Ask LH: Should I Be Drinking Coke Zero Or Coffee?

Dear Lifehacker, I drink one can of Coke Zero each day and close to two litres of water. I drink the Coke for the caffeine as I do not like coffee. Could you supply some nutritional info on the differences between coffee and Coke Zero? The benefit for me is the caffeine. Thanks, Mister Night Shift

Coffee picture from Shutterstock

Dear MNS,

First up, great job on the H2O intake! Favouring water over soft drink (even if it’s the diet variety) is definitely recommended.

Coke Zero contains zero kilojoules or sugar. It derives its sugary taste from the artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame K. The former was recently linked to metabolic disease and digestive problems, although no clear consensus has been reached. It is, however, something to keep in mind.

In terms of caffeine content, Coke Zero contains 9.6mg per 100ml. This is substantially less than coffee which packs in up to 40mg per 100ml. However, there is a lot more variation in coffee depending on the type of coffee bean, the amount of milk used and how it is prepared. By contrast, the caffeine in Coke is artificially added to a precise dosage.

So to answer your question, coffee gives you a lot more bang-for-buck than Coke Zero. If you don’t like the taste of coffee, you might want to give a diet energy drink a try instead: you can find a rundown of products and how they taste here. (Our picks: V Energy Sugar Free or 28 Black Sugarfree.)

Interestingly, Diet Coke actually has more caffeine than Coke Zero at 12.8mg/100ml. This is something to keep in mind if you want a slightly bigger hit of caffeine per can. You may also want to consider black tea: a strong brew can contain up to 20mg of caffeine per 100ml, alongside antioxidants and other health benefits that Coke Zero lacks.

We’re keen to hear what other readers think. What’s your caffeine beverage of choice? Or do you ingest it a different way? Share your recommendations (and warnings) in the comments section below.


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