What Is The Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero? Detailed Pros and Cons

What is the difference between diet coke and Coke zero?

Fizzy drinks and beverages such as Coke are regularly consumed by millions of people worldwide. Due to their unique taste and flavour, some people are addicted to such beverages. But their regular consumption has shown various detrimental effects to health, such as an increase in blood sugar, fluorosis which makes them unsuitable for diabetes and people with other chronic disorders. For this purpose, The Coca-Cola Company has also introduced diet coke and Coke zero, but the question arises what the significant difference between them is?

The significant difference between diet coke and coke zero is of taste and packaging only. These drinks are made up of the same sweeteners named aspartame and acesulfame-k and calorie and sugar-free. But Diet Coke is still different in taste as it is made up of a diverse blend of flavours and flavour base. Coke Zero is similar to the Coca-Cola Classic due to the same flavours’ bases used in Coca-Cola Classic. 

Compared to Pepsi, the most popular drink and the oldest in the market is Coca-Cola which is enjoyed in more than 200 countries worldwide. This sugary drink was created first among all the beverages and is still the popular one among all. But, this drink or any other soda or beverage is not regarded as the best choice nutrition-wise due to artificial flavours and ingredients, leading to metabolic disorders like obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero
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History of Diet Coke and Coke Zero:

Due to the increased detrimental effects on health, Coke came out with multiple healthier options in 1983. Diet Coke was launched in the market, which was the first sugar-free cola. Zero Coke later followed it in 2006 with minor changes in natural flavour and composition. Both of these drinks are calorie and sugar-free.

The 12 oz regular coke provides 140 calories, while these drinks are like regular Coke in taste and flavour except the calories. The artificial sugary substitutes sweeten these low-calorie drinks called aspartame and acesulfame K, also known as Ace-K. 

Although low in calories, these drinks can be chosen among the classic Coca-Cola but still are not regarded as healthier options by nutritionists and dietitians. It is so because they are still full of many artificial sweeteners and provide no nutritional value, so in this way, they are not the weight loss tools.

Nutrition Facts of Coke Zero and Diet Coke:

Ingredients of Coke Zero

  • Carbonated water
  • Caramel colour
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Aspartame
  • Potassium benzoate (to protect taste)
  • Natural flavours
  • Potassium citrate 
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Caffeine
Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero
Nutrition facts of coke zero
12 servings per container
Serving Size                                                                                                                                             1 can
Amount per serving
Calories                                                                                                                                                     0
                                                                                                                                                            % Daily Value
Total Fat   0g
Sodium     40mg
Total carbohydrate  0g                                                                                            0%
Total sugars  0g
     Includes 0g Added Sugars                                                                                                                 0%
Protein  0g
Potassium 60mg

Ingredients of Diet Coke:

  • Carbonated water
  • Caramel colour
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Citric acid
  • Aspartame (contains phenylalanine)
  • Flavour
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Caffeine
  • Acesulfame-potassium
Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero

Nutrition facts of Diet Coke:

310 ml
Amount Per Serving
Calories                                                                                                                                                               0
Total Fat                                                                      0gTotal sugars       0g                                    
Sodium                                                                   25mgProtein                                        0.1g                                   
Total Carbohydrates                                                  0gVitamin C                                      0%                                      

Coke Zero:

Coke Zero, rebranded as a Zero Sugar Coca-Cola drink, is marketed as a healthier version of Coca-Cola classic containing heaps of calories and sugars.

It has been marketed that the Coke Zero provides the same appealing flavour and taste just like the Classic Coca-Cola but is low in sugar and zero in calories helping to control the weight. Moreover, this beverage is also regarded as healthier so that people who have diabetes and other metabolic disorders can also consume it safely.

It is estimated that a one can of 354 ml equal to 12-ounce offers:

Sodium2% of the daily value
Potassium2% of the daily value

Common artificial sweeteners in Coke Zero

Coke Zero is enriched with the common artificial sweeteners, including aspartame and acesulfame potassium known as Ace-K as majors. At the same time, the remaining ingredients for providing the unique taste and flavours include carbonated water, caramel colour for the signature appearance of Coca-Cola, food additives, and other natural flavours.


Aspartame has been used as a low-calorie sweetener for over decades now and is known to provide satisfaction to sweet buds of the tongue while lowering added sugars. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar, and even a tiny amount of drops of it added to anything provides an excellent sweet taste. 

Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero

Uses of Aspartame:

Aspartame is blended highly to prepare different sorts of beverages and prepared foods. It is also mixed with other low-flavoured sweeteners to enhance their taste and to remove the bitterness. 

Aspartame is composed of two primary amino acids named aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Aspartame, after ingestion, breaks down into these amino acids and is used for further protein synthesis and metabolism in the body. Aspartame also produces a small amount of methanol after digestion, a natural compound found in fruits and vegetables. 

Aspartame is used in preparing beverages such as diet sodas, light juices, and flavoured waters. It is also used in preparing low-fat flavoured milk and yoghurt, healthy energy bars, sugar-free puddings, gelatins, light-fast ice-creams, and popsicles. It is also used in manufacturing condiments, syrups, sauces, and chewing gums.

Common Brands of Aspartame:

The most common brand of this artificial flavour in the United States is named Equal®. In Europe, Canderel® is the brand of aspartame used highly, and in Asia, Pal Sweet® is used as a familiar brand of aspartame.

Approval of aspartame

Aspartame is approved as a safe sweetener to consume by U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It was regarded as safe to be used in dry foods in 1981 by FDA; FDA confirmed its usage in beverages in 1983 and 1996, it was approved as a general-purpose sweetener. Within the acceptable levels, the consumption of low-calorie sweeteners among adults and children is regarded as safe. 

Acesulfame Potassium

Acesulfame Potassium, also known as Ace-K, is also used as an artificial flavour in the manufacturing of Coke Zero. This sugar substitute is an excellent way to cut back on the sweet stuff and provides man health benefits. 

Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero

Approval of Ace-K:

Ace-K is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is regarded safe to be sued as an artificial sweetener after conduction more than 90 studies. Like aspartame, it is also more than 200 times sweet than sugar, and even its small amount can produce a lot of sweetness in any item.

Uses of Ace-K:

It is used less by the manufacturers and is often combined with other low-sweet artificial flavours and sweeteners. Ace-K is used to manufacture frozen desserts, soda, candies, beverages, ‌baking goods, yoghurt, and sauces. 

Common brands of Ace-K:

Ace-K is sold as Sunett and Sweet One worldwide, and these are its brand names. It is a good sweetener that can be sued in baking and retains its sweetness even at high temperatures. 

Health Benefits:

Management of weight: 

Artificial sweeteners like Ace-K are the best sources to use in food and beverages to maintain weight. A single teaspoon of sugar provides 16 calories, while an average soda drink has about ten teaspoons which means that soda can add about 160 calories upon consumption.

While on other artificial flavours in diet soda and Zero coke provides zero calories which help in weight management.

‌Managing Diabetes: 

Artificial sweeteners zero in calories, and sugar does not raise the blood sugar level like a lump of regular sugar. But, still, it is advisable to ask and consult a doctor if you have diabetes before using any artificial sweetener. 

Managing Dental Health: 

Artificial sweeteners like Ace-K helps in managing and maintain the dental health of a person and do not lead to quick tooth decay. At the same time, sugar contributes to tooth decay. 


Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical that enhances and alerts the central nervous system to fight off fatigue. It can be extracted from leaves, seeds, and fruits of various plants and is highly found in cocoa beans, tea leaves, and coffee beans.

Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero

Caffeine is also found in many edible and drinkable products like energy drinks, beverages, and sports drinks. Moreover, it has the highest ratio in coffee and energy drinks. 

Side Effects in Beverages:

  • Caffeine is although known to be associated with metabolism and increasing exercise performance in athletes. But, its more consumption leads to a wide range of side effects in some people.
  • Due to genetic variations, caffeine is an addictive product for various people, and their response to caffeine is different from others.
  • Caffeine intake in more enormous proportions has shown the effects on mental health too, and its higher information can lead to anxiety and depression.
  • Caffeine can also lead to headaches, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and other complications upon high intake.
  • Higher caffeine intake can lead to miscarriage and low birth weight in pregnant women, and it is recommended to lower the intake of caffeine during breastfeeding.

Moderate Intake Value of Caffeine:

400mg is the safe value for caffeine intake daily by adults, but lowering it to 200mg per day can prevent various adverse side effects. If we talk about Coke Zero, more than six cans of 355ml are required to reach this daily intake value. 

