Drink Diet Coke for Good Health? Not So Much.

image from DietCoke.com

If you think people are hooked on Coke, it seems like Diet Coke has added a new meaning to the word addicted. It’s not hard to find someone who drinks several cans a day. Everyone seems to think that it’s totally fine for your body, since it doesn’t have any calories. In fact, the communications director of Coca-Cola North America is quoted as saying, “Great taste. No calories. Wholesome ingredients. How could you drink too much?”

We’re not sure exactly which wholesome ingredients he’s talking about. If you check out our post about the effects of Coke on your body, you’ll see that several of the negative health aspects of Coke don’t have anything to do with the high-fructose corn syrup it contains. So we broke down the ingredients of Diet Coke, and what they do to your system.

Carbonated water: This can irritate your digestive system, triggering Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Caramel color: According to the Journal of American Medical Association, there’s some evidence that caramel coloring could increase insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.

Aspartame: This chemical sweetener replaces the “bad” high-fructose corn syrup found in regular Coke, but could be bad for you in its own way. There have been studies for years linking aspartame to cancer, and while the FDA has claimed that there’s been thorough testing on the chemical, not everyone is convinced. In 1995, the Department of Health and Human Services submitted a list of aspartame side effects to the FDA, which included headaches, seizures, neurological problems, and abdominal pain, and nausea. Also, when aspartame is ingested, it breaks down into a variety of chemicals, including formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and can also cause abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, and damage to internal organs and the central nervous system.

Phosphoric acid: This ingredient gives Diet Coke a tangy taste. Oh, and it can also be used to remove rust on surfaces. Phosphoric acid has been linked to low bone density in several studies, as well as kidney stones. The phosphoric acid binds with zinc, calcium, and magnesium in your lower intestine, which would be good for your bones, but the caffeine in Diet Coke makes you pee it all out before that happens.

Potassium Benzoate: This preservative keeps your Diet Coke fresh. Coincidentally, it also gives fireworks that annoying whistle.

Citric acid: You know that slightly citrus-y taste you love so much in your Diet Coke? That’s thanks to citric acid. It can ruin your tooth enamel and lead to decay.

Caffeine: Your body absorbs caffeine within 40 minutes, causing your pupils to dilate and your blood pressure to rise. It can also lead to ulcers, since it increases the production of stomach acid.

Share This Post:
    • Matt

      Bummer of a post but interesting all the same.

    • Kevin

      Oh what bull is this?
      You missed out water. It kills people every year from being too prevalent, not having enough, drowns people allsorts. It’s made out of hydrogen which is poisonous etc etc.
      What about air, you get addicted and if you do not get it you die!

    • Adam

      I don’t want to read things that say that this MAY cause this or MAY do that, I want information of which the author is 100% sure of. Thinking is alot different than knowing.

      • Jerome

        Good luck finding anything people are 100% sure of. A Law is just a Theory we haven’t yet disproven, statistics can be made to say anything, the FDA allows companies to do their own research, and no one is going to fund a multi-year large sample group testing each ingredient’s effect on the body.

        Just saying that sometimes “may” is as conclusive as it gets.

    • KC


      It’s not just the patently untrue assertions that make this post amazing (I’m not surprised to see a lack of citations throughout the post, such as the reported “studies for years linking Aspartame to cancer.”

      No, it’s also the misrepresentations. Such as the caramel color bit, where the report you cite specifically deals with only *sugar-sweetened* beverages.

      What a waste. My hope is that someone with a less-scientific mind won’t stumble onto your post and take it at face value, thinking you’re some sort of authority. This is a witch hunt, plain and simple.

    • Z

      It’s so easy to write this kind of thing and the fact is that most people are simply unaware of the effects of diet coke. The most compelling evidence against drinking it for people who are looking to lose weight or be healthy is that it MAY cause an insulin spike and subsequent extra fat storage IF drunk within a certain time frame before or after eating fatty foods. Reduced bone density was shown to actually only affect women, and other things that are listed here might as well be listed for almost every food group.

    • Justin Herrick

      Anyone else read this and then go get a diet coke? I know I did, just made it sound to appetizing.

    • Pete

      I like how citric acid is in there. “It can ruin your tooth enamel and lead to decay” I guess I should stop eating fruit as well, cause you know, my teeth are going to fall out.

    • Rick

      Caffeine is bad for you. Really? I am glad you are spreading the word…..

    • Stos

      To all the naysayers…enjoy your unhealthy life. Ignorance is bliss.

      If it may make you more healthy to not drink this beverage, why wouldn’t you stop?

