Coca Cola’s Low Calorie Beverages Will Kill You Before They Solve Obesity

When I saw Coca-Cola’s new anti-obesity ad, my jaw dropped wide open. Yes, you read that right… Coca-Cola is on a new mission to fight the obesity epidemic now, in what I call a desperate attempt to prevent declining sales. The sad part is that some people will actually believe their nonsense. In the advertisement they try to make a case that there is room for Coca-Cola products in people’s “healthy” diets.

Coca-Cola is promoting the introduction of new low calorie beverages and using the failed logic of “a calorie is a calorie” to convince people who need to lose weight to keep Coca-Cola products around in their diet. But you know what? A calorie isn’t a calorie – when it’s made up of chemicals that affect how much you eat and the way your body metabolizes those chemicals.

So I’m here to break that down for you and detail out why Coca-Cola’s low calorie beverages will not fight obesity – and if anything – the reliance on low calorie chemical-filled drinks just perpetuates the problem even more. Proving in fact, that these drinks will continue to be linked to the increase in obesity.

If you want to see the full advertisement video…it is at the bottom of this post…but I don’t recommend watching it (unless you want to get a good laugh) because it deserves no more attention and I want you to focus on the truth that I am about to share with you now.

(And when you see this advertisement being played during the Super Bowl coming up – I suggest you yell loudly at the TV, like I plan on doing.)

Quotes from Coca-Cola’s Anti Obesity Advertisement:

“For over 125 years, we have been bringing people together” 

Really?? How? By selling a products to adults and children that are linked to diabetes, heart disease and obesity? Hmmm…. What do you call spending millions of dollars against the consumer’s right to know – i.e. GMO labeling – Is this bringing people together?  If anything – it makes you an enemy company people should boycott.

“We’ve created smaller portion control sizes for our most popular drinks and we’ll have then in about 90% of the country by the end of this year”

A smaller can of poison will not solve obesity. Thank you.

“No matter where they come from, including Coca-Cola and everything else with caloriesAnd if you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you’ll gain weight”

This is faulty logic and I’ll show you why in just a minute…

Across our portfolio of more than 650 beverages we now offer over 180 low and no calorie choices and most of our full calorie beverages now have low or no calorie versions. Over the last 15 years, this has helped reduce the average calories per serving across our industries products in the US by about 22%”

This is where I want to take a closer look at exactly which low calorie beverages Coca-Cola is referring to… here are some examples and the ingredients these low calorie beverages include:


Artificial Sugars – Linked to Obesity and a Myriad of Diseases

Sure you can save some calories drinking beverages with artificial sugars, but you won’t reduce your risk of obesity or getting a tumor.

If someone is trying to lose weight, the consumption of artificial sweeteners is not the solution and will not work as long term strategy. Artificial Sweeteners are proven to stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and promote fat storage and weight gain.

That’s right – consuming artificial sweeteners actually increases your appetite. Think about it – when someone consumes something that is sweet, but it has little to no calories – their brain receives a signal to want more calories because their body is not actually getting any energy (i.e. enough calories) to get satisfied.  So that person keeps looking for gratification elsewhere and ends up craving more.

The fact that Coca-Cola and other food industry giants are getting away with this “orchestrated deception” is unbelievable and then to say developing low calorie beverages using these artificial sweeteners is actually going to help the obesity epidemic? Seriously? Who are they kidding?

Furthermore, there are more dangerous side effects from artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, which is considered one the most dangerous substances allowed in our food supply. Aspartame is found in Powerade, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Dr. Pepper, Fanta Light, Fuze, Minute Maid Light, etc.

Over 10,000 complaints have been filed with the FDA on this substance since 1980 and has actually never been proven to be safe before it was approved for use in our food supply. Aspartame is linked to diabetes, auto-immune disorders, depression (which can cause you to eat more – once again), birth defects, and several forms of cancer.

“Erythritol” found in Vitamin Water Zero is a sugar alcohol the body does not easily digest and is linked to diarrhea, headache and other intestinal disorders.

Acesulfame Potassium or acesulfame K is the one of main sweeteners in Minute Maid Fruit Falls – which is a low calorie beverage aimed at kids – and Monster Zero for example. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) it is anything but safe. CSPI reported the safety tests of acesulfame-K that were conducted in the 1970s were inadequate. Specifically, two rat studies suggest that the additive might cause cancer, but these studies were never addressed by the FDA before they approved the substance to also be used unregulated in soft drinks. In addition it is mentioned that large doses of acetoacetamide (a breakdown product of this sugar) have been shown to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits, and dogs. As you might know – the thyroid gland – regulates the endocrine system, which is responsible the metabolism.

If Coca-Cola wanted to really improve their offerings – they would immediately eliminate artificial sugars from their products.

Natural Flavors – Trick Consumers To Drink More

By producing zero or low calorie drinks that taste like the “real thing,” Coca-Cola is “hijacking” your taste buds one by one. Food scientists can engineer natural flavors to cause the inability to stop eating or drinking. All of the Coca-Cola products listed above have added natural flavors. These flavors scientists synthesize trick your mind into wanting more and more. They don’t want you to have the full essence of the strawberry or real coconut – they want you to only experience the best 1 millionth part of the taste – so you get “addicted” and keep having to go back for more and more, searching continuously for gratification – eating more of that product which in turns fills Coca-Cola’s pocket, as well as other big food companies.

This is an industry trick that is used in so many products – beyond drinks – but is the most prevalent in low calorie beverages. In a few versions of Coca-Cola’s product Zico – a coconut water – they have to use natural flavors to cover up the fact that they are getting coconuts from all over the world, that taste different, which they then process into “concentrate.” The coconut water is heated down to syrup and then reconstituted with water. To keep the flavor consistent – they have to add back in natural flavors and what you end up with is an inferior product that is a mix of several different species of coconuts that have lost their original integrity, taste and nutrition.

