Risks & Benefits of Coke Zero

If you're watching your weight and crave the sweet taste of a cola product, you might reach for a bottle of Coca-Cola Zero over its traditional counterpart, Coca-Cola. Launched in 2005, Coke Zero, as it's often called, is marketed as a calorie-free alternative that tastes notably similar to Coca-Cola. (See Reference 1) Still, despite the moderate benefits of Coke Zero, you're wise not to confuse it with a healthy drink choice.

A key benefit to Coca-Cola Zero is its lack of sugar and calories. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Doesn't Contain Calories

Soft drinks are a significant source of calories. Coca-Cola Classic, for example, has 240 calories in a 20-ounce bottle. A benefit to choosing Coke Zero is that it has no calories, which means it's acceptable to drink on a diet because it won't elevate your daily caloric intake. (See Reference 2) A low-calorie diet is an effective way to lose weight or avoid weight gain, and while no nutritionist would recommend Coke Zero as an ideal beverage choice, its zero calories can be appealing. (See Reference 3)

Not a Source of Sugar

Coke Zero's lack of calories is the result of it being artificially sweetened. This drink doesn't contain sugar. Rather, it uses aspartame to generate its sweet flavor. (See Reference 2) A diet high in added sugar, such as those found in traditional soft drinks, can be detrimental to your health. The frequent consumption of sugar increases your risk of health complications such as heart disease. (See Reference 4) If you have diabetes, products with aspartame are safe to consume. (See Reference 5)

No Nutritional Value

A significant disadvantage to Coke Zero is that is has no nutritional value. Unlike water, which provides valuable hydration, or fruit juice, which contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, your health doesn't improve upon drinking Coke Zero. Sodium in present in Coke Zero, with 70 milligrams in a 20-ounce bottle. Although this amount is low, it still contributes to your sodium intake, and the majorirt of Americans consume far too much of this mineral daily. (See References 2 and 6)

Caffeine Side Effects

Coke Zero is caffeinated, and the consumption of caffeine can play a detrimental role in your health. Despite caffeine's ability to provide an alert feeling, it can also lead to unintended side effects such as anxiety, a jittery feeling and a restless feeling when you're trying to sleep. Caffeine also creates a dependence, and can have withdrawal side effects such as headaches and mood changes. (See Reference 7)

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