Is Diet Coke Healthy in 2023?

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We know a lot more now than we did years ago about the health consequences of regularly consuming sugar-laden soft drinks like Coca-Cola – we could suffer ruined tooth enamel, diabetes, and weight gain. Regular soda is a far cry from being a healthy choice, but is diet soda any better? Is Diet Coke healthy?

If we remove refined sugar from these beverages, wouldn’t this help solve the problem?

Not exactly. Studies continually reinforce the reality that diet sodas are not as healthy as they’re portrayed. Widely consumed across the world by people looking to reduce their sugar intake, these diet sodas use artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame-k, and saccharin to make up for that missing sugar.

Diet Coke Linked to Diabetes and Obesity

While you may believe that because diet sodas are typically calorie-free or low-calorie they would be associated with weight loss and reduce the risk of obesity, the opposite appears to be true. Several studies have cropped up, reaffirming their role in increasing the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

The research appears to suggest that diet sodas may have the opposite desired impact by increasing hunger signaling hormones while triggering receptor responses within the brain.

On average, Diet Coke contains 150 – 200 mg of aspartame per 12-ounce can – this is several hundred times sweeter than regular table sugar. This could have a negative impact on one’s metabolism and hunger signaling.

Diet Coke can still negatively alter your gut microbiome, or bacteria. While more research is needed to determine definitively if the artificial sweeteners present in diet soda lead to this change, we would recommend erring on the side of caution when it comes to regularly consuming diet soft drinks, including Diet Coke.

What’s worse, artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas have been linked to an increased risk of stroke, as reported by the American Heart Association (AHA). A similar 2012 study found that those who consumed diet soda every day had a dramatically increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attack compared to those who drank no soda. Just because something is calorie-free, doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.
Diet Coke Linked to Kidney Disease
glass of cold cola

Diet Coke Linked to Kidney Disease

glass of cold cola

Consuming diet soda has been linked to an increased risk of chronic kidney disease. The probable cause? The high phosphoric acid content of the soda is believed to be the culprit, present in both regular and Diet Coke varieties.  

Of course, we can’t rule out that people who consume diet soda regularly may be doing so to compensate for other unhealthy dietary habits and lifestyle choices. These choices may independently contribute more to the risk of chronic kidney disease, while Diet Coke masks the need to address the root cause of the problem by cutting out fizzy drinks.

Are There Any Benefits to Drinking Diet Coke?

Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and overall refined sugar intake is definitely a good thing. Choosing a diet soda rather than a regular soda can help encourage a transition to healthier choices like carbonated water, which is just water and carbon dioxide. 

Most medical practitioners, nutritionists, and physicians probably wouldn’t jump to recommend Diet Coke or soda as the first alternative to a traditional Coca-Cola. They would be much more likely to advise water, sparkling water, or tea. 

Still, there are some benefits to be had from drinking diet soda compared to a traditional Coke. Regardless of the health implications of artificial sweeteners, reducing the total number of calories from refined sugar can assist in weight loss goals. 

Considering one single 12-ounce can of Coke can contain around 10 teaspoons of sugar, making the switch to diet can drastically reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes, provided the rest of your diet is under control. 

Diet Soda and Tooth Decay

Diet Coke is still going to harm tooth enamel and oral health by promoting tooth decay, just without the added sugar increasing the growth of plaque-causing bacteria. The only difference between regular Coke and Diet Coke is the sugar content, which means the additives, phosphorus, and caramel coloring all remain. 

The high acidity of both Coke and Diet Coke weakens the enamel, while the combination of either natural sugars or artificial sugars promotes the growth of pathogenic bacteria. 

Is Diet Coke Healthy in Comparison to Regular Coke?

It should be pretty clear that neither Diet Coke nor regular Coke is a healthy option. While regular soda is associated with many adverse health outcomes, diet sodas made with artificial sweeteners aren’t healthier. When choosing between the two, our recommendation would be a hardline avoidance of both. 

Opting for a Diet Coke instead of a sugary drink is the lesser of two evils. Regular Coca-Cola is filled with table sugar, which is high in nutritionally void calories that spike blood sugar and contribute to metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes and heart issues. 

Regular soda is more commonly associated with severe health outcomes and poor health compared to its diet counterpart.


If you’re wondering “Is Diet Coke healthy,” we found that generally, it might be beneficial to decrease the intake of diet soda, and choose a different, more healthy option to quench your thirst. 

While Diet Coke can have benefits in comparison to regular Coca-Cola, a twelve-ounce can of Diet Coke can have 150 – 200 mg of aspartame, an artificial sweetener that scientists are worried may cause health problems. 

If you’re looking to still have the sensation of carbonated drinks and phosphoric acid provided in soda, we would instead suggest opting for sparkling water, a much healthier option. Most sparkling waters are not artificially sweetened, contain no additives like phosphoric acid that will harm your enamel, and have no added sugar to contribute to diabetes and poor gut health. 

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