Artificial Colors – Attract Adults and Children to Unhealthy Drinks 

Adding artificial colors into food, actually contributes to the obesity epidemic by attracting children (and adults) to fake sweetened drinks that provide almost zero nutrition. This is another marketing ploy by Coca-Cola to target more people to get addicted to their products.

Additionally – it’s important to note – the caramel coloring that Coca-Cola and other soda giants like Pepsi use – is completely artificial – not the stuff you make at home by cooking sugar. This caramel color is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure, which creates carcinogenic compounds. A high dose of this known carcinogen is proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice.

When The Center for Science in the Public Interest released a study last year found dangerous levels of caramel coloring could be contributing to thousands of cancers in the US, it prompted Coca-Cola and Pepsi to quickly change their formulas so they didn’t have to include the cancer warning label on their products in California.

Regardless of the reformulation – many of Coca-Cola’s products still contain this caramel coloring – even if it’s in a lesser amount. How small of a dose of poison are you willing to take on a regular basis?


Overconsumption of Caffeine – Causes Addiction and Adrenal Fatique

The reason why so many of Coca-Cola’s low calorie drinks contain caffeine – is because they want you to become addicted. The stimulation you get from the caffeine, along with the taste of something sweet – keeps you coming back for more and more. One of the most alarming drinks on the market is “Monster Zero” which can directly affect how your adrenal glands function and lead to persistent exhaustion. What happens when people are exhausted all the time? They stop moving… and likely gain weight.

Right now, Monster energy drinks is being sued by multiple families because it is suspected to have caused death of their loved ones. Despite these lawsuits and the recent FDA report about the dangers of energy drinks, Monster continues to be on the market.

Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO’s – Linked to Obesity

Every single one of Coca-Cola’s products here are likely to have GMO’s. That’s because they have a hidden corn based product – like sorbitol, fructose, aspartame, maltodextrin, or citric acid. And why in the world would they have spent millions fighting GMO-labeling in California, if their products weren’t full of them!

A study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences shows that GM food is indeed contributing to the obesity epidemic. The study found that GM corn fed to mice led to an increase in overall body weight of about 3.7 percent, while also increasing the weight of the liver by up to 11 percent.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), reported studies that show GMOs responsible for faulty insulin regulation and therefore advise their patients to have GMO-free diets.

Preservatives – Accelerate Aging and Acidify The Body

Preservatives like sodium benzoate are in almost all of Coca-Cola’s products. The Mayo Clinic reported that this preservative may increase hyperactivity in children. Also, when sodium benzoate combines with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) benzene can form a carcinogen and kill DNA cells, and accelerate aging.

Preservatives cause accelerated aging because they acidify the body. Dr. Jameth Sheridan (D.H.M.) Doctor of Holistic Medicine, states that it takes 36 glasses of water to re-alkaline your body after drinking just one diet soda. 36 glasses! Wow.

When your body is in an alkaline state your chances of developing disease is significantly lower than a body in an acidic state. This is because our bodies are made of up of billions of cells that are naturally alkaline according to it’s ph balance. When we consume more acidic foods (i.e. many of Coca-Cola’s low calorie drinks) vs. alkaline foods this upsets the balance and leads to all sorts of trouble for our bodies and the organs that regulate our metabolism and weight.

Bisphenol A (aka BPA) in Cans – Linked to Obesity

After reviewing the results of over 3,000 children and teens who had high urine BPA levels and high body mass index, a very recent study determined that BPA is linked to childhood obesity. BPA has already been banned in baby bottles – however, kids across the country are still drinking Coca-Cola products tainted with this environmental toxin.

Coca-Cola has downright refused to eliminate BPA from it’s products and even defends the use of this metabolism destroying compound on their website.

Fructose & Fruit Juice From Concentrate – Too Much Sugar For the Body To Process

You’ll find crystalline fructose in Vitamin Water Zero, which is made from (genetically modified) corn starch which is 20% sweeter than sugar. Fructose is processed by the body differently than other sugars – and is linked to fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, coronary arterial disease and obesity.

Coca-Cola claims that they have helped remove soda from schools by replacing them with juices. (This not entirely true – they actually fought the removal of vending machines in schools). Nonetheless, these juices are mainly comprised of fruit juice concentrates and do little if anything to solve the problem of obesity.

Consuming fruit juice concentrate on a regular basis actually overloads sugar in the liver, which increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

For instance, Minute Maid fruit juice might contain several ounces of straight fructose, with none of the fiber, pulp, or living enzymes that help the body properly digest the sugar.

A Cola Cola sponsored smoothie bar using real whole fruit in schools would be a MUCH better solution – just a thought.


In summary, at the end of Coca Coca’s advertisement they invite you to….

To learn more, and visit”

Ha! That’s funny. When pigs fly! That’s the last place anyone should go to learn about solving obesity.

If you know a friend or family member who still consumes Coca-Cola products – especially these “low or zero calorie” beverages – please share this article with them.

You could be their hero!

Wishing you lots love, health and a longer life than this tortoise.

Food Babe

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277 Responses to “Coca Cola’s Low Calorie Beverages Will Kill You Before They Solve Obesity”

  1. Daina

    This is a great article with loads of info all in one place. I will be sharing this with my friends to convince them once and for all that low-sugar or sugar-free drinks are bad news!

    One problem, however. Under the Preservatives section, you say “benzene can form a carcinogen and kill DNA cells…”
    DNA is found within each and every cell in the body, in the nucleus and mitochondria specifically. It is not, however, a cell itself. Therefore, it also cannot be “killed.” DNA’s structure can, however, be damaged via a number of mechanisms, therefore leading to abnormal cell function. The source you link to (The Independent) states that, damage to the mitochondrial DNA is the culprit, and in this case, causes such severe damage as the completely inactivate it.
    Additionally, although you are correct about benzene causing DNA damage, the article you reference to only goes as far as explaining it as being a carcinogen. The part that discusses DNA damage refers to benzoate.
    So if I may; to correct the error and perhaps make the info more clear, I would recommend stating the following: the combination of sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid produces benzene, a carcinogenic substance. Additionally, benzoate damages mitochondrial DNA so severely as to inactivate it, thus causing the cell the seriously malfunction.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Carlo Gerst

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  4. Ian

    I think im just going to drink water.

