Coke Zero vs. Diet Coke: Flavor, Nutrition, Benefits, and Downsides

Medically Reviewed on 8/10/2022
Coke Zero vs. Diet Coke: Flavor, Nutrition, Benefits, and Downsides
Learn about the differences between Coke Zero and Diet Coke and which is healthier

Coke is one of the most popular beverages around the globe. However, studies have shown that regular consumption of sodas and other sugary drinks can lead to negative health effects.

That is why sugar-free versions such as Coke Zero and Diet Coke have grown in popularity since they promise less sugar with the same amount of sweetness. 

Learn about the differences between Coke Zero and Diet Coke and which is healthier.

What is the difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke?

Both Coke Zero and Diet Coke are marketed as being free of sugars and calories, but there are a few differences:


The main difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke is the flavor. Coke Zero is nearly identical to Coca-Cola Classic because it uses the same flavor bases.  Diet Coke has a distinct flavor due to its unique combination of flavor bases. 


Coke Zero contains less than Coke Zero and Diet Coke.


Coke Zero contains aspartame and acesulfame potassium as sweeteners, while Diet Coke uses only aspartame.

What are the nutritional facts for Coke Zero and Diet Coke?

Table: Nutritional facts of 8 ounces of Coke Zero vs. Diet Coke
Nutrient Amount in 8 ounces of Coke Zero Amount in 8 ounces of Diet Coke
Calories 0 0
Total fat 0 0
Sodium 1% of DV 33% of DV
Total carbohydrates 0 0
Protein 0 0

**DV = Daily Value

Is One Healthier Than the Other?

Although both Coke Zero and Diet Coke do not contain sugar, one is not necessarily healthier than the other.

Health experts do not recommend drinking soda on regular basis, since soft drinks have no nutritional benefits.

However, if you are trying to lose weight or have diabetes, these sugar-free versions are better than drinking original Coke.

Are Coke Zero and Diet Coke Bad for You?


Aspartame is the artificial sweetener added to both Coke Zero and Diet Coke. Studies have suggested that aspartame may cause headaches or other negative health effects. 

Studies have also suggested that acesulfame potassium, another sweetener, may be carcinogenic. However, more studies are needed.

Phosphoric acid

Phosphoric acid is an inorganic mineral acid used as a preservative in processed foods and beverages such as soda. It not only extends shelf life but also adds some acidity.

Although research on the health effects of phosphoric acid is limited, a study reported a link between phosphoric acid-containing sodas and a decrease of bone mineral density in the hips of the participants.

Another study found that consuming phosphoric acid-containing sodas may increase the amount of acid in the blood, increasing the risk of kidney disease.

Caramel coloring

That trademark caramel-brown hue of Coke is made from ammonium compounds, which degrade to yield 4-methylimidazole or 4-MEI.

One study suggested that one of the dangers of Diet Coke consumption is regular exposure to 4-MEI, which can increase the risk of some forms of cancer

On its website, Coca-Cola claims that it has cut the levels of 4-MEI in its drinks, but that they still contain trace quantities of the substance.

Dental cavities

Soda consumption has been linked to dental cavities and poor bone health. Therefore, it is best to avoid or limit consumption.

Thyroid dysfunction

The fluoride content in soft drinks is associated with thyroid abnormalities. If you have known thyroid diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome, or are pregnant, you should avoid such beverages.


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What are alternatives to soda?

Sparkling water: More and more people have become aware of the health dangers of sodas such as Coke Zero and Diet Coke, leading many to opt for flavored sparkling water instead.

Kombucha: Although its bitter flavor may not be to everyone's taste, kombucha contains little to no sugar and has the added advantage of probiotics, which are believed to aid gut health.

Water infused with fruits and herbs: You can make your own flavored water by simply adding fruits or herbs to your drinking water. Infused water is a great way to enjoy a slightly sweetened beverage without sugar.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/10/2022
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Just How Bad is Diet Soda for You?

Zero calorie cola by COKE ZERO:

Diet cola by DIET COKE: