A woman named “Diot Coke” was born in the Middle Ages.

  • Diet Coke bottles on ice
Diet Coke bottles on ice
Credit: Steve Cukrov/ Alamy Stock Photo

Roughly 600 years before a certain sugar-free soda was created, a newborn entered the world with a most bubbly name: Diot Coke. The woman’s existence was rediscovered many centuries later by George Redmonds of the British National Archives, who happened upon Ms. Coke while researching 14th-century names. His contention is that her first name was a diminutive version of “Dionisia,” which at the time was a rather popular name that evolved into “Denise,” while her last name was a corruption of “Cook.”

Though little is known about Diot — her hopes, her dreams, her beverage of choice — beyond the time and place (Yorkshire, England) in which she lived, plenty is known about the world’s most popular diet soda. Introduced nearly two decades after the initial low-calorie Coca-Cola product, Tab, which first entered the marketplace in 1963, Diet Coke eschewed sugar in favor of artificial sweeteners and originally carried the slogan, “Just for the taste of it, Diet Coke!” Tab was discontinued in 2020 after 57 years of production, but sales figures suggest Diet Coke won’t leave shelves anytime soon.

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