    • Pamela Poor (to Ian)

      Water with Lemon has become my go to beverage recently. I have been experimenting with throwing in a bruised leaf of Lemon Balm, or other herbs from my garden from time to time to change it up.
      Normally I use Meyer lemons of Key limes from our small trees, but they are not producing this year due to the weather, so I am forced to buy lemons from the grocery store and I severely srub their skins before cutting them and
      putting them in my water bottle. .

      • Laura (to Pamela Poor)

        Just be careful with the citrus as it can cause serious damage to your teeth. Personally, I squeeze a lemon or lime into a cup with a little warm water and drink it straight followed by water the rest of the day.

    • Fox (to Ian)

      Why not? Water is the only liquid we really need. I drink some coffee and an occasional beer, but all day long I drink water. Got the Britta filter pitcher right at my desk.

  5. DAN

    There are things to be afraid of… like oranges.

    If an orange had a real composition label, it would say this…

    Water, glucose, fructose, galactose, phenolic glycosides, 6-deoxyaldohexoses (fuctose and rhamnose), saccharose, galacturonans, (1-4) linked D-galactopiranuronic acid, pectin, pectinic acids, polygalacturonic acids, pectinestarase, Citric Acid, L-Malic Acid, D-Isocitric Acid, Oxalic Acid, Succinic Acid, Malonic Acid, Quinic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Adipic Acid, 2-ketogluratic Acid, praline, asparagines, aspartic acid, serine, glutamic acid and arginine. oxidoreductases, transferases, hydrolases and lyases, isomerases and ligases, glucosilglucerides, Carotenoids, tetraterpenes, limonin, aslimonoic acid A-ring lactone, neohesperidosides, flavones (3-hydroxyflavanones, 3-dydroxyflavones, O-glycosyl, aglycones C-glycosylflavones, Anthocyanins, (hesperidin, naringin, poncirin, neoheriocitrin, neohesperidin, rhoifolin, rutin, diosmin, sinensetin, auranetin, tangeritin, hydroxyethylrutinosideres, nobiletin cyanidin-3-glucoside, cyanidina-3.5-diglucoside, peonidin-5-glucoside, delphinidin-3-glucoside, petunidin-3-glucoside, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Pholacine, Vitamin B6, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Biotin, Pantotenic acid, Vitamin A.

    Are you afraid yet?

    • Francine (to DAN)

      I am scared to death!!!!! Are you kidding me?

      • DAN (to Francine)

        Not kidding, that is the chemical composition of an orange.

      • Sarah (to Francine)

        Those are just sugars and enzymes. Don’t scare people with a whole list of science words when they don’t have the educational background to understand – its not fair to do to people. Sugars. And enzymes.

    • MilwGuy (to DAN)

      Can you please provide an accredited reference for this information?

    • Christine (to DAN)

      I hear you there is stuff in all the food. However, so many people drink several cans a day of diet drinks. They might only eat one orange in a week…if any.

      • DAN (to Christine)

        Not to get too far in the weeds…. the most complex material in colas is caramel coloring. The chemistry of caramel, where a single compound (most commonly sucrose) becomes thousands of other compounds, is not well understood. In fact, soft drink producers using caramel coloring were supposed to be removing at least one of the more problematic compounds, leaving the thousands of others.

        Without caramel coloring, soft drinks with water, sweetener, citric or phosphoric acid, flavoring (which can be simple or complex), generally contain fewer chemical compounds than other items like oranges or anything else that does not have a true compositional label. Much of this is 101 food chemistry.

      • Mackenzie (to Christine)

        In all fairness, the complexity of a molecule is not the only factor in determining how safe it is to eat. The mere fact that an orange has more complex molecules than some of the ingredients in soda proves this very point. While people may try to argue that sodas and diet sodas are not entirely detrimental to your health, no one could possibly successfully argue that oranges are worse for you than diet sodas (with exceptions like allergies, of course). Therefore, you are using your basic understanding of chemistry to unsuccessfully undermine food babe’s arguments. While I may not have taken food science, I am a 4.0 gpa pre-med student with a pretty solid understanding of both chemistry and biology, so nice try, but no.

    • Waldz (to DAN)

      OMGz chemicals in oranges?? BLASPHEMY!! Never eating oranges again, because everyone knows chemicals=cancer.

      • jess (to Waldz)

        the composition of an orange is not that bad and could be considered WONDERFULLY simple compared to sodas and other ARTIFICIAL food where they add toxic chemical compounds to change it. oranges happen to be considered very healthy especially if eaten in moderation. BTW not ALL chemicals=cancer

    • Tadd (to DAN)

      That is awesome, Dan. Very useful and informative.

    • Fox (to DAN)

      I trust what nature put together a lot more than what profit-hungry corporations have put together in their labs.

    • Joey (to DAN)

      Thank you Dan! All consumables can be broken down and scare the crap out of most people. It can be found that more people have been killed by water than coca colas. Has anyone really tested there water lately! LOL!

    • cola666 (to DAN)

      That comment of Dans is the single most ridiculous thing i think i’ve ever heard..

      I truly hope people are being sarcastic when they make comments such as ‘thank you Dan! Awesome Dan!’

      . I think Dan works for coke…

      • DAN (to cola666)

        Cola666 — I am a chemist. I do not work for Coke, although I earned my degree in the shadow of their corporate headquarters. You do not believe that the composition of food is far more complex than the simplified labels we have on our food? Everything we consume, everything around us, is much more complex than we assume. I point you towards any article on caramelization, or maillard browning reactions, or any of the currently in vogue cooking chemistry books out there. Harold McGee writes some great ones for chemists and non-chemists alike.

  6. Kristina Crowder

    Just a few things…I lost 30 lbs when i switched from regular soda to diet. And the American Cancer society says aspartame does not cause cancer and is safe.

