Diet Coke Zero

Posted by on Mar 26, 2009 in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

I never thought a day would come when I would drink diet soda. And I really never thought a day would come when I would prefer diet soda over its sweeter, stickier, calorie laden counterpart. But the sugar content in soda is alarming. And I am no longer a 20-something with an overactive metabolism. And anyway, I have grown to dislike ultra-sweet things in my old age.

This is not to say that diet soda is a good idea. I don’t even know what is in the stuff. Reading the label makes me feel like an idiot. Like I did in high school chemistry. There are letters – vowels and consonants – strung together to form words, or at least, what look like words. But there is no comprehension. At all.

Acesulfame potassium? Um. OK.

But I am belaboring my greater quest. And today that has little to do with whether or not diet soda is good for you. It’s not. No, I seek a more nuanced goal, a more noble conclusion. A great and terrible secret that lies hidden in the depths of some corporate vault – that is – I seek to know the difference between Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

If there is one.

Both are zero calorie, zero sugar drinks. They are both marketed to the diet soda crowd, and they both claim to taste “even better than the real thing” (Or was that Pespi? Or U2?). So, really they are both “diet” Cokes. But they are not the same. Except they sort of are.

The two drinks taste slightly different from one another. But not really. They come in different cans. Diet Coke in a classy silver, Coke Zero in a stylish black. Diet Coke has a “with lime” variety, whereas Coke Zero has a “with cherry” version. Which is awesome. It really is. But then, after Fatty’s summer Tri last year the D.C. w/ Lime was also incredible. So they both taste (relatively) good. They both are diet drinks, and they both are made by Coca-Cola.

So really, is there any difference at all?

Perhaps a short anecdote will help prove once and for all that yes, indeed there is a difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke.

A few years ago I was working on an edit of a documentary film. The film was nearly finished. We were more or less just sitting down to watch the movie from end to end. Make notes, watch for any hiccups, that sort of thing. We gathered at the studio, and before we hit the play button, raided the fridge. Inside was a case of Diet Coke, and a case of Coke Zero. I stared, a little puzzled, at the cases and asked:

“Whats the difference between the two?”

“You don’t know?”

“Uh, no…”

“Look at the cans.”

“They are…different colors?”

“One is silver and the other is black.”


“It’s simple. Diet Coke is for chicks. Coke Zero is for dudes.”

And there you have it.

Exit Question: Diet or Zero?


  1. rp
    March 26, 2009

    It turns out the difference is in the taste they are trying to simulate. Diet Coke is based on the formula for “New Coke.” Remember that failed experiment from the 80’s? Well, Diet Coke is all that remains.

    Coke Zero is trying to simulate the taste of Coke, a.k.a. Coke Classic.

    Yeah, I had to have this explained to me as well.

  2. Ski Bike Junkie
    March 26, 2009

    I thought the difference was in the sweeteners. One nutra sweet, the other splenda. Am I wrong?

    Either way, further evidence that I am gay: I prefer diet coke.

    Not only that, after the novelty wore off, I decided that I really didn’t care for diet coke with lime. If I have it now, unless I am really, really thirsty, like 3/4 the way down lone peak when I ran out of water and diet coke two hours ago thirsty, I find the with lime variety tastes like I think battery acid would taste, were I to actually drink it.

    That said, it’s nowhere near as bad as diet pepsi with lemon.

  3. StupidBike
    March 26, 2009

    Poison or Sugar?
    Poison or Sugar?

    I like sugar, real sugar, mexi coke sugar or Jarrito sugar or hippy, whole foods soda sugar.

    No poison or HFCS for me thank you.

  4. Grizzly Adam
    March 26, 2009

    Bob, that is why I like Jones Soda so much.

  5. StupidBike
    March 26, 2009

    I may actually have a sugar problem, like addiction, like I’m lucky I’m not diabetic, but my metabolism has ramped up in my 40’s.

    I’m holding on as long as i can.

  6. dug
    March 26, 2009

    no, no, no.

    coke zero is diet coke trying to taste like coke.

    diet coke tries to taste like diet coke.

    just like the old ad says, i drink diet coke “just for the taste of it.” cuz it’s yummy.

    if you like coke, but don’t want the calories, drink coke zero. if you like the taste of diet coke, drink diet coke.

    if you are afraid of pharmaceuticals, drink jones soda.

  7. Di
    March 26, 2009

    StupidBike is right: poison or sugar.

    Straight from the Coca-Cola web site (it took me a while to find this information):

    * Coke Zero – “… this soft drink is sweetened with a blend of aspartame and acesulfame potassium (Ace K).” I remember this was originally sweetened with Splenda.

    * Diet Coke – it doesn’t say for diet coke (the web site), but aspartame is the “known” ingredient.

    I don’t drink a lot of soda, because I drink a lot of beer. I need to choose my calories. 😉 However, when I do drink soda, I opt for the Mexican Coca-Cola. THAT is classic. It is also super yummy and produces the ultimate Coke burp. 😀

  8. KanyonKris
    March 26, 2009

    An illuminating discussion. I never knew…

  9. dug
    March 26, 2009

    “* Diet Coke – it doesn’t say for diet coke (the web site), but aspartame is the “known” ingredient.”

    maybe not on the website, but on this silver can i’ve got in my hand (my third this afternoon), it says aspartame in clear, english letters.

    yum. one man’s kryptonite is another man’s viagra.

  10. Kallas Family
    March 29, 2009

    TO add further to the question, what about Coca Cola Light? Not marketed in america it is familar to those of us who have lived outside the united states (in my case caribbean). It is supposedly Diet Coke rebadged with a different name. Why, I am not sure, and I swear it tastes different anyway, and of all of the no calorie drinks it is by far my favorite.


  11. primetime formerly known as slyfox
    March 31, 2009

    diet sodas make you fat, forget the calories and put chemicals in your body.

    hfcs, bad but tastes good. mexi coke has real sugar.

    diet drinks make you fat, but then you say, oh well i know a skinny guy who rides his bike 20 hrs a week who drinks a gallon of diet coke a day…

    well if that skinny guy didnt do jack, like the rest of america he too would be walking around 300 pounds with a 100 oz maverick mug of diet soda wondering… hmmm i drink this diet crap all day long and why do i weigh 300 pounds…

    stay away from chemicals, eat/drink real food.

    pretty simple

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