Coke Zero, Diet Coke And Regular Coke – What’s The Difference?
coke comparision review

Coke Zero, Diet Coke And Regular Coke – What’s The Difference?

Are the caloric values the only point of distinction between these cola-flavored beverages?

Clashing cans with regular coke, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero. What makes them different? Is it just the sugar content or is there more to it? How are the low-cal variants sweetened?

Coca-Cola has evolved a lot over the years. Initially available as a single variant, the massive change in our lifestyles begged for a diet version. Out came diet coke, followed by coke zero a few years later.

How different do these taste, which is the fizziest, which is better or worse from the health perspective are certain aspects we cover in Mishry’s Coke vs Coke Zero vs Diet Coke review.

Coke Variants – Quick Glance

coke variants comparision
Evolution of the cans.

Key differences in the ingredients, primarily additives used, are discussed here. 

 

Coke Variants Main Ingredients (additives)
Regular Coke
  • INS 338- Phosphoric acid (adds tangy flavor)
  • 150 D – Color
Diet Coke
  • INS 338- Phosphoric acid
  • INS 331 (iii)- Preservative
  • INS 950- Acesulphame (sweetener)
  • INS 951- Aspartame (sweetener)
  • INS 211- Sodium benzoate (preservative)
  • 150 D- color
Coke Zero
  • INS 338- Phosphoric acid
  • INS 331 (iii)- Preservative
  • INS 950- Acesulphame (sweetener)
  • INS 955- Sucralose (sweetener)
  • INS 211- preservative
  • 150 D- color
overview of coke review
The three Coke variants we reviewed.

Key Differences Between Coke, Coke Zero and Diet Coke

For our Coke vs Diet Coke vs Coke Zero review, our focus parameters were the ingredients used, primarily the sweeteners, additives (if any), the fizz, and differences in pricing and packaging.

1. Ingredients

What is the primary source of sugar? How many types of sweeteners are added? What about additives like flavors and colors?

Coke

Carbonated water, sugar, acidity regulator (INS 338), color (150D), and natural flavoring substances.

Diet Coke

Carbonated water, acidity regulators (INS 338, 331 (iii)), sweeteners (INS 951, 950), preservative (INS 211), color (150 D), flavors (natural flavoring substances).

This contains an admixture of aspartame and acesulfame potassium.

Coke Zero

Carbonated water, acidity regulator (INS 338, 331 (iii)), sweeteners (INS 950, 955), preservative (INS 211), color (150 D), and natural flavoring substances. This contains an admixture of aspartame and acesulfame potassium.

INS 338

Phosphoric acid is used in food and beverages, detergents, metal treatments, pharmaceuticals, etc. It is used to activate carbon and lends a sour taste to beverages.

150 D

Made of high dextrose corn syrup (HDCS), invert, and cane sugar, INS 150 D includes a variety of caramel colors. The carbohydrates (sugars) are heated with ammonium and sulfite compounds. This is used in colas, soy sauce, seasonings, cereals, etc.

INS 331 (iii)

This compound is known as Sodium Dihydrogen Citrate. It adds a sour-salty flavor.

INS 950

Acesulphame Potassium (Ace K) is a USFDA approved sweetener. This has been extensively researched and deemed safe for consumption.

INS 951

Aspartame is another low-calorie artificial sweetener that is almost 200 times sweeter than sucrose. 

INS 955

Sucralose is an artificial sugar substitute. Because it is not broken down/digested by the body, it is noncaloric.

INS 211

Sodium benzoate is an internationally-approved food additive that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and microbes. It enhances the shelf life of food and beverages.

Our take 

In terms of chemical composition, there is only one difference between the diet and zero sugar variant -the artificial sweeteners used in Diet Coke (INS 951) and Coke Zero (INS 955) vary. Neither of these have a bitter aftertaste. 

regular coke appearance
This contender had the highest calories.

2. Flavor

Ardent Cola fans in our Team were called for a blind tasting session where they were asked to record their observations in terms of flavor. The results were as follows-

Coke

This was hands-down the sweetest of all three cans that were reviewed. The fizz was standard. Recognized within a second by all, for obvious reasons. 

Diet Coke

Lighter and with relatively more fizz, this variant was not as sweet.

Coke Zero

Coke Zero tasted more like the original version. It had subtle citrusy notes but was not as sweet. The fiziness is a bit lower than diet coke. 

Our take

Diet Coke had a lighter flavor, and the highest fizz. Coke Zero and the regular variant had similar intensities of the cola flavor. Diet coke is the least sweet amongst the three variants. Regular Coke and Coke Zero have a marginal difference in the overall sweetness and fizz.

diet coke appearance
Diet Coke had a lighter taste and a bolder fizz.

3. Nutrition Facts

Calories per serve, and distribution of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, (if any) are discussed under the following parameters.

Coke

This offers 44 Kcal per 100 ml which is divided as 10.9 grams of carbohydrates (10.6 grams of which is sugar), 0 grams of fats, and proteins, and 8.5 mg of sodium.

Caffeine content – This has 8.7 mg of caffeine per 100 ml.

Diet Coke

Diet Coke has 0 Kcal with 7.5 mg of sodium per 100 ml.

Caffeine content – 10 mg of caffeine per 100 ml

Coke Zero

Coke Zero has 0 Kcal. It offers 7.5 mg of sodium.

Caffeine content – 9.2 mg of caffeine per 100 ml. 

Our take

Regular Coke offers the maximum calories, primarily in the form of carbohydrates from sugar.

On the other hand, the other two contenders are 0-calorie beverages. There is only a marginal difference in the caffeine and sodium content.

coke zero appearance
This was quite similar to the original beverage.

4. Price 

We ordered 300 ml cans of the three variants. Coke, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero are priced at Rs 40/-. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some interesting FAQs on Coke vs Coke Zero vs Diet Coke.

Aerated beverages aren’t classified as healthy. These aren’t nutritious and are sources of carbohydrates and caffeine. Diet Coke has the highest caffeine content but regular Coke has the most calories.

Yes, Coke Zero and Diet Coke are sweetened with artificial sweeteners INS 950, 951, and 955.

Coke Zero has no calories and helps reduce your overall caloric intake. Consistently consuming lower calories than you burn will lead to weight loss.

The key difference between the two is the combination of sweeteners used. While Diet Coke contains INS 950 and INS 951, the regular variant is sweetened with table sugar. 

Research and studies on artificial sugar show that though both (artificial and refined sugar) are addictive, the former may cause more cravings, a larger-than-normal appetite.

Yes, the cans are 100% recyclable.

Final Words

After placing Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero under the Mishry microscope, we arrived at the conclusion that there are some marginal differences in the sweeteners used. Moreover, the flavor and fizz also vary, as picked by ardent fans of the beverage.
If you’re calorie conscious, we recommend going for Diet Coke or Coke Zero as it will save you approximately 120 Kcal.

If light, crisp and fizzy is what you’re looking for, we suggest you pick Diet Coke, Coke Zero for the close-to-classic taste minus the calories, and Regular Coke for the undeniably great taste and OG appeal.

Does one taste better than the other? What’s your pick?

Our reviews are unbiased and all samples used during the reviews were paid for by us. Read our entire ethics statement here.

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