    • DrStein (to Kristina Crowder)

      You lost weight because you decreased your calorie intake. You would have done the same if you had drunk water, only you wouldn’t have the same toxicity risk. I deal with this all the time in my practice – people get sick after long term consumption of these chemicals. The ACA does not tout it as safe nor do they assure it doesn’t cause cancer, they simply say there is “not enough evidence.” I and many other physicians and scientists disagree. It likely isn’t just aspartame, but a combination of the chemicals people eat on a regular basis thus increasing toxicity. It’s always good to check who has funded the study before taking their results as factual. Unfortunately, just because it comes from a non-profit or even a government agency, it doesn’t mean it’s true. I could care less about grammar errors or typos, I’m just glad people like Food Babe are getting the info out there and at least starting the conversation whether you agree or not. You can drive yourself crazy by trying to avoid every chemical out there. But at least being educated about what are now becoming issues, you can make smarter choices about what you and your family expose yourselves to on a regular basis.

  7. RD13

    I feel like the Food Babe makes some realistic points, but unfortunately, grammar errors and typos distract readers from the story and theme – at least in the beginning of her essay. I would like to know what study she is referring to that “proves” that artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite. I doubt that the research study she is referring to “proves” any specific thing, and probably more likely shows a link or correlation, but I do not have the study to review.

    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics position paper on nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners states

    “It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition
    and Dietetics that consumers can safely enjoy
    a range of nutritive and nonnutritive
    sweeteners when consumed within an eating
    plan that is guided by current federal
    nutrition recommendations, such as the Dietary
    Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary
    Reference Intakes, as well as individual
    health goals and personal preference.”

    Find the entire position paper here:

    • Mary (to RD13)

      Well, all I had to see was the word, “Dietician,” and I can ignore the rest of the writing on, “their position.” I would rather go to a Certified Nutritionist, who really knows how to eat clean food. I do have respect for a few dieticians I have met because they have taken a good look at how they were trained and the information they received, and have changed all that by support good, healthy nutrition.
      Oh, and don’t be co pompous! Yes there may be some errors in grammar, but when research, and write as much as the, Food Babe, does, there are bound to be mistakes, unless you would like to go to work for her. You seem to know everything!

      • Kimberly (to Mary)


      • Yup it's me (to Mary)

        I have a very dear friend who is a Dietician and an otherwise intelligent person. However she sees no problem letting her children snack on such things as pop tarts and mountain dew. Even “in moderation” this is bad stuff!

  8. Steve

    Here’s a different perspective:

    • Aline (to Steve)

      Steve, thank you. Whilst Food Babe does reference some studies, there are a lot of claims here that I find difficult to accept because they are unsubstantiated. She lost me at her claims about Aspartame . The most dangerous substance? I would like the scientific studies that support this statement. On the internet, it seems that if something is repeated often enough, it becomes fact.

      • still me (to Aline)

        How about you take your head out of the sand, spend about 5 minutes on the internet or Dr Mercola’s site and find out for yourself about these studies you claim to refute or otherwise want proof of? Maybe then you’ll take you head out of your ass and stop trying to defend your consumption of liquid crap.

  9. Steve

    Here’s an opinion from the associate professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Seems this guy’s opinion ought to be considered as well? Or is Food Babe the de facto source of all things “true” about the food industry? A great line from this article is… “But we shouldn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.”

  10. Aaron

    Erythritol is actually very well absorbed by the body unlike other sugar alcohols and there is little evidence of side effects when consuming it and it also has anti-inflammatory effects on the body, meaning it could actually be health promoting.

    • Terry Simmons (to Aaron)

      I’m glad you made this comment. Erythritol is a naturally occuring sugar alcohol found in fruits. Look it up for yourselves.

  11. Shiva

    Protein powders, whey protein powders, soy protein powders. What is really in these things?

  12. Destiney

    I have to admit I am addicted to diet Dr Pepper I know how horrible it is, but holy cow I am like the exorcist when I try to cut it out. Honestly I feel so bad for my husband each time I try to quite. I don’t care what people say that crap is addictive and is making me sick. I have a serious choice to make… mood swings and headaches for a few weeks or feeling like the energy has been sucked out of me. I made a stupid mistake and the one time I did quit I added it back a year later because I took sugar and corn syrup out of my diet and was craving sweet … worst mistake I have made.

  13. Eric

    Yes Coca Cola is not good for you, but no one is making you drink it.

  14. Joe

    May I please see the studies which tell you aspartame is going to cause cancer? May I see the studies that support all of your other claims?

    People reading this, here is the truth:

    Diet Soda will not HARM you. Believe it or not people, the body is very good at regulating itself. If diet soda were really that harmful to you, do you think people would still drink it? If it truly caused all these problems, why would so many consumers buy it?

    The gentleman who stated that the American Cancer Society says aspartame does not cause cancer is 100% correct. It is not harmful.

    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also agrees.

    “It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition
    and Dietetics that consumers can safely enjoy
    a range of nutritive and nonnutritive
    sweeteners when consumed within an eating
    plan that is guided by current federal
    nutrition recommendations, such as the Dietary
    Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary
    Reference Intakes, as well as individual
    health goals and personal preference.”

    What does this mean, well basically, as long as you are already eating a balanced diet, you are fine.

    This is basic stuff. I’m a Nutrition/Exercise Science Undergrad and we learned this in the 3rd week of class.



    • Chris (to Joe)

      Scary to have you as one of our future industry “experts”. Just because you were taught that in the first few weeks of your schooling doesn’t mean it’s true – but it does indicate just how willingly you swallow the disinformation.

      • Bethany (to Chris)

        Chris – Amen. What an industry sucker. less than 100 years ago, doctors and “experts” were recommending smoking for your health. They too ignored FACTS and merely passed on what they were taught by those who were having their bills and vacations paid for by the very companies who produce the crap in the first place. It’s all just a big scam. It really is. Such a shame. I’m also an undergrad in health and human performance with a focus in dietetics but luckily I’m not an idiot, I think for myself, and I’m not stupid enough to believe that drinking diet coke (or anything artificial for that matter) is “fine.”

