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This vs that: Coke

Healthy Food Guide takes a look at the differences between standard Coca-Cola, Coke Life, Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) have been linked to being overweight and obese. Because they’re not filling it’s easy to drink lots of kilojoules. Also, carbonated drinks, even soda water, are slightly acidic so they’re not that good for teeth. Add a pile of sugar and they’re even worse. It’s no surprise then that those who drink lots of SSBs can have serious dental problems and sugary drinks in sipper bottles can destroy children’s teeth. Having said that, many of us enjoy the occasional fizzy drink so if you’re going to have one, what’s the best option? We’ve compared 600ml bottles, labelled as one serve.

How much caffeine?

Standard Coca-Cola has 60mg caffeine in a 600ml bottle – the others all have 78mg. A shot of espresso has around 115mg.

Sugars

  • Standard: 64g (16 teaspoons)
  • Life: 40g (10 teaspoons)
  • Diet: 0g
  • Zero: 0g

It’s easy to see why SSBs are going out of favour — they contain so much sugar! Hence the introduction of Coke Life with 63 per cent of the sugar of standard Coke and with stevia added for sweetness. But any way you look at it, that’s still a lot of sugar. Diet and Zero both contain the sweeteners acesulphame potassium (950) and aspartame (951). Despite the hype around artificial sweeteners, these are both quite safe.

Energy

  • Standard: 1080kJ
  • Life: 685kJ
  • Diet: 9kJ
  • Zero: 8.4kJ

Winner

If you choose to drink fizzy drinks we recommend those with no sugar such as Diet Coke or Coke Zero (in moderation!). And remember, there are much smaller cans and bottles available.

First published: Nov 2015
Last updated: April 3 2017
Last science review: October 10 2016



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