Diet Coke is low in calories, but experts claim its health risks are sky high — just in the first hour of consumption alone.
The zero-sugar soda is a cult classic, thanks to its weight-friendly advertising, even as dentists warn it can erode enamel and activate the body’s “fat storage mode.”
“Diet Coke, like other carbonated beverages, is highly acidic,” Dr. Raj Juneja, from Face Teeth Smile Dental Clinic in England, told The Sun.
“The carbonation process involves the addition of carbonic acid, which gives the drink its characteristic fizz,” Juneja continued. “The acidity of Diet Coke can contribute to tooth enamel erosion over time.”
Weakened enamel can “become more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity,” he noted.
Dr. Khaled Kasem — an orthodontist at Impress, which has locations around the world — recommends sipping the beverage through a straw if you must consume it and drinking water afterwards.
He says the body’s “fat storage mode” activates within 20 minutes of drinking pop because insulin production is triggered.
But other dentistry experts say insulin production depends on the artificial sweetener used and the presence of diabetes.
“Insulin is released by our body in response to foods, in particular when that food contains carbohydrates, and it helps those nutrients get into our body,” Dr. Matthew Snelson, a research fellow at the Monash School of Biological Sciences and the Victorian Heart Hospital, told The Sun.
“Insulin does play a role in helping our bodies store fat. There’s no evidence that the types of sweeteners used in Diet Coke (specifically: aspartame, acesulfame K) affect insulin,” he added.
Low-sugar sweeteners have long been touted to help people slim down, but in May, the World Health Organization said that the additives are not recommended for weight loss.
Types of artificial sweeteners include sucralose, saccharin and aspartame, the latter found in Diet Coke.
Just 40 minutes after taking your first sip of Diet Coke, experts claim the drink, which contains 46 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce can, triggers a “short addictive high.”
At 60 minutes, the caffeine can increase thirst.
“While Diet Coke contains less caffeine than regular Coke, it still contains a moderate amount,” Juneja explained. “Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it can contribute to dehydration.”
But a Coca Cola spokesperson told The Sun that the company’s beverages are “perfectly safe and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle.”