    • Crystal (to Joe)

      And how many keep smoking, knowing cigarettes cause cancer? How many people have you ever heard say “Well, I
      am going to die of something” it’s a very popular excuse to keep doing something they know is wrong and potentially fatal. When they taught you, did they show you the thousands of people each year that have issues with aspartame? How about the children it has caused to be sick? Teaching one side of an issue is not teaching, it’s giving the school a sponsor who will keep donating.

    • Fox (to Joe)

      Keep drinking it. I won’t.

    • mandy (to Joe)

      You cannot claim drinking diet soda will not harm you. You have no idea what the long term effects will be. I majored in exercise science and let me tell you that the opinions on a lot of what I was taught have CHANGED!! For example at one time trans fats were considered safe. Now we know they are not safe-even in moderation they are not safe. Always keep up your education in this field because nutrition views shift as scientists learn more and more. It is always best to stick to whole foods rather than convenient processed food. Diet soda and soda in general is not good for you- I thought that was obvious. This article just gives us more ideas/theories of just how bad it may be. Until we know more it needs to be avoided!!

  15. CK581

    Hey, you know what would be keen? 600 studies confirming the safety of GMO’s….OH WAIT

  16. CK581

    You know what else would be cool? An examination of current aspartame safety…OH WAIT

  17. savitha

    I am also worried about the amount of plastic bottles and cans that get generated in the name of selling beverages. There is a huge amount of plastic getting spewed all around because of such packaging. Now its done for water too (kinley bottles).

  18. Christine Gary

    Vani, why don’t you link to any of the “studies” you list to prove your point. I came upon your site and thought that with your managerial consulting background, you’d bring a level of professionalism and due diligence to your content. Please, if you think your voice is powerful now, consider how far-reaching it could be if you backed it with credible sources and not hearsay.

    I’m talking about this paragraph: “A study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences shows that GM food is indeed contributing to the obesity epidemic. The study found that GM corn fed to mice led to an increase in overall body weight of about 3.7 percent, while also increasing the weight of the liver by up to 11 percent.

    The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), reported studies that show GMOs responsible for faulty insulin regulation and therefore advise their patients to have GMO-free diets.” ….. WHAT STUDIES are you talking about??? I’d love to know.

    Thank you for spreading truth, and I look forward to reading more,

  19. Liz

    The toxicological review on caramel color that you link to here: “A high dose of this known carcinogen is proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice.” Actually says this on page 13 under “Carcinogenicity”: “Information on the carcinogenicity of 2- and 4-methylimidazole in experimental animals or humans was not found in the literature.”
    You should probably do your research, or at least review the links you are using before you post them.

  20. Tony Velez

    hey, what about zevia ?? what are your thoughts, as it does have Erythritol it is actually very well absorbed by the body unlike other sugar alcohols and there is little evidence of side effects when consuming it and it also has anti-inflammatory effects on the body, meaning it could actually be health promoting ( comment stolen from aaron )

  21. cayla

    As a student in the nutrition and dietetics field, you should research, from actual accredited sources, first, before posting. It’s sites like this one that we encourage people to look away from. Only visit sites and postings from accreditated places. I hate these misleading posts.

  22. Stephanie

    Thanks Vani for this AWESOME post!!

    I am sharing with everyone :)

    My awesome Dad loves sugar free/low sugar things, and of course is trying to do something “better” for himself with his choices. I shared your diet drinks/Vita Water article with him and it really stuck!. He said, ”So basically, i’m drinking the least of the worst… not so good” ;) he was referring to Vitamin Water he has “upgraded to” from diet sodas. He is well on his way. Knowledge is power and he is taking big steps in the right direction -thanks to people like you. He is off diet sodas for a while now and heading away from Vitamin Water too. I always say – at least if we understand what’s going on behind the scenes we have a chance to make a choice! We don’t have to be perfect but just try to apply things 1 by 1, as we learn – and then big changes happen really fast :) It’s unstoppable, because we just can’t let each other eat dangerous non-foods!

    Thanks again! – You rock :)

  23. Tash

    Prefer smoothies? Think again:

    Totally agree with Aline (above) regarding the fact that if things are repeated enough they become fact.
    There are so many scaremongering like this one. I mean one diet coke every once in a while isn’t going to kill anyone. However drink 3000 cans/day and yes it will kill you.

    For example the website killer coke states on one of their stories: “Natasha Harris died Feb. 25, 2010 from a cardiac arrhythmia, according to a 19-page coroner’s report obtained by And while Harris, a mother of eight from Invercargill, New Zealand, was known to smoke heavily and skip multiple meals, coroner David Crerar concluded that the sugar and caffeine she got by drinking more than 2.6 gallons of Coca-Cola Classic per day was ‘a substantial factor” in her death.’ ”
    In this quote they are scaring people into believing that Coca cola is incredibly dangerous. The fact is she was drinking 2.6 gallons!! failed to share the rest of the story as published on the “We concur with the information shared by the coroner’s office that the grossly excessive ingestion of any food product, including water, over a short period of time with the inadequate consumption of essential nutrients, and the failure to seek appropriate medical intervention when needed, can be dramatically symptomatic.”

    Over than the excessive quantity of water, it is common knowledge that a tin coca- contains a ridiculous amount of sugar (39g) and this lady was drinking the equivalent of approx 30 cans a day = approx 1.2 kg of sugar per day. 50 apples would contain the same amount of sugar and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be feeling so good after 50 apples?

    It requires half a cup of apple seeds to overdose on cyanide, so yeh, you would have a longer life expectancy drinking 1.2 kg of sugar from coke than apples. Not to mention the arsenic in apples.

    I’m not defending Coca-cola and the like, but I’m getting a little fed up with all the scaremongering out there! I have a mother who has told my brother not to drink tapwater as it contains estrogen because some internet article told her so! What’s his alternative? Bottled water? Wait! That contains bisphenol – A. Oh wait let’s let him dye from dehydration?

