There has always been people saying that soft drinks, and specially aerated soft drinks are bad for you. People have wondered why and the reasons drop down straight to the ingredients printed on the back of the bottle or can. With the onslaught of people who are dumping soft drinks for healthier alternatives, Coca-Cola decided to bring out Coca-Cola with all its goodness and flavour, but with artificial sweeteners and a low calorie formula which claims it is not all that bad for you. People lap such ‘diet’ products up and they do it without being knowledgeable about the effects of such drinks. Well, how safe is Coke Zero you may ask? The answer is right before your eyes on the packaging.
The ingredients are labelled to all cans and bottles. They are mostly in order of descending order of the quantity of the ingredient present. Upon closer inspection of the ingredients label on a Coke Zero can it is found water and caramel colouring take up the most amount of the quantity. Well, the water is carbonated and not just plain water. You may ask, what’s wrong with water and caramel? They are not, but, if you keep reading the ingredients that follow you’ll see a clearer picture. Ingredients like phosphoric acid is third on the list and if you are not well versed in chemistry you may ask yourself, “Why is there acid in my Coke?!” and some others may think if it’s tested, considering Coca-Cola is such a large scale manufacturer and own a huge amount of testing facilities, it must be safe to consume. Well, here are some facts, phosphoric acid is used to avoid rust and it can dissolved a piece of metal in under 96 hours, BUT, it won’t kill YOU. This doesn’t mean it is safe to consume, it does have some effects on your body like breakdown of calcium in your body. If you have your daily glass of milk you will not be affected though by drinking an occasional soft drink in moderation. It takes a lot of the acid to break down your bones, if you are someone who stays away from calcium rich food it’s advisable you avoid Coke. Even though it is a deadly ingredient it is not as harmful as people say and the consumers in the end, should be responsible for what they consume and should make sure they don’t suffer any long term problems.
The fourth item on the list is aspartame. This item isn’t very bad for you like phosphoric acid and has been approved by the FDA for use in food products way back in the eighties. Even though the European Ramazzini Foundation found out that aspartame caused lab rats to develop cancer, FDA did extensive research and concluded aspartame is safe as an artificial sweetener.
The fifth item on the list is potassium benzoate used to preserve the drink’s flavours. It is also a common method of food preservation found in packaged food and packed juices. Benzene is a part of Potassium Benzoate and is a cancer causing agent found in the fumes exhausted by vehicles and is also produced when coal and oil is burnt. This is present in Coke Zero, BUT, only a large amount of Benzene can cause cancer and the amount required to cause cancer is roughly five parts per billion, which is equivalent to 3 seconds in a century. Yes, Coke Zero has far less than that and it is complete safe. Despite all of this being safe to drink, it is not healthy if consumed without restraint and moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle and even having one cold drink a day is not unhealthy.
Another ingredient found in Coke Zero is acesulfame potassium, which is also FDA approved and is safe for consumption. Too much of it can be bad but here, again, moderation is important. FDA is going tests on all soft drinks and ingredients and is attempting to set an even lower amount of the harmful ingredients to enable safe consumption. These ingredients are not as bad as critics may say as most people ignore the quantity consumed and only see the face value when seeing the harm that can be caused.
To conclude, all ingredients in Coke Zero, or any soft drink for that matter are not detrimental to our health and neither are they good for us. It’s just that they will not cause fatalities. The word has been repeated very often in this article and should be held on to: MODERATION. Too much of any beverage can be bad, except maybe water. Soft drinks are a pleasant treat once in a while and it isn’t as bad as people say they are. Consumers just need to be sure about what they’re doing and do so smartly. Information about what you are consuming is widely available and being educated about the choices you make for your body is important. Be a smart consumer.