      You may die if you play outside during a lightning storm. I’ve been outside often during lightning storms, and haven’t died yet. Am I to assume that playing outside in a lightning storm isn’t dangerous?

    • Floyd Mayweather Jr.

      You’re all a bunch of b*tches. Why don’t you dumb fkucs lose weight and be trim. Don’t you hate being ugly, fat, and unattractive? Unlike me?

    • Amber

      I stopped drinking Diet Coke when I worked at the movies. We used it to clean the grease off the hot dog grill. Cuts right through!

    • http://f6ea9rgbo1tmrl1gjcolrt1u2x.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=5T9YKZ6F

      IS GOOODDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Healthy

      Smart think to do especially if u are overweight…

    • C. Stevens

      We all know the best liquid to drink is water.

      Sugar, artificial sweeters, preservatives and additives are bad for you.

    • Jasmin Abdulla

      im a biologist and i personally did research on aspartame. the author needs to specify that you must ingest a copious amount of aspartame for it to become formaldehyde and to it to affect you in such a way. lots of other things have pure formaldehyde, like hair dye. and how about we conclude that all those products are actually in regular coke as well, except for the sweetener. and is sweetener healthier than the 30 grams or more of pure sugar in regular coke? yes it is.

      • Texas Girl

        Ms. Abdulla, surely you understand the chemical processes and thus the issues with artificial sweeteners? Artificial sweetener are anything but healthy! No soda is best.

    • Alex

      This article is nothing more than self-validating fearmongering. As Kevin pointed out, anything can be made to sound bad for you, even WATER. How about common-sense (very rare these days), and stay healthy by tested and true health-creators, i.e., exercise and well-balance diet, which in my opinion, includes moderate treats. Diet or otherwise, you can treat yourself if it makes up a small and prudent percentage of your diet, let’s say 5-10%. Variety is the key, why? because your body is MADE TO RID itself of toxins, in moderation. It has the ability to handle a ‘threshold’ amount of many things … in moderation. Exceptions? cyanide like chemicals which BUILD-UP in the body. We EXCRETE for a reason, diet or sugar-laden, nothing that a follow up of a clear glass of water won’t help pass. Go take a dump, I enjoy mine and I’m as fit as a fiddle. I also eat between 3000 and 6000 calories a day depending on my exercise. Less than 12% body fat. Go for a run, drink lots of water, ENJOY an occassional coke. personal the carbonation makes me belch ;) Life is too short to worry about EVERYTHING. This article is NOISE and serves no purpose but to fearmonger and support it’s a self-validating hypothesis. Coke is bad, here is how it can be bad for you, hence it is bad? Anyone else see a problem with that logic?

    • Juan Grande de nada de kick

      I am gonna drink it till 12/21/12, and if the Mayans were wrong and the world doesn’t end, then i”ll quit. Gotta go get a Coke Zero now to remove the tongue from my cheek ;~}

    • Nutritionist Chris


      Great article on diet coke. I refuse to drink any diet drinks although I know many many people who swear by the drink and can’t think or operate without at least 1 a day. Whether it is addictive or not, that i guess we wont know until some in depth studies are done, but i definatley think the ingredient can’t be good for anyone – although anything in moderation is the key, i always recommend staying away from this stuff where ever possible. Aspartame is something that should be had only in minimal amount where ever possible. For those who have a weak digestive system or bowel problems diet coke or any carbonated artificially sweetened drink is a massive no no. They are bad on there own but when combined reek havoc with your digestive system.
      Yeah water may be boring/ bland for some – try only drinking unsweetened teas and water for 3-4 weeks (they regenerate every approx 3-4 weeks) and you’ll find your tastes buds change and you wont even think of drinking drinks like diet coke ever again.
      For more information on foods to avoid with IBS see http://www.foodstoavoidwithibs.org
      Yeah water and unsweeten

    • Texas Girl

      Wow, don’t be a hater. You don’t have to agree with the writer and if you can disprove any of the statements with evidence, please post away. Soda is bad for you, period. Artificial sweeteners are bad for you (or you can say not good for you). Either way they should not be consumed. Sodium Benzoate and Citric Acid (both found in soda) are a concern when consumed together. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-sodium-benzoate.htm
      So research each of these points and determine if you find the article valid or not. You can discount a point or two but collectively the whole idea is – diet soda is just plain bad for you and that is true.

    • April

      Let be real, diet coke or real coke is bad http://mangoweightloss.weebly.com/

    • Pingback: What Does Drinking a Coke do to your Body? - Standard/ELITE()