What Beverage Are You

By: Peggy Willms


(2 min. read) 

Several years ago, I worked for the University of Colorado. It was one of the first trials to compare water directly with non-nutritive beverages.

One of the “Pick-on Peggy’s” over the years was that I drank pop/soda. “You are a health nut, and you drink that crap?” Water was my beverage of choice, but I had a “real” Coke a few times a week.

In the early 2000s, my boss drank Diet Coke. Eeeewww. I wanted to reduce my sugar intake, and she said, “Buy a case of it, put it under your desk, and quit regular Coke cold turkey. Your palate will change, and boom, you will convert.”

In less than three weeks, I joined the silver can clan.

In 2005, Coke Zero hit the market. Coke Zero tasted more closely to regular Coke than Diet Coke. So why did the Coca-Cola company create two diet beverages?

Number one, they needed a recipe to satisfy consumers who didn’t like the current diet formula, and secondly, they needed to change the marketing because men were not drinking Diet Coke. Coke Zero was initially marketed to men who wouldn’t consume the current diet because they associated “diet” drinks with women. Coke Zero was even nicknamed “Bloke Coke” in the UK. [1]

Coke Zero hit the market with a “male-grabbing” bold-colored can. It is either black can or bright red like the regular Coke, whereas Diet Coke is light gray. Men were more attracted to the bold colors and the thought of having their very own zero-calorie beverage.

The recipe is a bit different. Coke Zero and Diet Coke both contain aspartame, but Coke Zero has two additional ingredients (acesulfame-potassium or Ace-K ) and less caffeine than Diet Coke, which also has citric acid.

Let’s be clear: The pick-on Peggy continued when she switched from Diet Coke to Coke Zero. “Why are you drinking all those chemicals?” My response was always a bit defensive, “I don’t drink, smoke, gamble, eat red meat, or eat dairy, so my treat is a diet beverage.” Lawd! As a fitness expert, I was well aware of what I consumed!

But in 2020, I abruptly put all carbonated beverages to rest when I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. It wasn’t worth it. So water it is.

I have thrown all this data at you, only to do a Peggy Thang—flip a thought on its head. Let’s compare the three beverages and water to your personality and habits…ready?

  • Are you one who struggles with change and sticks to old habits? Regular Coke
  • Are you one who tries new things to see what it is about? Diet Coke
  • Are you bouncing quickly to the latest (fad) thing? Coke Zero
  • Are you one who puts your health first and will modify your habits, leaving unhealthy choices in the rear-view mirror: Water
  • Or are you a bit of all four, able to pivot to what works for you at the time? Do you try many things so you have the data to make the healthiest choices for you?

Give your personality and habits a thought today. I can hear your brain churning. Well, I am off to make another coffee.

[1] https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/coke-zero-vs-diet-coke/


Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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