    People need to use their own minds to work out what is healthy or not and put everything into context. Most of all: everything in moderation!

  24. Steveo

    Where are your studies that show it is OK?

  25. Alda

    We are what we eat and drink, done in MODERATION we should be o.k. Look at food lables, keep away as much as possible from preservatives stop buying readymade meals, while the water is boiling to cook the pasta/veg ect. you can chop up up some tomatoes ,onions & make a sauce, yes it can be interesting. LEARN TO COOK SIMPLE FOOD ! If you have them, teach your kids to cook, make it fun !
    Buy locally, and buy fruit/ veg in season, imported produce is gathered before it is ripe,make sure eggs, poultry and meat is from free range animals if possible. Above all ………. Don’t waste food buy what you need, you’ll find your grocery bills will be less, that helps !! Enjoy your food and when you can, walk WITHOUT anything like an ipod, pedometer, ect.ect. Just comfortable shoes and look around you , get a group of friends to join in the fun, make a project with the kids look at map and decide where you will go . I’ll stop just here and let you all come up with great ideas . Keep in touch through this fantastic website which I have just discovered !

    • speak on (to Alda)

      Yup! You speak the truth! No one NEEDS processed food and most times you can make it from scratch in the same amount of time and healthier to boot!

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  27. jfro

    While I love these informative posts, I always am disappointed when you don’t include some healthy alternatives. How about at the end of the article, say here is what you SHOULD buy when faced with these choices at your local gas station or grocery store. Yes you are probably left with only water, but still … the average American pops into a store to grab a drink and grabs what is most familiar to them. It would be nice to know if there were some nationally available brands of juice or flavored water that are non-GMO and without additives.

    • Fox (to jfro)

      It’s not that hard to figure out. Carbonted water with essential oil based flavors (Trader Joe’s has it, so do most other grocery stores), organic teas, organic fruit juices, Kombucha.

  28. Karleigh

    check out this hilarious “love letter” to diet coke!

  29. sonny leonard

    I am going onto my 90th year For the past 40 years I drink four to five cups of strong coffee in the am, I use a sweetener called Splenda,I am fairly healthy and most people think I am in my early 70′s. I can’t believe all those things I read on these pages has anything whatsoever to do with my health,I am in good health because I am just Lucky and in my opinion I am aging slower than most people again its the luck of the draw…so people enjoy your life and live for those things that make you happy or satisfied NO BODY LIVES FOREVER

    • Traci (to sonny leonard)

      I dont believe you! Proove it.
      actually, you are trained to think this way. You are in your 70′s so you are not used to research on the internet. If you were, and you looked up these ingredients yourself, and did research on the health problems associated with them, then you would know, but you are almost dead anyway.. so why would you care.

      You are not aging slower than most people.. you are on your way to dieing just like everyone else, like you said. Matter of fact, you are a consumer and they have you just where they want you, buying their products..

      What makes you happy? adrenals that are exhausted and blood sugar problems? if thats what you are used too.. But i know what its like to have a healthy body.

      if you are in “good” health, you are right its just luck. Because you are eating poision whether you believe it or not.


      • Kristin (to Traci)

        YOU should be ashamed of yourself Traci. Telling a person that they are almost dead anyway? It’s because of the snobbish comments of these readers that I rarely read this blog, and your comment put me over the edge. Your so brave through the keys of a message board. I thought that these blogs were meant to inform people, not tear them down and treat people like trash. Your comment was completely inappropriate and you owe this person a deep apology. Be ashamed of yourself.

      • Traci (to Traci)

        You are right, i had a really bad day and was pissy to the whole world. I take back the mean words, im sorry Sonny. I just want everyone to be healthy and to have good choices when it comes to food. I am living in Germany where there are VERY few good choices and its irritating! I cant stand the ingredient list but the people turn a blind eye to the truth, just like I heard Sonny saying.

        I do find it super duper important to make good food choices because like Food Babe says, you CAN live to 100 and feel great if you eat great. I see a population in Germany that is mainly Old folks! The people in their 20-30s are putting off making babies for the sake of money.. so the culture here starts to have their first kid at the age of 40!!! But what I find SAD is that lots (not every1 of course) old people (and young ones too) are sick with all sorts of health problems, so when i read the food label, I know why!!! POISON!

        When my daughter eats food here, she most usually breaks out in a localized rash around her mouth, I believe its Pesticides, which I believe she is being poisoned! We eat organic as much as possible because when we do, this does NOT happen!
        People are in such denial about ingredients and health problems associated with it and trust the grocery stores and food companies because they recognize a label or see the marketing behind the products.
        I really hope Sonny does live a long life and I am glad that he already has lived as long as he does and feels great. I don’t wish bad things on people, but I do have bad days. My life is not so happy in the moment. I struggle with food. The Organic stores here are not offering anything super great and of course the prices are unbelievable. I will post photos if I can of the stores.. its really disappointing.
        I mean how great can an organic pig be? And the shelves are lined with Organic Corn, and Organic Wheat crackers( is that a genetically modified seed, we dont know, its not labeled, but it was planted in organic dirt) How about Organic soy.. is that also a GM seed? most likely. anyway..

        I want you to know I am just as ‘Brave’ in person to be mean, its not hidden behind the keyboard. I really want to work on presentation of my words, because behind these mean words is a need that is not being met. I guess identifying the need would be better before posting my feelings online.. so have a great day Kristin, and Sonny, thank you for your comments and may peace and love fill your day as you embrace your Life.. Namaste.

  30. packardgoose

    You nut jobs would eat dog poop if it was good for you. Let’s see, I can go through life drinking only water and live to be 90, or a can have a soda or beer in moderation and live to be 85. We spend a short time living and a long time in the ground. I’ll take 85 and enjoy my time topside.

    • Fox (to packardgoose)

      Well, yes, but I would argue that your health and quality of life in the later years, say from 60-85, is likely to be better if you eat healthy and exercise all your life.

  31. Gerald

    All those soft drink company can take a flying leap. No one should consume their poisons, ever.

