The Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero is More Than Taste

A crisp, refreshing sip of Coke on a hot summer's day is hard to beat. As someone who doesn't really like soda (or pop depending on where you're from), in the heat of summer even I find myself craving an ice-cold Coca-Cola. Even when it's not hot outside, Coke is a popular choice for many, providing the perfect burst of energy and fizz. For soda lovers trying to cut down on sugar or calories, drinking low-calorie, low-sugar Coke is the perfect way to get your fix. The question is, which should you choose between Diet Coke and Coke Zero?

The Beloved Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is the oldest and most popular soft drink in the world, enjoyed in 200 countries worldwide! Frequently compared to Pepsi, this sugary drink was created first and remains the most popular over time. As beloved as Coke is, it isn't the best choice nutrition-wise. It's no secret that soda contains sugar and artificial ingredients, contributing to obesity and other illnesses if consumed regularly.

Because of this, Coke has come out with multiple healthier options, giving people a way to enjoy their favorite soft drink while reducing the negative health effects. In 1983, Coke created Diet Coke, Coca-Cola's first sugar-free cola. This diet soda was followed up with Coca-Cola Zero in 2006, which was then rebranded as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in 2017. This rebrand is almost identical to Coke Zero, the only difference being minor changes to the natural flavor composition.

Both Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke are calorie-free and sugar-free, a significant difference from the 140 calories in a 12 oz regular Coke. If you're wondering how it's possible to create drinks that taste like the real thing without any of the sugar, sugar substitutes are the answer. Both of these low-calorie drinks are sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame K, also called Ace-K.  There are many similarities between these health-conscious coke products, but what really is the difference between Diet Coke and Coke Zero Sugar?

Diet Coke vs Coke Zero

holding a bottle of coca cola no sugar

The most important difference between Diet Coke and Coke Zero Sugar is the taste. Coke Zero is meant to taste like regular Coke, while Diet Coke has its own distinctive flavor. Coke Zero looks and tastes like Coca-Cola classic, but Diet Coke has a lighter taste than the original. For those looking to recreate the experience of drinking a classic Coke, Coke Zero is the way to go. If you want a slightly different blend of flavors, Diet Coke's lighter taste is refreshing and tasty.

Another essential difference between the two is a chemical. While their ingredient lists are basically identical, Diet Coke contains citric acid, while Coke Zero is made with sodium citrate. This difference is probably what accounts for the variance in taste between these two low-calorie soft drinks.

Ingredients of Coke Zero vs Diet Coke

holding a can of diet coke

For a closer look, here are the ingredients of each. Coke Zero contains water, caramel color E150d, phosphoric acid, artificial sweeteners (aspartame, acesulfame K or acesulfame potassium), natural flavorings including caffeine and acidity regulator (sodium citrate). Diet Coke has carbonated water, caramel color E150d, artificial sweeteners (aspartame, acesulfame K or acesulfame potassium), natural flavorings including caffeine, phosphoric acid, and citric acid. It also contains the amino acid phenylalanine, so people with phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare genetic disorder, should avoid it.

Diet Coke and Coke Zero are similar in composition, so you should choose based on which flavor you prefer! Although these low-calorie sodas are preferable to classic Coca-Cola when it comes to health, they are still not considered "healthy" by nutritionists. With lots of artificial sweeteners and no nutritional value, Diet Coke and Coke Zero shouldn't be considered weight loss tools. However, these calorie-free soft drinks are the perfect refreshing choice for a pick-me-up, especially since they both contain caffeine.

Trump and Diet Coke

If he had to choose, President Donald Trump would pick Diet Coke, hands down. According to a report, the previous president drank up to 12 cans of Diet Coke a day. In fact, he had a button on his desk he used to press to receive a fresh can of Diet Coke.

From photos, it looks like President Biden removed the button when he took over office.

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