The history of artificial sweeteners is a lot longer than I realized. For example, I had no idea saccharin (the ORIGINAL sugar substitute) dated back more than 100 years.

And I REALLY had no idea about the admittedly disgusting way it was discovered.

Saveur.com reveals that, way back in 1897, a Johns Hopkins University researcher forgot to wash his hands after looking into uses for coal tar derivatives. He licked his fingers and tasted something sweet. Next thing you know, there was saccharin which, according to the site, was used extensively long before it was being advertised as being employed as an artificial sweetener.

When diet sodas came into popularity in the 1950s, we all began drinking cyclamate. Honestly, I've never heard of this sweetener, but it's what Sweet n Low was (later it was saccharin-based) and it's what was used to sweeten Diet Pepsi and TaB.

By the time Dad started bringing diet beverages into the house after his surgery in 1977, cyclamate had disappeared and had been replaced by saccharin.

And saccharin's repulsive.

But no, my dad loved TaB. Or so he said. Sometimes I honestly believe he'd pretend to like something so we'd try it and he'd get a kick out of the face we'd make.

For example, we were visiting family out west one year, and my aunt and uncle had loaded up their pantry with more cans of Diet Shasta than you can shake a stick at. And Shasta brand sodas come in a HUGE variety of flavors.

He found one in that pantry called...are you ready for this...Shasta Diet Chocolate Mint Soda. NONE of those words should be combined.

He took a big old drink of it and just went on and on and swore we'd love and we just had to try it. And, like my sister, I said, "There is no way that tastes good; you are making it up." Diet. Chocolate. Mint. Soda.

Come on.

So if he was serious, I guess, sure, he wouldn't have any problem with TaB. And he didn't. And if he were alive today, he'd be disappointed with the news that Coca-Cola has decided to stop manufacturing its flagship diet drink due to underperformance, according to CNNBusiness. The soft drink giant labels it a "zombie" brand.

Honestly, since it's been a very long time since I've seen ANYONE drink a Tab, there was a time I thought it had already been discontinued.

Nobody I know likes it.

I guess this means this news probably won't register on "nobody I know's" radar.

Goodbye, Tab. I'm sorry we never got along.

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