  32. Lucky

    Nice article. I always like to read how processed foods and beverages can kill. But we should remember that everything in the environment kills. Even oxygen and water kills when they are taken in abundance. Oxygen can even kills when it is transformed into superoxide by normal process of metabolism. So, moderation is the key. I will not stop eating and drinking good foods just because of some ‘poisons’ that kill only when they are taken in excess and regularly. Anyway, it’s always good to know what things can do to our body.


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  34. Flash

    I read many articles on the internet— your probably correct on your posts— however, a percentage of readers like to see documentation reference— I do— it wouldn’t hurt— over all your a hard working person with a strong interest in helping people eat healthy which is a good thing— keep up the good work———————- “Flash” wish it was CASH— LOL—

  35. Traci

    I think its best to feed your kids before they go to school and send them with something to eat. Its less expensive than the health problems in the long run.
    Dont get on the governments food program! Dont eat what they recommend.

    Our food in Germany is Poisioned! Its practically impractical to find good food here. I am so wishing this news would hit Germany. You would think all the rules and regulations would clean our food, but the major food companies like Aldi, Lidl and Norma and Netto, are loaded full of poision. Cant find a descent food. Now they claim to have a line of “Organic” but I wonder just how far that product is organic.. I dont believe them.

    Anyway, so glad that you are on this food hunt, food babe!

  36. Gina

    Kind of unrelated but does anyone know anything about the drink La Croix? I love them because they have zero everything. Just carbonated and slightly flavored water. I just question how they can have flavor without additives. Anyone???

  37. Dave

    More than three years ago I was working 40 hours a week and commuting three hours a day. For over eight years I drank one 16 oz bottle of regular Coke with lunch just about everyday M – F, then perhaps a 12 oz can with dinner about four days of the week. Eventually on some days I was drinking another 16 oz bottle in the late afternoons just to keep going before the end of the work day. I loved it, and I loved Coke, but after 8 years I put on about 22 extra pounds, had so little energy, couldn’t sleep at nights and constantly felt hungry. Eventually I found myself staying in bed on the weekends I was so wiped out. I eventually burned out, lost my job and had so little capacity to get out of bed. It was horrible. I didn’t even have the energy to exercise during most of that time because I was getting home some nights at 9:30. The doctors were useless in helping and only wanted to give me antidepressants. I said no, and started to look elsewhere for answers. I educated myself further and did lots of research which led me to eliminating processed foods (especially the white ones), sugars, SODAS, and instead stick to a diet of natural foods (40% raw vegetables & some fruits), water, little milk, multivitamins and 400 mg of magnesium citrate daily. It took about a year, but slowly and surely I got better where now I have only minor sore muscles in my back and legs in the evenings. Those are slowly going away and I expect in about 12 more months I will be at least 95% recovered. All in all, my advise to those smart enough to really look at this, is to keep away from all those processed foods, cookies, cakes, and especially SODAS. I believe having any of these one in a while and or in very small quantities is OK, but otherwise, keep yourself and your kids away as much as you can, but also educate them to be responsible about all these processed foods and sugars as well. GL.

  38. Kathleen Boehmig

    I think the pertinent information is clearly stated: sodas have synthetic chemicals in them that are not good for you. The big soda companies don’t care because they want to sell as much as possible. The fact is, there are people with little or no self control who will consume sodas in excess & make many other poor diet choices. The first step to better health is knowledge. I appreciate Food Babe raising the level of awareness so we can make better choices…typos & detailed references or not. We can take it from here & do our own subsequent research if necessary.

  39. Michelle

    Could you cite the sources of the GMO studies? In an effort to fight those pro-GMO trolls I find on social media daily, they always ask for scientific studies that prove GMOs are harmful, so I’d like to see those studies please :) I know they’re out there!

  40. Ekiana

    I think it’s quite plain the Coke is bad, but I think people would switch to healthier alternatives if they knew which ones they are. Any suggestions?

  41. Dan

    OK, the majority of the population isn’t gonna understand all the words you used and I’m sure someone else has said it already said but… Moderation, moderation is everything. Anything is great quantities isn’t good. The American obesity epidemic is related to one thing – calories – too many and you gain weight. MODERATION – eat a varied diet, and daily expercise are the basic most important things -

  42. judy

    I support you and love your site, but I want you to come off as credible so that we can convince those who have a more scientific bent. I’m going to help you do that. When you make claims such as,

    “aspartame, which is considered one the most dangerous substances allowed in our food supply”

    you really should provide a citation, or at a bare bones minimum a link to a citation of whatever study your information comes from. It should be a scientifically credible study. If you do not have credible facts from organizations that skeptical people do not consider activist, they will not buy what you are saying. Period. Your reference to the journal article under the GMO heading above is a great example of what you need to do with every claim you make that could be considered controversial. You also should be citing every time you say something causes diabetes, etc. That’s far too important and serious a claim to just say it and hope people believe it.

    Monsanto et al. are using “scientific” claims to discredit you and others who are fighting the good fight and you have to fight fire with fire. There are many people who only believe what science says. If you use that to your advantage, you will be far more likely to persuade them. For now, they look at people fighting this fight as over-the-edge crazies. In order to change that, you need to adopt some of their tactics.

    I called a state senator to argue that she should support a labeling bill. You know what happened? I mentioned the name Monsanto ONCE at the very END of my argument. As soon as I said that word, she went into a tirade about how crazy people want to bring down an entire company and how the science shows that there is no problem with GMO. Well, that is a great example of what a trigger the word Monsanto is for people. People fighting this fight need to stop using it and focus ONLY on the issue at hand.

    The comments sections of blog posts like this are always full of people saying, “Take down Monsanto!” They are seen as crazies by a huge portion of the population. They are dismissed as irrational activists. Being rational is critical to this fight. Please provide more information to back up your arguments so that we can get more people to accept them.

    Again, I support you, but I work around these people, so I know that this is one major flaw in the way this fight is being approached by those fighting it. Just something to think about it and I hope you don’t take offense.

