Is It Safe For People With Diabetes To Drink Coke Zero?

If you live with diabetes, you know how critical it is to monitor what food and drinks you consume. People with diabetes produce insufficient amounts of insulin or can't use insulin properly, resulting in abnormally high blood sugar levels, as explained by the World Health Organization (WHO). They may experience symptoms like frequent urination, weight loss, blurry vision, or feeling dehydrated and fatigued. Maintaining a healthy diet is a key element of treating diabetes.

Even for people without diabetes, drinking regular cola can contribute to a slew of health problems. Most sodas lack nutritious vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin C, and magnesium, and they also contain high levels of sugar and caffeine (per WebMD). The excessive amounts of sugar found in regular (non-diet) soda have been associated with weight gain, heart disease, high cholesterol, and pancreatic cancer. Additionally, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes can increase by over 20% if you drink soda regularly. 

To combat the adverse health effects of regular sodas, Coke Zero was invented. According to Healthline, Coke Zero has no added sugar and is flavored with artificial sweeteners. Carbonated water, phosphoric acid, aspartame, natural flavors, and caffeine are some of the ingredients found in Coke Zero. Those who want to avoid caffeinated beverages can opt for the caffeine-free version of Coke Zero. But while a beverage containing zero sugar may sound like a good idea for individuals with diabetes, Coke Zero may not be the best option for those with the disease. 

Why someone with diabetes may want to avoid Coke Zero

Despite not being packed with added sugar, Coke Zero does contain artificial sweeteners to enhance its flavor. As pointed out on the website of Dr. Lauren Denville, artificial sweeteners may not be as healthy of a sugar substitute as they've been marketed to be. 

Researchers examined the impact of artificial sweeteners on individuals with type 2 diabetes in a 2020 study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. Compared to individuals with the disease who didn't consume artificial sweeteners, those who consumed them regularly had increased insulin resistance. However, additional research needs to be conducted to validate the study's results. Artificial sweeteners have also been associated with weight gain and heart disease in other studies, as explained by Diabetes Meal Plans. A 2019 study published in Stroke discovered a link between drinking two or more artificially sweetened beverages a day and an increased risk of coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke.

Someone who consumes beverages containing artificial sweeteners may be more vulnerable to developing metabolic syndrome, which consists of symptoms like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high fasting blood glucose levels. The sweeteners in Coke Zero, including aspartame and acesulfame potassium, may also cause an increase in cravings for sugar by targeting the reward pathway in the brain. If you have diabetes, it's best to swap out your Coke Zero for an alternative. Luckily, there are other nutritious beverages you can choose from the next time you're thirsty.

Beverages to drink instead of Coke Zero

As we all know, water is the most nourishing beverage you can give your body. Drinking water is especially beneficial for those who have diabetes because it doesn't cause blood sugar levels to rise, according to Healthline

Despite experts recommending that adult men drink 13 cups of water per day and adult women drink 9 cups of a water per day, some people may find drinking water underwhelming. Adding slices of lemons, limes, and oranges to your water can give it a touch of sweetness. Herbs like mint and basil can also be added to your water to enhance its flavor. 

You might enjoy seltzer water if the carbonation is what attracts you to Coke Zero. Seltzer water comes in different flavors, which can appeal to those who aren't fond of drinking regular water. Using natural flavors like fruit extracts and essential oils, LaCroix is one popular brand that offers flavored beverages without the artificial sweeteners included in Coke Zero (per Diabetes Meal Plans). 

Individuals with diabetes who want to replace Coke Zero in their diet can also drink teas and herbal teas that don't contain added sugar. Besides not your raising blood sugar levels, green tea and herbal teas like chamomile and ginger tea contain antioxidants that prevent diseases.