What’s In My Food: Diet Coke Ingredients Explained
Reading the ingredient list on your food label and knowing what they are, are two different things. For example: Do you know what the ingredients BHT, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, blue 1, and phosphoric acid are? Well you should, since you are consuming them on a daily basis. One's use is banned in restaurants. Another is mined from the earth. And the Other two are made from petroleum.
Can you imagine what these ingredients are doing to your body? Well don't imagine. Know. Educate yourself. Read on to learn exactly what your food is made of, and what it’s doing to your health.
In all products, ingredients must be listed according to their relative weight. The listing of each ingredient is in a descending order of predominance.
Diet Coke’s ingredients are: Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate (to protect taste), natural flavors, citric acid, caffeine.
1. Carbonated Water: Plain water into which carbon dioxide gas has been dissolved.
Health effects: Linked to tooth decay. May reduce fertility. Suspected teratogen (any agent that interferes with normal embryonic development).
2. Caramel Color: Brown food coloring and flavoring made by heating a sugar, usually corn syrup. May be processed with ammonia and sulfur to intensify color.
Health effects: May contain ammonium compounds. May affect stomach (gastrointestinal problems), liver, and cause hyperactivity. Caramel color produced with ammonia has been associated with blood toxicity in animals. Associated with reduced white cells and lymphocyte counts.
3. Aspartame: Artificial sweetener. Made from aspartic acid and phenylalanine.
Health effects: Studies link it to cancer in rats. May cause neurological and behavioral issues. Reported symptoms include irritability, headaches, insomnia, hyperactivity, seizures, memory loss, migraines, depression, vision problems, memory loss. Should be avoided by those with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria.
4. Phosphoric Acid: A colorless, odorless solution made from phosphate rock (not a food).
Health effects: May lead to calcium loss in bones and tooth erosion. Eye, skin, throat, nose, and respiratory irritant. Can cause osteoporosis. Linked to kidney damage and kidney stones.
*A corrosive, used to remove rust.
5. Potassium Benzoate: A preservative. Potassium salt of benzoic acid. Benzoic acid is synthesized commercially from toluene. Toluene is produced in the gasoline making process and the making of coke (carbon fuel produced by distillation of coal) from coal. Therefore, potassium benzoate is a petroleum or coal tar derivative.
Health effects: Asthma, hives, eczema. Caution advised if aspirin sensitive.
Benzene, a known cancer-causing agent, can form in soft drinks when sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid (vitamin c, commonly added to fortify soft drinks) are mixed.
6. Natural flavors: Any flavor not chemically derived. Obtained by physical processes from plants or animals. Made to provide flavor to a food rather than nutritional value. May contain MSG.
Health effects: Unknown.Different foods use different natural flavors and processes. Naturally derived ingredients may be altered, rendered unsafe. It should be noted that the use of the word “natural flavors” is often used to mask the use of harmful, naturally derived flavors.
7. Citric acid: A weak organic acid used as a flavoring agent and a preservative. Extracted from citrus fruits or made by fermentation of yeast or mold. May contain MSG. May be genetically modified.
Health effects: If MSG sensitive, may provoke symptoms.
8. Caffeine: A bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that is a psychoactive stimulant drug.
Health effects: Psychoactive, addictive. May cause headaches/migraines, heart disease, depression. Causes birth defects in rats. Can cross the placental barrier. Inhibits fetal growth. Women who consume the amount of caffeine in one and a half to three cups of coffee may nearly double their risk of miscarriage.
Now you know the facts. You know what you are consuming, and can make an informed decision.