Is Diet Coke really harmful to your health
What you should know about Coca-Cola
Table of Contents
- What is Coca-Cola actually made of?
- Coca-Cola is considered a sugar bomb. How much is really in there?
- Is that why Cola Zero or Cola Light are the healthier alternatives?
- Does Coca-Cola give you brown teeth?
- Did Coca-Cola actually invent Santa Claus?
- Does Coca-Cola contain more caffeine than coffee?
- Can Coca-Cola Increase Your Risk of Heart Attack?
- It is said that cola dissolves meat. Is that correct?
- Does cola prevent calcium from being absorbed into the bones?
- Is Coca-Cola a home remedy for diarrhea?
- How do I react if my children want to drink Coca-Cola?
- If I don't want to do without Coca-Cola, how much can I drink of it every day without any problems?
- FAQs - the most common questions
- Is Cola Zero or Diet Coke better?
Sparkling, sweet, delicious: Coke Almost everyone tastes good. However, nutrition experts warn against consuming the soft drink frequently. Is Coca-Cola Really That Unhealthy? Dr. Gisela Olias, biologist and press officer at the German Institute for Nutritional Research (DIfE) in Potsdam, Monika Bischoff, qualified ecotrophologist and head of the Center for Nutritional Medicine and Prevention, and Silke Restemeyer, qualified ecotrophologist at the German Nutrition Society (DGE) interesting answers.
1. What is Coca-Cola actually made of?
The recipe of Coca-Cola is considered to be one of the best kept secrets in the world. In 1886 the pharmacist John S. Pemberton originally developed the drink in Atlanta (USA) as a remedy for headaches and tiredness. By 1903, the product marketed as medicine at the time is said to have contained extracts from coca leaves - hence the name Coca-Cola. To this day, the company denies that there was ever traces of cocaine in the soft drink. The recipe remains a mystery to this day. Scientists have deciphered the central components of Coca-Cola: The drink consists of water, carbonic and phosphoric acid, sugar, caramel for the color as well as extracts from the cola nut and caffeine. But the exact composition of the aromas remains well guarded and thus shrouded in legend.
2. Coca-Cola is considered a sugar bomb. How much is really in there?
Sweet and aromatic - that's how soft drink fans describe the taste of Coca-Cola. Every German drinks almost 42 liters of the brown fizzy drink every year. Even though the drink contains a lot of sugar. “A glass of Coca-Cola (250 ml) contains around 27 grams of sugar. That's around nine to ten sugar cubes, ”says Monika Bischoff, ecotrophologist and head of the Center for Nutritional Medicine and Prevention in Munich. That's more than half of what the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends for daily sugar consumption. Accordingly, one should consume a maximum of ten percent of the daily energy requirement in the form of the sweetener - an average of around 50 grams or 17 sugar cubes a day. The cult lemonade should therefore be enjoyed with caution. "However, one must not forget that the sugar content in fruit juices is similar to that in cola," says Bischoff, who warns against using the drinks as a thirst quencher. Coca-Cola and juices are luxury drinks. If you consume too much of it, you risk becoming overweight, which among other things increases the risk of developing diabetes mellitus.
3. Is that why Cola Zero or Cola Light are the healthier alternatives?
"Real taste and zero sugar" - with this slogan the company Coca-Cola Germany advertised its zero product. But is the consumption of the light variant really recommended? "Cola Zero and Cola light are at least lower in calories than Coca-Cola," says Silke Restemeyer, ecotrophologist from the German Nutrition Society (DGE). She emphasizes: "A can of the drink (0.33 liters) in the light version with sweetener has less than one calorie, Coca-Cola, on the other hand, has 145 calories." However, Cola light & Co. also contain phosphoric acid and caffeine, which is why the drinks should not be enjoyed too often. However, there is no need to worry about the sweetener aspartame, which the sugar-free effervescent products contain. As the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced in December 2013, consumers who do not suffer from the metabolic disorder phenylketonuria (phenylalanine is contained in aspartame) can consume foods containing the sugar substitute without any problems.
4. Do you get brown teeth from Coca-Cola?
Coca-Cola is harmful to your teeth. At least that's what critics of the caffeine drink claim. The fact is: the acidifier in the drink, phosphoric acid, attacks tooth enamel. It loosens calcium from the teeth and increases the risk of tooth decay. For this reason, the soft drink should only be consumed rarely and in small quantities. Incidentally, the same applies to fruit juices, which also attack tooth enamel. "It is a myth that teeth turn brown when you consume Coca-Cola," says ecotrophologist Monika Bischoff, "unless the entire tooth is affected by caries."
5. Did Coca-Cola actually invent Santa Claus?
Red coat, white beard, fluffy pointed hat - these attributes undoubtedly describe Santa Claus, which is so popular with children. However, the widespread assumption that the figure was a clever invention by the Coca-Cola group is wrong - even if Santa Claus adorned the company's advertising banners for years and made the cult drink famous around the world. In fact, the idea of Santa Claus existed as early as the 19th century, as contemporary caricatures show. In 1931, the Cola group used the Santa Claus figure for the first time as a testimonial and resorted to a representation by the Swedish graphic artist Haddon Sundblom. According to a legend, Sundblom is said to have designed Santa Claus based on the model of a neighbor, and later he allegedly even used pictures of himself as a template.
