Ask LH: Is Coffee Worse For You Than Coke?

Hi Lifehacker, This is the standard argument with my boss at lunch time: which is better for you, Coke or coffee? I don’t drink coffee so instead I have a can of Coke, while my boss drinks at least two cups of coffee a day (with two sugars in each). I understand Coke is not good for you, but surely it’s no worse than drinking that amount of coffee? Any thoughts? Thanks, Soft Drinker

Photo: Kae Yen Wong, Flickr

Dear SD,

When it comes to equivalent servings sizes, coffee is generally a far healthier option than Coke. However, if you’re comparing multiple cups to a single can, the playing field becomes more even.

According to Calorie King Australia, a 375ml can of Coke packs in 30 grams of sugar, which is the equivalent of around 10 teaspoons. In addition, it also contains phosphoric acid which is a big cause of tooth decay.

Meanwhile, a medium flat white coffee made with full cream milk will contain 12g of sugar; and that’s before you add any extra sugar. In other words, your boss is probably consuming more sugar over the course of each day, especially if he doesn’t use skim milk. Coffee also contains a handful of extra calories: 168 vs. 155 for Coke.

That said, coffee contains additional health benefits that Coca-cola lacks, such as calcium and protein. All in all, we’d have to back your boss on this one: while neither beverage is particularly good for you, Coke is the worst offender of the two.


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