Is coke zero bad for you | The answer may surprise you

Today’s modern life has made people search for healthy alternatives for eatables. Some of them are very helpful and taste the same as their classic versions do. However, some have side effects that cannot be ignored. 

One such case is Coke Zero. It was brought to the market as a substitute for the Coca-Cola classic that is a sugar-sweetened beverage. Without any change in signature flavor, Coke Zero contains no sugar and zero calories.

To keep the same taste without using sugar, artificial sweeteners are used. These artificial sweeteners and a few other ingredients are not health-promoting. This article will let you know whether Coke Zero is a healthier choice or not.


Coke Zero, rebranded in 2017 and officially renamed as Coca-Cola zero sugar. Introduced for those trying to reduce their daily sugar intake and lose weight as it contains zero calories.

However, it is not nutritious too. A regular can of 354-ml can of Coke Zero contains zero-gram calories, fat, sugar, and protein, respectively. Except for 2% of sodium and 2% of the potassium, that is a negligible amount. 

Ingredients of Coke Zero are:

  • Carbonated water
  • Caramel color
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Aspartame
  • Potassium benzoate
  • Natural flavors
  • Potassium citrate
  • Acesulfame potassium

CaffeineIngredients are listed from top to bottom based on volume, as Carbonated water with the highest volume is on top, and Caffeine with the lowest volume is at the bottom.

What’s wrong?

As discussed earlier, Coke Zero contains no sugar. Then how its taste is the same? The answer is Artificial Sweeteners. Aspartame and Acesulfame potassium are used to sweeten Coke Zero.

Artificial sweeteners have controversial health effects. Some studies have revealed artificial sweeteners playing a part in the development of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Other than these, two major ingredients, Phosphoric acid, and Caramel color, are not health-friendly also.

According to the study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the use of drinks that contain phosphoric acid increase the risk of kidney disease and may lead to an increase in the amount of acid in the blood.

Caramel color comprises of ammonium compounds. On its break down, 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI is formed. According to a report in PLoS One in 2015, regular exposure to this substance increases the risk of cancer.

Manufacturers of these drinks agreed to use reformulated caramel coloring containing no 4-MEI. In this regard, Coca-Cola also noted on its website about reducing the levels of 4-MEI but still containing a small amount.

Coke zero vs Diet coke:

Diet coke, launched in 1983, was the Coca-Cola company’s first sugar-free product. Coke Zero was produced in 2006 for Coca-Cola classic lovers who wanted to reduce sugar intake, as discussed earlier.  

With almost everything in common, there are just two distinctions between these drinks.

One difference is their taste, as Coke zero tastes more like regular Coke, and Diet coke has its own lighter taste.

Coke zero featuring sodium citrate and Diet coke containing citric acid is the other difference.

On its website, Coca-Cola company explained that “Coke Zero or Coca-Cola no sugar tastes and appears like Coca-Cola classic and on the other hand Diet coke has its own blend having a lighter taste.

Does Coke zero cause diabetes?

Coke Zero is sugar-free, but the sugar substitutes used are not health-promoting. It is not a healthy alternative for people concerned with diabetes. However, researches on the effects of these are controversial.

A 14-year study in 66,118 women revealed that there was an association between drinks that contain artificial sweeteners and type 2 diabetes.

Switching to diet soda does not reduce the risk of diabetes, as it was suggested by a study in 2,019 people that showed a link between type 2 diabetes and both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks.

However, some other studies proved opposing outcomes.

No association between Diet soda intake and risk of diabetes was proved in a 14-year study in 1,685 middle-aged adults. 

Is Coke zero fattening?

Coke zero and artificially sweetened drinks affect weight loss or not is one the most asked question by the consumers. In fact, most of the consumers switch from regular Coke to Coke zero because they want to reduce their weight.

 Researches have not clearly answered this question as some have proved that Coke zero has negative effects, while some have shown no relation between Coke zero and obesity.

According to an 8-year observational study, people who drank 21 artificially sweetened drinks per week have a high risk of obesity and overweight as compared to people who do not drink these beverages.

This same study revealed that people who consumed these beverages had lower calorie intake despite increased weight. This also hints that artificial sweeteners have influences on the body other than just calorie intake.

Albeit of this evidence, some studies have proved these beverages have no effect or even beneficial for those who want to lose weight.

According to a 12-week weight-loss study, people who consumed artificially sweetened beverages lost 13 pounds, whereas people who drank water lost 9 pounds.

Another 6-month randomized study showed that people who gave up using caloric beverages and consumed diet beverages had a moderate weight loss of 2% – 2.5% of their body.

Coke zero and tooth erosion:

Coke zero and regular Coke are both associated with increased tooth erosion risk. The reason is both have phosphoric acid.

A study has proved that phosphoric acid causes mild enamel and tooth erosion. One other study proves that Coca- Cola light, which differs from Coke zero because it contains citric acid, effects teeth more. 

Indirectly this proves that citric acid affects teeth more than phosphoric acid. However, Coca- Cola light has less erosive effects than many other beverages that contain citric acid in larger quantities.

Coke zero or Regular Coke?

Ideally, none of the two should be consumed on a regular basis. Its not only the health effects of Coke zero that is concerning. Although regular Coke does not contain artificial sweeteners, it still contains high fructose corn syrup.

Obesity, Metabolic syndrome, Diabetes, Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are proven negative health effects of high fructose corn syrup.

Other studies have revealed that health risks related to regular Coke may be due to high fructose corn syrup. It is better to avoid these doubts and chose water.

Some other associated health issues:

Some studies have proved that Coke zero can alter your gut microbiome, resulting in poor blood sugar control.

Another study proved the association of diet coke and lowered bone mineral density of 3.7 – 5.4% in people who had daily consumption of these beverages. Thus, proving an increased osteoporosis risk.

An increased risk of heart diseases in a woman with no prior history of heart diseases and a link between artificially sweetened beverages was also found in a study.

Those who consumed 7 glasses of artificially sweetened soda per week have an increased risk of kidney diseases notes other research.


Coke zero does not increase your nutritional intake as it has zero nutritional value but the health effects of Coke zero are still conflicting.

For those who want to reduce their sugar intake and reduce health effects without any doubt, should opt for other healthier drinks like green tea, black coffee, fruit-infused water and drinks that have proven low sugar content. 

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