Diet Coke was unveiled nearly four decades ago in 1982 and has become one of the most popular products of the world’s largest soda maker. The famous diet soda has zero calories and no white sugar like original Coke. This makes many people think the beverage is healthy. However, effects of diet coke include negative effects on teeth, stomach, weight, etc.
It’s important to know about the possible effects of drinking the diet soda, so you can choose wisely when picking beverages to drink. Fun Fact: Coca-Cola is the world’s biggest beverage company and earned about $32 billion in net revenue during 2018.
It’s no secret that fizzy drinks aren’t too healthy. They’re often loaded with lots of unhealthy ingredients like carbonated water, corn syrup, and artificial colors/sweeteners. It might seem like swapping out sugar and swapping in aspartame would make the drink much healthier.
Sugar can cause many health issues like blood sugar spikes and type-2 diabetes. However, it turns out artificial sweeteners are far from healthy. In addition, a 12-oz can of Coke has 140 calories while a Diet Coke has 0-calories. The problem is these are still empty calories and the drink is still chock-full of many unhealthy ingredients that can trigger health conditions.
What Is Diet Coke?
Today Coca-Cola produces a wide range of products including original Coke, Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero. Diet Coke has been around for 35+ years and was introduced back in 1982. It’s a sugar-free and zero-calorie soda that was first available in the US in August of that year.
Fun Fact: Diet Coke was the first new Coca-Cola product launched since the original Coke hit the market nearly a century earlier in 1886. This wasn’t the soda company’s first diet soda. Tab was unveiled by Coca-Cola about two decades earlier in 1963.
Pepsi launched Diet Pepsi one year later. The sugar-free drink became popular and likely encouraged Coke to launch a diet soda under the Coke brand. However, Diet Coke had a totally different formula than the original Coke.
The company later launched drinks that were close to the original formula. They included Coke C2 (2004), which has half the carbs as the original Coke. Then the company introduced Coke Zero (2005), which was a sugar-free version of regular Coke.
Diet Coke has used various artificial sweeteners over the years. This originally included aspartame and saccharin. The company later switched its formula to 100% NutraSweet, which only included aspartame. Some Diet Coke still includes saccharin to boost the product’s shelf life.
Since then Coke has also unveiled a new variant known as Diet Coke with Splenda. This product wasn’t very popular and some distributes ceased supplying this product.
Diet Coke’s target market includes people who are on weight-loss diets. This is due to the product containing zero calories. Original Coke has 140 calories, which is 7% of a 2,000-calorie diet. One issue is these are “empty calories” with no nutritional value.
The product is also popular among diabetics who want to avoid sugar spikes from white sugar. Refined grains like white sugar/flour/rice cause this effect.
What Are the Effects of Diet Coke?
Many people wrongly assume that Diet Coke is “healthy” because it has no refined sugar or calories. However, here’s how they can affect your body in various ways:
While diet sodas like Diet Coke have 0 calories, they have about that much nutrition. For example, besides having no sugar there’s also no protein or fat and sodium (40 mg). Unlike other diet sodas, Diet Coke doesn’t have calories or sugar. However, that doesn’t make it as healthy as beverages like water, brewed coffee, green tea, or homemade fruit/vegetable juice.
Diet sodas usually include several unhealthy ingredients including:
Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners are made with ingredients that don’t exist in the natural world. They can also be up to 13,000x sweeter vs regular sugar.
Caffeine: Diet Coke has lots of caffeine (46 mg) which is actually 12 mg more than Diet Pepsi.
Preservatives: Various artificial preservatives are used to extend the shelf life of diet sodas.
Flavors: different kinds of artificial flavors are added to sodas. For example, Coca-Cola also offers flavored beverages like Diet Cherry Coke.
Carbonated water: This is made by adding carbon dioxide to water.
Colors: Various colors are added to regular/diet sodas.
Acids: Various kinds of acids like citric and phosphoric acid are added to sodas to add a tart taste. They also wear down tooth enamel.
3. Weight Loss
Studies show that drinking high amounts of diet sodas and their artificial sweeteners could actually boost a person’s risk of obesity. In fact, some studies show diet sodas can trigger hunger hormones, which could cause you to eat more and gain weight.
Studies show that diet sodas might increase the risk of various diseases including heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and kidney disease. It might also cause other conditions including:
- Acid reflux
- Tooth decay
- Fatty liver
- Bone density
- Gut bacteria
Alternatives to Diet Sodas
1. Brewed Coffee
Make sure to go with basic brewed coffee or plain instant coffee. Avoid varieties like 3-in-1 with white sugar and non-dairy creamer. Black coffee can provide several benefits like antioxidants. Studies show that drinking 4-6 cups of coffee a day can provide several health benefits.
2. Herbal/Green Tea
Healthy teas include green tea and herbal teas. It’s best to avoid adding sugar because it can reduce health benefits. Herbal teas are high in plant-based nutrients known as polyphenols. They’re also sky-high in antioxidants like black coffee, which can help to function as a detox. Peppermint, Ginger, and Lemon are some of the many types of natural teas you can pick from.
3. Fruit/Vegetable Juice
The problem with many fruits and veggie drinks on the market is they often contain lots of sugar and salt. The price can also be high. A better option is to invest in a good blender or juicer so you can make DIY veggie and fruit juice.
These juices can be excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants. While juicers remove the ingredient’s pulp you can simply add some back in to get more nutrients/fiber.
Another plus of juicing is it’s a good option if you want to reduce calories or do a juice detox. For example, “green juice” contains ingredients like green leafy vegetables, which are high in nutrients and fiber.
This is easily the best drink you can consume. Fun Fact: Water is the only natural zero-calorie food. While Diet Coke and Coke Zero have no calories they’re not natural or organic drinks so containing no calories doesn’t make the beverages healthy.
Water provides several health benefits. The body is about two-thirds water and the brain is about three-quarters water. This fluid can provide several health benefits including for the blood, joints, muscles, and organs after learning the effects of diet coke.