Caffeine in Coke Zero and Other Drinks:

Serving SizeCaffeine Content
Coke Zero7.5 ounces (222ml)21mg
Green Tea8 ounces (237ml)35mg
Energy Drinks8.3 ounces (254ml)77mg
Coffee8 ounces (237ml)95mg
Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero

Coke Zero and Tooth Decay:

Regular sodas are linked highly with the destruction of enamel and tooth erosion. In the same way, increased consumption of even Coke Zero can lead to tooth decay due to its main ingredients and acidic ph. Phosphoric acid used in this drink causes soft enamel and tooth erosion if consumed in more significant amounts. But still, Coke Zero has less detrimental effects on teeth and enamel than Diet Coke which are explained further. 

Potential Downsides:

Coke Zero, which is an artificially sweetened beverage, is also linked with other health issues such as:

Heart Disease: 

Women showing no prior heart disease have shown the increased heart disorders link when consumed Coke Zero regularly.

Kidney Disease: 

People consuming more than seven glasses of Coke Zero every week have shown an increased risk of kidney disorder due to the presence of high phosphorus in it. 

Gut Microbiome: 

These artificially flavoured beverages can alter the gut microbiome. It leads to poor blood sugar control when consumed regularly. 


Daily consumption of Coke Zero and Coca-Cola has shown the increased risk of low bone mineral density.

Diet Coke:

Diet sodas such as Diet Coke are a popular beverage worldwide for those eager to consume the beverages to satisfy their cravings but with limited calories. Sugar is known to be high in calories, so to reduce sugar intake, diet coke is imparted with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, Ace-K, saccharin, and cyclamates to sweeten them. 

Diet coke is quite popular in people who have diabetes as it is free from any sugar and calories. But despite this, the added sweeteners and artificial flavours show some detrimental effects on health in some cases. 

Typical Ingredients of Diet Coke:

Carbonated Water: 

Also known as sparkling water, it is used to manufacture sodas and is a part of diet coke. It is made by dissolving water under pressure in carbon dioxide. 


Common artificial sweeteners are used in manufacturing this drink, including aspartame, Ace-K, saccharin, sucralose, and a herbal sweetener naming stevia.


In the manufacturing of diet coke, acids such as citric acid, malic, and phosphoric acid are used to ass tartness to drink. It leads to an increase and high risk of tooth enamel and decay due to acidic ph.


The artificial colours used in this diet coke are carotenoids, anthocyanins, and caramels to show similarity with regular coca-cola.


Many flavours are also imparted in this drink, such as fruits, berries, and herbs to create a similar taste to Coca-cola.

Preservatives: Preservatives like potassium benzoate is added to it to enhance its shelf life. 

Caffeine: Like other sodas, this diet coke also contains caffeine. 

Caffeine Comparison in Diet Coke and Other Drinks:

Serving SizeCaffeine content
Diet Coke7.5 ounces (222ml)28mg
Green Tea8 ounces (237ml)35mg
Energy Drinks8.3 ounces (245ml)77mg
Coffee8 ounces (237 ml)95mg

Caffeine content varies from drink to drink and is based on the different factors like brand, ingredients and specificity of any beverage. Compared to others, diet coke offers 42mg of caffeine per 335 ml of drink which is relatively lower than other beverages offering caffeine such as coffee, tea and energy drinks. 

But, caffeine consumption should be considered in moderation to maximize the health benefits and avoid its detrimental effects on health. 

Diet Soda and Tooth Decay:

Diet Coke has shown many detrimental effects on teeth and enamel. According to research, diet coke contains citric acid and phosphoric acid, which erodes the enamel and leads to tooth decay at a much faster pace than Zero Coke or any other beverage and energy drink. 

Drinking drinks high in acidic ph and artificial flavours and colours can lead to various metabolic disorders like obesity, type-2 diabetes cancer. Drinking soda such as Diet coke leads to acid interaction with the bacteria present in the mouth. This acid further attacks teeth. A damaging reaction lasts for about 20 minutes after sipping a diet coke, and if such a drink is consumed all day, then this attack lasts for a longer time. 

Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero

Main Dental Effects Related to Diet Coke:


Erosion is the destruction of teeth that begins when the acid in the drink, such as diet coke, encounters tooth enamel and starts to soften. Enamel is the outermost hard protective layer of teeth, and this scathing attack reduces the hardness of enamel, further damaging the inner layer of teeth. 


