The Big Difference Between Coke Zero And Diet Coke

Coke Zero Sugar arguably has the most ardent fanbase of any of the Coca-Cola Company's products. And with the recent announcement of the Coke Zero Sugar recipe undergoing a revamp, it is unclear how much the taste will change (via CNN). Will Coke fans switch over to Diet Coke and, if so, what is the difference between the two?

Coke Zero debuted in the United States more than a decade ago and rebranded as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in 2017 (via Coca-Cola Company). The company told CNN that the new version is aimed to taste more like regular Coke, calling it "more refreshing and delicious." Consumers will also notice a different color on the can.

Let's break down the contents of Coke Zero Sugar and Diet Coke. In both its new and older versions, Coke Zero Sugar has been sweetened with a combination of aspartame and acesulfame K in the United States and Canada (via CNN), while Diet Coke uses only aspartame (via Coca-Cola Company). Otherwise, Coke Zero Sugar and Diet Coke both have no sugar or calories, as well as a similar ingredient list.

Differences between Coke Zero Sugar and Diet Coke

Diet Coke contains more caffeine at 46 milligrams per 12 ounces, and more sodium at 70 milligrams per 12 ounces (via Diet Coke). Coke Zero Sugar contains less caffeine at 34 milligrams per 12 ounces, and less sodium at 40 milligrams, as well as 60 milligrams of potassium and the added ingredients of potassium citrate and acesulfame potassium (via Coca-Cola).

But the biggest difference between Coke Zero Sugar and Diet Coke might be the taste — and the resulting consumer allegiance. A previous Huffington Post taste test in 2012 found that 54% of taste testers could tell the difference between Diet Coke and the previous iteration Coke Zero. Whether those findings will carry over to the new debate over Diet Coke versus Coke Zero Sugar remains to be seen. The new Coke Zero Sugar recipe is expected to roll out for the United States in July 2021, and in September 2021 for Canada, according to CNN