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.