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Diet Soda Compared To Zero Calorie Soda

Updated on October 14, 2012
Diet Coke and Coke Zero side by side.
Diet Coke and Coke Zero side by side. | Source

Which do you prefer; Diet soda or Zero Calorie soda?

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Recently, I went on a diet and was able to lose a decent amount of weight using a few tips and tricks I figured over the years.

One of the things that really helped me was drinking zero calorie soda. It has no sugar or calories and for most of the brands out there, they have 3 percent or less of sodium. It really helped the cravings I had for something sweet. It allowed me to sort of “trick” my mind and body into believing I wasn’t on the harsh crash diet as I was (trying to get through the day with 1000 to 1200 calories a day is very difficult when you have to measure out and weight all you food, while trying to refrain from any cookies, cakes, sweets or enough more than one cup of coffee with cream and sugar; trying to switch to tea is even harder because it doesn’t have the “kick” coffee has).

Personally, for me, finding Zero calorie soda was a godsend. My generation (Gen X) is really just a bunch of big kids who find it hard to give up our soda and candy. However; with national obesity on the rise (or at least a huge issue now) it’s important for all of us to try to take better care of ourselves.

In the last year or so, there has been lots of buzz about the dangers of Diet Soda (heart attacks and what not), but never anything on Zero Calorie soda. There is a similarity between the two in that they both have no calories in them.

Diet Mountain Dew verses to Raley's (Nob Hill) generic zero calorie soda would not be a equal comparison.
Diet Mountain Dew verses to Raley's (Nob Hill) generic zero calorie soda would not be a equal comparison. | Source

I recently bought a 2 liter of Diet Mountain Dew, because my favorite soda is Mountain Dew but with 170 calories per serving I refuse to drink (I haven’t drank “regular” soda in over a year (I stick with the zero calorie soda (either the generic kind or Coke Zero). But I noticed that the Diet Mountain Dew had, apparently, more of a diuretic in it.

I had always wondered why the “NO DIET SODA” talk was only about the diet soda and not the zero calorie stuff. They both have the similar nutritional facts listed on the bottle. So, I figured I would take a closer look at each of the sodas and see if I could figure out what the main difference (if any) was between these two soda types.

For this overview, I’ll be using Diet Coca Cola and Coke Zero. This way I can see the two drinks (both made by the same company, and both zero calories) which are essentially the same drink--Coke.

Diet Coca-Cola (2 liter)
Diet Coca-Cola (2 liter) | Source

Diet Soda

(Diet Coke / Coca-Cola)

1. Nutritional facts: (zero amounts of calories, sugar, fat, cholesterol, protein, total carbohydrates,)

a. Sodium: 40mg = 2 percent daily value of 2000 daily calories diet

2. Ingredients:

a. Carbonated water

b. Caramel color

c. Aspartame

d. Phosphoric Acid

e. Potassium benzoate (to protect taste)

f. Natural Flavors

g. Citric Acid

h. Caffeine (46 mg for every 12 fluid ounce)


Contains phenylalanine.

Coke Zero (2 liter)
Coke Zero (2 liter) | Source

Zero-Calorie Soda

(Coke Zero / Coca Cola)

1. Nutritional facts: (zero amounts of calories, sugar, fat, cholesterol, protein, total carbohydrates,)

a. Sodium 40mg = 2 percent daily value based on 2000 calorie diet

2. Ingredients:

a. Carbonated water

b. Caramel color

c. Phosphoric acid

d. Aspartame

e. Potassium benzoate (to protect taste)

f. Natural flavors

g. Potassium citrate

h. Acesulfame potassium

i. Caffeine (34 mg for every fluid ounce)


Contains phenylalanine.

Overview Comparison

1. Diet Coke: The artificial flavoring in diet sodas is said to be the reason you can have health problems from drinking the diet soda. Apparently, your liver and kidney have a harder time processing and filtering the soda.

2. Coke Zero: Zero calorie soda boasts a "same great taste without the calories". This statement is close to accurate, but you can still taste the difference between this and regular. However; there is a huge taste difference between this stuff and diet. Diet soda does have a "saccharine" taste to it, while zero calorie just taste like watered down regular soda.

As for the ingredients of both sodas: the only difference is that there is "citric acid" in Diet Coke and "Potassium Citrate and Acesulfame Potassium" in Coke Zero.

1. The Citric Acid is used for that flavoring in the diet, giving it that “tangy” flavor but with no sugar added.

2. Potassium Citrate is a salt derived from citric acid; the Acesulfame Potassium (known as Acesulfame K) is 200 times sweeter than sugar. These two ingredients are most likely use in conjunction with each other to simulate the natural sweet/salty taste of normal soda.

All in all, there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference between these two soft drinks. Same amount of sodium (2 percent; 40mg) and zero calories. However; the Diet coke has 46 mg more caffeine as compared to Coke Zero’s 34 mg of caffeine.


From looking g at these two soft drinks, I can’t find anything that really makes them different from each other (in ingredients or nutrition). They both have the same basic ingredients, except that one (coke zero) is sweeter, but uses two “unnatural” ingredients to make it sweet, while the diet is less “attractive” in flavor, but use only one sweetener.

I can say from personal experience that I’m far more of a Zero Calorie Soda drinker than a Diet Soda drinker (for the taste), but I have had my concerns with drinking it, because it seems that all I’m really drinking is carbonated salt water (since there is nothing else expect sodium in the nutritional area).

I believe that this can lead (along with a restricted diet, such as low on calories, fat, and carbohydrates) to digestive issues: The sodium will add to any dehydration you might experience.You should drink either of these sodas sparingly. Just because they have no calories doesn’t mean they are healthy.

Your body needs fat, sugar, and carbohydrates. So yes, have a diet or zero calories coke when you need a pick-me-up but also drink plenty of water and have a glass of orange juice, apple juice or milk as well. A well balance diet is the best; especially if you want you to lose weight and be healthy.


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    • Edgar Arkham profile image

      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      Thank you for reading!

    • KimmiS profile image

      KimmiS 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      Actually a very good hub! I've never understood the mentality behind drinking diet/0 calorie sodas while dieting. But my focus has always been on health and not losing weight so I steer clear of soda altogether. I think that's where a lot of us get lost though. We care about the number on the scale more than how we get there. It was interesting to see the ingredients side by side like that. Proof to me that one is no better than the other!

      Good luck with your diet, and keeping that weight off! Thanks for the interesting hub!