Skip to Content

Why Is Diet Coke Worse than Regular Coke? [Sugar v Sweetener]

why <a href=

In the world of soft drinks, people often choose diet soda and diet drinks over regular soda because they think that the reduced calorie load is better for them.

After all, not ingesting so much sugar has to be a smart option when comparing regular soda, carbonated water, or sparkling water with diet soda.

Due to the absence of a real sugar diet, soda drinkers prefer diet soft drinks like diet coke.

They think that it will not harm them during their weight loss journey.

However, recent studies have challenged people’s thinking and led them to wonder if diet soda is better for you than regular sugary soda.

So here’s the question that we are faced with today.

Is Diet Coke worse than regular Coke? And if so, why?

The short answer is that Diet Coke is actually worse for you in certain ways than regular Coke in Sugary Beverages or Sugar-Sweetened Beverages. 

That is because the use of artificial sweeteners in diet coke instead of regular sugar leads to crossed wires in your metabolic pathways.

Diet Coke also uses potassium benzoate as a preservative, which has been linked to several troubling studies.

However, Diet Coke does save you a lot of calories when it comes to regular Coke.

So let’s get down to it and work on the comparison.

Diet Coke Sweeteners Vs Sugar in Regular Coke

So we’ve already told you that using artificial sweeteners instead of regular sugar causes additional crossing of the wires in your metabolic pathways.

This is the reason why.

When you eat something sweet, your body receives the signals that there is going to be sugar entering your system.

Therefore, the brain signals your endocrine system to produce insulin.

Your pancreas then starts pumping out insulin so that it can store the incoming sugar for energy to be used later.

Mostly, high sugar storage leads to weight gain.

However, when you drink a Diet Coke, the aspartame and acesulfame potassium still send the sweet signal to your brain to ramp up insulin production.

However, there is no sugar for the insulin to bind with to store it away. And too much insulin is a bad thing.

When you have too much insulin in your bloodstream, the cells in your body can’t absorb more sugar from your blood.

This also causes your liver to release less sugar into your blood.

And combined, this can cause your glucose levels to plummet.

There is no doubt that Acesulfame Potassium is beneficial to balance the sugar level in your diet.

However, Acesulfame Potassium as a sweetener can harm your body in a variety of ways.

This condition is called hypoglycemia and can lead you to crave real sugars.

When you crave real sugar, you start to binge eat and eat a lot of sweet things to restore your blood sugar levels back to a normal level.

Aspartame Metabolism

Another reason that Aspartame is bad for you is because of how it is broken down.

When Aspartame is metabolized, it breaks down into phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol.

A small percentage of the population is extremely sensitive to phenylalanine and reacts badly to it.

These people suffer from phenylketonuria, affecting approximately one in 10,000 people.

These sufferers lack the metabolic Pathway to break down phenylalanine.

This can lead to intellectual disability, metabolic syndrome, seizures, and mental and behavioral problems.

This condition is incurable but can be treated if the sufferer follows a strict diet with limited protein intake.

Normally phenylalanine enters the brain and is used as a building block for a dopamine or noradrenaline.

Aspartic acid is an excitatory neurotransmitter that can lead you to be jittery.

About one of the worst offenders is methanol which metabolizes into formaldehyde or formate which can cause stress and tissue damage.

However, before you toss out your diet soda because of the methanol inversion, you should recognize this.

Only about 10% of the aspartame content in the soda is converted to methanol.

And when it comes to the methanol content, tomato juice averages three to four times the concentration that your diet coke apps.

And red wine, which everybody agrees is good for you, can contain anywhere from two to five times the methanol concentrations.

And yes, it is possible to consume too much aspartame.

However, the FDA is the acceptable daily intake for a person that weighs 75 Kg, or 65 lb is 3750 ml mg.

Consider that a Diet Coke has 180 mg of aspartame. To reach that recommended acceptable daily intake, you need to drink 21 cans of Diet Coke in a day.

That roughly translates to 250 ounces of Diet Coke or 15.625 pounds.

So the primary risk reason why Diet Coke is worse than regular Coke has primarily to do with the metabolic crossing of the wires that can lead to your body overproducing insulin.

When it comes to the aspartame content, unless you suffer from phenylketonuria, the small amount of aspartame in Diet Coke or diet beverages should not pose any significant health risks like the risk of diabetes for you.

Potassium Benzoate

But what about potassium benzoate, the chemical that Diet Coke uses as a preservative?

How does that affect how good Diet Coke is compared to regular Coke?

After all, regular Coke does not have any preservatives.

Potassium benzoate is categorized by the Food and Drug Administration as generally recognized as safe.

A small amount inhibits the growth of mold and other bacteria.

However, when combined with ascorbic acid and sodium, potassium benzoate has the unfortunate tendency to form Benzene, which is a known carcinogen.

In 2007, a study was performed by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, which found that some soft drinks had a higher than an acceptable concentration of benzene in their drinks.

This led to an entirely new set of Standards being instated and the products and questions being reviewed and revamped.

Additionally, you may be allergic to potassium benzoate and suffer an adverse reaction.

So and this case, if you have a food allergy, then Diet Coke will definitely be worse for you than classic Coca-Cola.

How is diet soda worse than regular soda?

When it comes to drinking carbonated water or soda of any kind, whether diet or regular, you need to remember what the ancient Greek poet Hesiod said.

“Moderation is best in all things.” Consider that a can of regular Coca-Cola has around 10 teaspoons of sugar.

While this seems like a lot, you should also remember that other sugary drinks, such as a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, can be two times sweeter than coke.

So, an occasional regular Coke isn’t going to be that bad for you in the long run.

However, as soon as you throw out the moderation, then you run into problems.

Diet soda drinkers should also focus on moderation because sweeteners in diet soda are also harmful.

When you drink too much soda, and your diet is too high in refined sugar, you tend to reduce the chemical called a brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

High sugar consumption and sugar intake can also increase the risk of diabetes and risk of heart attack.

This can affect how you learn and your memory formation.

Additionally, just one can of soda per day has been linked to a 20% increase in blood pressure, heart disease, and heart attack risk.

You can additionally be at high risk for developing asthma when drinking soda.

And the situation becomes worse the more soda you drink.

That is, the more Coca-Cola you drink, the higher the chance of running into a problem.

Wrapping it all up – Diet Vs Regular Coca-Cola’s

is a diet coke better for you than regular coca cola

So, in the end, too much of anything is a Bad Thing, whether it’s the Diet version of Coke or regular Coke.

However, with the added risks that Diet Coke brings to the table with the addition of aspartame and preservatives. So diet soda drinkers should be more careful.

Diet Soda Consumption definitely has a greater chance of being worse for you due to sugar substitutes than regular Coke.

All Sugar-Sweetened Beverages increase the risk of diabetes, risk of stroke, risk of heart attack, and cardiovascular disease.

However, we still recommend that you drink more water or even tea that contains natural sweeteners and flavors rather than a fizzy drink containing sugar, phosphoric acid,  and artificial sweeteners like Coca-Cola or Diet Coke.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

I’m always happy to hear from my readers and more than happy to answer any questions you may have.