I'm sure by now most of us have seen or at least heard of the newest Coke product on the block – Coca-Cola Life – if you haven't let me tell you a little bit about it. It is basically Coca-Cola's attempt at bringing out a healthier alternative to the regular drinks they have. They have even ditched their trademark red label and decided on a healthy looking green label to try to convince consumers that this drink could have some actual health benefits.
Well I'm not buying it! And I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I wanted to look into what exactly they have in this drink and see if it actually is any healthier for you than the regular coke or diet coke.
What is in a 330ml can of Coca-Cola Life:
The ingredients on the Coca-Cola website are listed as:
Carbonated Water, Sugar, Colour (Caramel 150d), Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavourings Including Caffeine, Sweetener (Steviol Glycosides)
Carbonated Water – Even the water used can contain chemicals like fluoride and chlorine and traces of heavy metals.
Sugar – A lot of sugar. Coca-Cola Life contains 6.7g of sugar per 100ml, so each can has 22.1g – not as much as a regular can of Coke (35g of sugar) but too much to be branded as a healthy drink.
Colour (Caramel 150d) – This colouring which is also known as 'Sulfite ammonia caramel' is believed to be carcinogenic and there have been petitions put in place to ban this for use in the food and drink industry.
Phosphoric Acid – This chemical also known as E338 has been linked to osteoporosis as it interferes with the body's ability to absorb calcium and it's also linked to chronic kidney disease.
Caffeine – More people may be aware of side effects of caffeine, this chemical has been linked to certain cancers, irregular heart beat and high blood pressure.
Sweetener Steviol Glycosides) – this is actually a highly processed chemical that is derived from the stevia plant, but because of its plant origins it gets to be labelled as 'natural'.
So coke have removed some sugar and replaced it with stevia rather than aspartame (in Diet Coke) and are marketing it as a healthy drink. Although some of the ingredients are derived from natural sources this is not a drink for the health conscious. The NHS recommends that for an adult of normal body mass index (BMI), the maximum daily sugar intake should be no more than 30g per day. One can of Coke Life has 22.1g, so you are very close to your limit before you even consider any food! Children should have even less – no more than 19g for children aged four to six, 24g for children aged seven to ten.
I'm a believer that everything in moderation is good, but when it comes to fizzy drinks the amount of sugar and other chemicals is so high, that I feel they are better avoided as much as possible – they certainly shouldn't be used to regularly replace water, which happens a lot. And even more concerning is when I see young kids drinking them, especially with the rise in diabetes and obesity in todays society.
What are the alternatives?
You could try drinking sparkling water and if you really need to add a small amount of organic cordial if you really need the fizz. Otherwise I would just stick to water as much as you can. The majority of us don't drink our eight glasses daily that we should – so lets give it a go – our bodies will thank us for it!
Flavourings Including Caffeine, Sweetener (Steviol Glycosides).