  43. Sue

    Ummmm…..BPA’s are found in plastics not cans as stated in your article….it makes you wonder about the validity of all the other info. I’m not an advocate or drinker of Coke….just like to see accurate info given to people

  44. Gerald

    Why single Coca Cola out? Does Pepsi not produce products that should be included here?

    It makes one wonder…

    • Neco (to Gerald)

      Okay, I want to say I am no expert, scientist or magic health person but I have lost 246 lbs. One of the things I quit drinking was soda not just coke. Not because I buy into the poison crap or chemicals are going to kill me crap but because there is a lot of sugar in sodas. When you don’t burn off all that sugar it is stored away as fat. THAT IS ALL! It’s not going to kill babies or murder you from the inside unless you are drinking a 6 pack everyday! Everything in moderation if you want a soda have one….once every couple of weeks not every hour, not 32oz just one 8oz glass every couple of weeks. It is not a conspiracy or government plot to control your mind. It is company trying to sell a product that is no different than doughnuts, ice cream or cake. Would you eat a slice of cake every few hours…no then don’t drink soda every hour. Check the sugar content and see that a slice of chocolate cake has the same amount of sugar as a 12 oz can of coke….perspective is what it’s really about. Again speaking as a educated, normal person who has researched and discovered the real truth of the matter. I have asked doctors, nutritionist and many trainers all about this food scare crap. It is nothing but garbage and in a few months they will be attacking something else. It is nothing more than media frenze whipped up by health nuts who end up dying of a heartattack in their 30′s on a treadmill in the gym. Why because they do nothing but obcess about thier looks and workingout not truly being healthy. MENTAL HEALTH should be looked at too when talking about weight gain/ loss too because more likely than not the person spouting this garbage has image/parinoid / sizism issues but covers them up by lashing out at others. My advice to people trying to lose weight…find an active thing you love to do and do it everyday. Then find two, then three active things you love to do and do them at least 3 times a week. Don’t forget to use those weights 2-3 per week and never look at working out as a chore look at it as part of your lifestyle. No goofy diets, no starving yourself just eat plenty of veggies, some fruit, ask much water as you can put into your body, minimal meat and animal products and never forget to have a treat once in a while. END OF STORY.

  45. Kristina Kralj

    See what happens when you mix Coca Cola and Milk

  46. Nicole Garcia

    What is a good alternative to Powerade Zero to get electrolytes besides coconut water and pedialyte? I have no large intestine and have been told I need to drink these types of drinks to stay hydrated. Would much rather do something better if this is the case about Powerade Zero.

  47. Budbayview

    I appreciate your passion and generally agree with your philosophy and some of your data in this article. However, I agree with one of the bloggers, that citations are required. All too often, and most innocently, hyperbole is introduced and it distorts the facts.

    For example, the article singles out Erythritol. “Erythritol” found in Vitamin Water Zero is a sugar alcohol the body does not easily digest and is linked to diarrhea, headache and other intestinal disorders.” This is incorrect, erythritol is a sugar alcohol a class of polyol. It most certainly does not cause diarrhea or other intestinal disorders. One of the reasons it is utilized in food science is because it does not promote diarrhea or other intestinal disorders, and does not increase blood sugar.

    There are many sugar alcohols utilized in consumer products and they are chosen based on the criteria and functional need when designing products. Such as temperate sensitivity, texture, taste, mechanisms of action in the body, etc. I am a food scientist and work with high value nutritional foods, and have some experience with ingredient selection. Additionally, there is a large demographic of diabetics that must restrict consumption of glucose in any form. Therefor natural sweeteners are needed.

    Another example is Citric Acid. Citric Acid is present in citrus fruits, hence the name Citric. It is used to adjust PH, flavor, as it provides a sour note.

    Maltodextrin, is a low DE (dextrose equivalent) carbohydrate. It has may uses, but in sports drinks or nutritional products its typical function is to provide a fast assimilating carbohydrate to provide your cells with glucose replenishment.

    Caffeine, is a stimulant, and available as natural chemical in many of nature’s ingredients. It has proven (medical studies) to have positive effects on lowering blood sugar.

    The key, is to read labels, know what you’re consuming, understand how it affects your body, and make an informed choice.
    Aside from some of the obvious synthetic or over processed chemical ingredients, the ones I listed do have a positive purpose and like all things, consume in moderation.

    As a side note, if anyone wants to have total control of their ingredients, I will be happy to show you how you formulate your own sports and nutrition drinks.

  48. Rich

    As a child who grew up drinking soda, literally everyday, because of a family that had ZERO concept of health and nutrition I’ve struggled as an adult to stay away from the sugary stuff. I’ve gone back and forth quite a few times, but those few times that I went months without drinking soda, I felt AND LOOKED like a completely different person. Lost weight, skin looked amazing, eyes were brighter, more alert, more energy when waking up in the AM — the difference is night and day. I’m now going through a detox and trying to get kick the habit for good finally.

    I’m so tired of soda – buying it, being addicted to it, knowing firsthand how unbelievable unhealthy it is, and these awful corporations that just flat out don’t care about the children and/or adults consuming their crap poison. I would be lying to myself if I said I wasn’t worried about the damage I’ve already done (I’m now 37) to my body from all the soda I’ve consumed over the years.

    At any rate, I have to research articles like these nearly daily to remind myself why I need to stay on track.. This article by far is the best I’ve come across. Thanks for writing it.

  49. Sara

    Came to this site through a Facebook friend. I gave up soda (mostly diet) a few years ago, did nothing else & lost 9 pounds immediately. I might have regular coke about 3 times a year. I didn’t like the taste of diet soda & it increased my appetite – apparently our bodies don’t recognize feeling full when we drink diet soda, Now I drink either plain water or sparkling mineral water & I’m fine.

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  51. Michael (to )

    Um .. if her typos take away her creditably … what about the data and research she has in this post. I’d say her creditably is just fine .. she is looking out for you … dial it down.

  52. Kai (to Michael)

    Where are all the references to her data and research?


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