is diet coke healthier than regular coke

Is Diet Coke Better Than Regular Coke?

Can diet coke be useful for weight loss, or do the health risks out-way the benefits?

Diet drinks that are loaded with low calorie sweeteners (LCS) are thought to be just as bad as their sugary alternatives i.e. “full-fat” coke. (I still don’t get that term) as it’s purely sugar, not fat.

But the question is, is there any evidence to support this and what exactly does the research say about the effects diet coke and LCS (aspartame) have on health and weight management? Because it’s low in calories, can it be used to support weight loss?

Aspartame and leukaemia: What Does the Science Say?

Aspartame has been linked to causing cancer, increasing weight and many other health issues. However, the science doesn’t support this to be the case in humans.

In 2006 the US National Cancer Institute conducted a study of nearly half a million people, comparing those who consumed drinks containing aspartame with those who did not and found aspartame did not increase the risk of leukaemia, lymphoma or brain cancer. 

Is Diet Coke Better Than Coke for Weight Loss

Firstly, in order to lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit, meaning you need to consume less energy than what you expend. For long-term success, you need to do this consistently. Immediately, the thought of swapping a 500ml bottle of Coke (200kcal; 50g sugar) for a 500ml bottle of Diet Coke (4kcal; 0g sugar) is much more appealing to help reduce calories. But what about the huge amounts of aspartame?!

Rogers et al 2016 conducted a meta-analysis that showed the consumption of LCS improved weight loss in adults and children when compared to sugar based alternatives, as part of an ad libitum diet.

Another meta-analysis in 2014 found no association between LCS and body weight or fat mass and may have a positive association with BMI. The authors concluded that “data from RCTs, which provide the highest quality of evidence for examining the potentially causal effects of LCS intake, indicate that substituting LCS options for their regular-calorie versions results in a modest weight loss and maybe a useful dietary tool to improve compliance with weight loss or weight maintenance plans.”

Is Diet Coke Healthier Than Regular Coke

More recently, Higgins et al 2018 in an RCT compared the effects of three daily aspartame doses (0, 350mg or 1050mg) for 12 weeks, to assess the effects each dose has on glycaemic control, appetite and weight management.

Let’s be clear on this…350mg aspartame is the equivalent to drinking 2 x 330ml cans of diet coke. So 1050mg equals 6 cans!!

The study showed that drinking 0, 2, or 6 (330ml) cans of diet coke per day for 12 weeks have no effects on glucose and insulin levels, appetite and ratings of hunger or body weight. HbA1c (a marker of blood glucose levels), total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and liver function were also no different between trials.

Take Home Message: Should You Drink Diet Coke

Just to put this into perspective, this doesn’t make diet coke/soda a miracle cure for losing weight. There’s still absolutely no nutritional value in soda drinks and therefore it is not recommended to start drinking 6 cans of diet coke per day. However, drinking the occasional can every now and again will not cause cancer or diabetes, but it can support weight loss.

– Drink water as much as possible throughout the day, but the odd can of coke will not harm you.

– If you like fizzy drinks but are trying to lose weight, swapping to diet versions can support weight loss.


What happens if you drink Diet Coke everyday?

It depends on how much you drink. Research shows that you need to consume a lot of diet drinks to cause any health issues from artificial sweeteners, so one can a day will not much harm. People who drink a lot of Diet Coke are advised to drink less as this replaces healthier options and may reduce nutrient intake opportunities.

Is diet coke addictive?

There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that Diet Coke is addictive. People who regularly consume it have built these habits into their lifestyle, but stopping this is not the same as stopping smoking or drugs.

What does Diet Coke do to stomach?

Besides feelings of bloating and general discomfort from overconsumption, it is currently unknown the extent of (any) damage caused by Diet Coke, of which a very large intake would be needed. The majority of studies showing any negative health effects are done in rodents, not humans.

Can you drink diet coke on keto diet?

Yes because it is sugar free.

What are health issues related to diet coke?

The artificial sweetener content present in diet coke is linked to cancer, weight gain, high blood pressure and brain tumors, however this has only be shown in rodent studies, not in humans.

Does aspartame affect your heart?

There is some evidence to suggest that women who drink two or more diet drinks a day are at greater risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality.

Does low calorie sweeteners affect your heart?

There is some evidence to suggest that women who drink two or more diet drinks a day are at greater risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality.

What can I drink instead of Diet Coke?

Water is the best thing everybody can drink. However, a sugar free cordial is also an acceptable alternative.

Should diabetic people drink diet coke?

Infrequent small amounts of Diet Coke should be ok for diabetics. However, large intakes are not recommended. This area requires more research, but any diabetic should look to avoid any food or drink that may cause disturbances to their sugar regulation and weight loss strate

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