When it comes to carbonated beverages, Diet Coke has always be the first choice among health-conscious consumers. The sugar content in Diet Coke is nil, making it a better alternative to regular Coke. Its lower calorie count too appears to make it a wiser pick. However, replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners like aspartame has not gone down well with some health experts. The inclusion of chemical preservatives like phosphoric acid and potassium benzoate is also a cause for concern. No wonder the beverage is often referred to as a ‘chemical cocktail’. Let’s put all assumptions to rest, and check out the ingredients of Diet Coke, along with its nutrition and calorie content.
A 330 ml serving of Diet Coke provides around 42 mg of caffeine. The increased alertness after drinking Diet Coke is due to the presence of this caffeine. This is slightly higher when compared to other beverage brands that are available in the same size. For instance, 354 ml Diet Pepsi contains around 32 mg of caffeine. However, in case you are sensitive to caffeine intake, you can always choose the caffeine-free formulation of Diet Coke.
Preservatives are added to protect the beverages from deterioration caused by micro-organisms like bacteria and fungi. In the case of Diet Coke, the preservatives that keep the beverage safe from microbial effects are phosphoric acid, citric acid, and potassium benzoate. However, this phosphoric acid can be damaging to bone health, as it draws out calcium from the bones, eventually making them weak and brittle.
Sugar is not added to elicit a ‘sweet’ flavor. The sweet taste of Diet Coke comes from aspartame, an artificial sweetener. Aspartame is so sweet (200 times sweeter than sugar) that infinitesimally tiny amounts is added to emulate the sweetness of sugar. However, it is this addition of aspartame that has courted lot of criticism among health experts. Although approved by the FDA, studies have linked long-term use of aspartame to increased risk of a wide range of medical conditions, including seizures, birth defects, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems.
Nutrition depends on which formulation of Diet Coke you are consuming. The regular Diet Coke is a nutritional failure, as it does not contain any vitamins or minerals. So, having a can of regular Diet Coke is like filling your stomach with empty calories. However, in case you opt for the new formulation, known as ‘Diet Coca-Cola Plus’ or Coca-Cola Light Plus, you won’t be disappointed. This new formulation of Diet Coke launched in 2007 is added with vitamins B3, B12, and C. Another variant of Diet Coke Plus is fortified with different ingredients, namely antioxidants, green tea, and vitamin C.
The calories in Diet Coke are substantially less as compared to regular Coke. For instance, a 150 ml can contains around 0.5 calories (2.092 kilojoules). Whereas, the same amount of regular Coke contains a whopping 63 calories (263.592 kilojoules). This is the reason why it has become so popular among weight watchers.