The damage to enamel can further damage other layers of teeth, including dentil and composite fillings. This whole destruction of teeth leads to the invitation to cavities. Cavities develop over time in people who consume sugary drinks and soft drinks like diet coke regularly.

Potential Downsides:

Fatty liver: 

Studies have shown that the regular consumption of diet coke and other sodas leads to an increase in fat around the liver, but no other effects have been studied yet.

Increase in Reflux: 

Researches have shown mixed studies which indicate that consuming diet coke and other regular soda might increase reflux and acidity in the gut. Symptoms worsening the inflammatory bowel disease and other GIT disorders were slightly worsened by consuming these drinks.

Association with Cancer: 

A slight increase in lymphoma and myeloma in men was reported upon research, showing that they were consuming regular sodas such as diet sodas.

Gut Microbiome: 

The alteration in gut flora was also observed upon consumption of sodas like diet coke, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and altering the body’s blood sugar levels.  


Intake of diet coke and other drinks has shown increased bone mineral density loss and might interfere with normal calcium absorption. 

Tooth Decay:

Diet coke has shown a higher association with tooth decay due to its acidic nature and acids like citric and phosphoric acid to enhance the flavour. Although phosphoric acid alone is also not good for teeth and enamel health, when it is combined with citric and malic acid, it can lead to more decay to tooth and enamel, creating cavities and eventually tooth loss. 


Higher rates of depression are noted in people consuming more significant amounts of sodas like diet cokes, but further experiments are needed to confirm this. 

So, diet coke and coke zero are the two categories launched by The Coca-Cola Company to ease people who are calorie-conscious in their lives and always keep an eye on their weight and other health issues. As it is said that the consumption of each item in more than the average amount will always prove ill-effects on health, so consuming any of these drinks in larger quantities will undoubtedly be detrimental to health. 

Intake of both of these drinks in moderate quantities can satisfy the cravings of a regular cola drink without an increase in calories and sugar level. But, still, they are zero in nutritional excess and are not recommended as healthy drinks by nutritionists and dietitians. So, for their consumption, a person must keep an eye on their daily intake. 

Also Read: How to Add Fat to Keto Diet? Best Ways and Receipe to Follow

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Which drink is regarded as the healthier, Coke Zero or Diet Coke?

Keeping aside the artificial sweeteners, both of these drinks have no nutritional difference. They are just to appeal to the taste preferences with Coke Zero as the better flavor than Diet Coke. Their massive consumption leads to a detrimental effect on health.

Is Coke Zero bad for health just like Diet Coke?

Although Coke Zero does not add any nutritional value to diet but still may show some ill-effects on health as long-term effects. T reduce the intake of sodas, low-sugary drinks like herbal tea, black coffee are better options than this.

Why is Coke Zero a better option than Diet Coke?

Coke Zero offers only a single chemical naming sodium citrate, while Diet Coke offers Citric acid to decays tooth enamel more rapidly than Coke Zero.

Which sweetener is used in the manufacturing of Coke Zero?

Coke Zero is a blend of aspartame and acesulfame potassium.

Does Coke Zero make a person gain weight?

No, Coke Zero is zero in sugar and calories and does not make a person gain weight. 

How is Diet coke terrible for the body?

Consumption of diet coke has shown the increased risks of various medical conditions like heart diseases, blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

What drinks are the competitors of Coke?

Tab, Zico, and Odwalla are few brands that might replace Coke, but still, Coke is regarded as the most popular brand. 

What effects does diet coke leave on the stomach?

Regular and excessive consumption of diet coke leads to the destruction of the stomach lining, leading to bloating, indigestion and heartburn, along with the trigger of acid reflux.


Dr. Zainab Naeem

Hello! My name is Dr. Zainab Naeem, and I am a Nutritionist/Dietitian by profession. I am also impassioned to spread knowledge about ‘9Lifestyle medicine’, ‘Human Nutrition’, and ‘Dietetics’ so that people can stop believing the wrong concepts about food and habits they have adopted over the years, which hinders the real joy of their life. This site is an excellent platform for me to share some of my medical knowledge and experience extracts. The power of words helps me to spread up-to-date and current research studies.

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