6. Does Coca-Cola contain more caffeine than coffee?
Caffeine is a natural ingredient of some types of plants that has a stimulating effect on our central nervous system and can help to overcome tiredness and increase our ability to concentrate. "Cola contains around 15 milligrams of caffeine per 150 milliliters, coffee as much as 60 to 120 - significantly more," says Dr. Gisela Olias from the German Institute for Human Nutrition (DIfE) in Potsdam. However, one has to consider that many people drink more than 150 milliliters of cola a day. The caffeine expands the coronary arteries and increases the heart rate. "Caffeine is not harmful to adults when consumed in moderation, but in large amounts it can cause restlessness, insomnia, tremors, stomach problems, sweats and a racing heart," warns Olias.
7. Can Coca-Cola increase the risk of a heart attack?
“A new study from the University of Helsinki, which evaluated data from over 500 middle-aged women and men, indicates that high phosphate intake, e.g. B. via cola drinks is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, "says Dr. Gisela Olias from DIfE. The nutrition expert advises people who are already at a higher risk of developing the disease to refrain from consuming soft drinks or to only consume them very rarely. The latter naturally also applies to healthy people. If you drink sugary lemonade too often and in too large quantities, your risk of overweight, obesity and thus also diabetes mellitus increases. All of these factors can affect heart health. In addition to a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, moderate consumption of cola beverages is particularly important if you want to actively prevent a heart attack.
8. It is said that cola dissolves meat. Is that correct?
Cola contains a small amount of phosphoric acid. Can this actually break down a whole steak if you put it in a container with cola? “No, this assumption is just a myth,” says ecotrophologist Monika Bischoff from Munich. The nutrition expert has checked the widespread thesis herself. "Apart from the fact that the meat swells up a little and looks unsavory, nothing happens," says Monika Bischoff. So the all-clear for our stomach health. "Since the pH value of gastric acid is much lower than that of cola and the stomach is protected by its mucous membranes, it should be able to cope with the acid in the cola anyway," emphasizes Dr. Gisela Olias from DIfE.
9. Does cola prevent calcium from being absorbed into the bones?
A study by the Research Institute for Child Nutrition in Dortmund (FKE) indicates that high consumption of sweet drinks - not just cola - has negative effects on bone metabolism. "The more sweet lemonades the young people drank, the lower the mineral content of their bones," says Dr. Gisela Olias from DIfE. The so-called Framingham Osteoporosis Study, in which data from 2500 participants were evaluated, also suggests that cola consumption also negatively affects bone mineralization in adulthood and leads to lower bone density. "The risk of developing osteoporosis can indeed be increased by consuming too much cola," says Monika Bischoff.
10. Is Coca-Cola a home remedy for diarrhea?
With diarrhea, the body loses fluids and minerals. Combating symptoms with cola and the equally popular pretzel sticks isn't very helpful, however. "The high sugar content in the cola increases the excretion of water from the intestines and can even worsen the diarrhea under certain circumstances," warns DGE expert Silke Restemeyer. Instead, we recommend diluted fruit juices, slightly sweetened black or herbal teas as well as self-mixed or glucose-electrolyte solutions available in pharmacies.
11. How do I react if my children want to drink Coca-Cola?
Coca-Cola contains stimulant caffeine and a lot of sugar. The DGE therefore advises against giving children cola or other lemonades to drink. “According to studies, older school children are allowed to drink a maximum of one glass of cola per week, if at all,” says nutrition expert Monika Bischoff. With appropriate consumption, the risk of restricted bone growth, obesity or carious teeth is manageable. Parents should therefore weigh up whether they allow their older children a glass of Coke from time to time. “Strict bans make soft drinks even more interesting for the youngsters. However, consumption should remain an exception, ”advises Dr. Gisela Olias from DIfE.
12. If I don't want to do without Coca-Cola, how much can I drink of it every day without any problems?
Coca-Cola is a luxury product. And this is exactly how the export hit from the USA should always be viewed. "Cola drinks provide a lot of calories, which one could also call" empty calories ", because no important nutrients such as vitamins or minerals are supplied with the cola," says Silke Restemeyer from the DGE. If sweet soft drinks are consumed every day, the risk of obesity and the resulting illnesses increases. For this reason, you should refrain from consuming cola every day. If you still want to treat yourself to a glass of cola more often, you should use the light versions. “But here too, the motto is: keep moderation. After all, they are artificial products that contain caffeine and phosphoric acid, ”says expert Monika Bischoff.
FAQs - the most common questions
Is Cola Zero or Diet Coke better?
First of all: Both Cola Zero and Cola light are no longer available. The products have been replaced by Coca-Cola with Zero Sugar and Light Taste. Both products contain no calories and no sugar. Instead, however, sweeteners are the same: sodium cyclamate, acesulfame K and aspartame. The list of ingredients of the two products is almost identical, only the Cola Zero Sugar contains one acidity regulator more than Zero Taste and there are differences in the flavors. Allegedly, the light product should taste more like the original "light taste" and Zero Sugar should come closer to the classic cola. Which of these is better now seems to be personal preference.
A major difference between the products is the marketing. Cola light has been aimed at a health-conscious fitness movement with mainly women since 1983. The image that light is a women's drink has remained, so Cola Zero was developed and promoted more for men.
From a health point of view, the products are rated very similarly, as there are hardly any differences in the ingredients. The drinks should be viewed as a little something extra or a candy rather than a liquid. Because even if the sweeteners are harmless to health, at least according to EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), we get used to the sweet taste, which increases the desire for sweet more and more. You should therefore always dilute sweet drinks with water, regardless of whether it is a cola or juice.
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