popular with other diet colas such as Diet Pepsi Jazz and Coke Zero.
From a taste standpoint, Diet Pepsi Max meets my expectations. It is a slightly more bland version of regular Pepsi. In fact, I am unable to distinguish the taste from regular Diet Pepsi. However, I prefer the Splenda/Ace-K combination much better. Pepsi One, for example, tastes much more like regular Pepsi than Diet Pepsi, and is worth the 1 calorie tradeoff.
From an energy standpoint, I believe that Diet Pepsi Max is right on target. While it contains less caffeine than a moderately strong cup of coffee (a cup of drip brewed has about 115 mg of caffeine). Diet Pepsi Max does contains more caffeine per 12 ounce can than high calorie soft drinks such as Mountain Dew (55 mg), but still less caffeine than you would find in popular energy drinks such as Red Bull (an 8.4 ounce serving of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine). However, that 8.4 ounce Red Bull is going to set you back about $2.00 (about $0.025 per mg of caffeine) and a 20 ounce Diet Pepsi Max will cost you about $1.30 (about $0.01 per mg of caffeine). So there is definitely an advantage on a cost per mg of caffeine for Diet Pepsi Max.
Diet Pepsi Max is available in 12 ounce cans, 20 ounce bottles and 2 liter bottles, so there is a portion size for everyone. However, at zero calories, sugar and carbs, there is little (if any) nutritional value, but that is the point of drinking a diet cola, isn't it?
So, what is the final verdict of this "Invigorating Cola"? If you want an extra kick during the day and don't want an true "energy" drink or cup of coffee, reach for Diet Pepsi Max.