Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero 

Difference Between Diet Coke and Coke Zero - Feature

Diet Coke uses aspartame as the primary sweetener. In contrast, Coke Zero uses both aspartame and acesulfame potassium (Ace K), a calorie-free sweetener.

You’ve probably wondered at some point if you should choose a Diet Coke or a Coke Zero. There are some clear similarities and differences between these two soft drinks.

Check out this quick overview of Diet Coke and Coke Zero. You’ll explore a few key aspects of these ready-to-serve soft drinks, from their nutritional values and main ingredients to their major differences. 

Diet Coke – An Overview

Introduced four decades back, Diet Coke is one of Coca-Cola’s high-selling soft drinks with a low-calorie and sugar-free individuality. It was created to help soft drink lovers reduce their sugar intake. 

Diet Coke is an alternative to the brand’s discontinued Tab soft drink. Instead of natural sweeteners, Diet Coke contains artificial sweetening agents. For example, it uses aspartame and used to use saccharin (now discontinued.) As a result, it closely mimics the taste and appearance of the Coca-Cola Classic all of us grew up sipping. 

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Fun fact: In some countries, Diet Coke is branded as Coca-Cola Light or Coca-Cola Light Taste.  


What’s in a 12 oz. Serving of Diet Coke?

Here’s what a regular serving of Diet Coke has for you. 

Nutrients Amount Per Serving
Calories 0 cal
Sodium 40mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Sugar 0g
Protein 0g
Caffeine 34mg

2 1

What are the Key Ingredients in Diet Coke?

Diet Coke’s key ingredients:

  • Carbonated Water 
  • Caramel Color 
  • Aspartame
  • Phosphoric Acid
  • Potassium Benzoate 
  • Natural Flavors
  • Citric Acid
  • Caffeine

Note: Potassium Benzoate is added to protect the unique taste of Diet Coke.

Warning: Individuals with phenylketonuria disease (PKU) should avoid Diet Coke, as it contains the amino acid phenylalanine. 

Popular Flavors Of Diet Coke

Diet Coke is available in a vast range of flavors, including:

  • Diet Coke Zesty Blood Orange
  • Diet Coke Strawberry Guava
  • Diet Coke Blueberry Acai
  • Diet Coke Twisted Mango
  • Diet Coke Feisty Cherry

Coke Zero – An Overview

Coke Zero, sometimes referred to as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, is another healthier soda-based drink from The Coca-Cola Company. It first hit the market in 2005 and was recently reformulated in 2021. Unlike Diet Coke, Coke Zero has a distinct caramel E150d color. It has zero sugar and calories. The two main ingredients of Coke Zero are aspartame and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K.) In other words, Coke Zero has zero sugar and zero calories.

What’s in a 12 oz. Serving of Coke Zero?

Here’s what the standard 12-ounce of Coke Zero contains:

Nutrients Amount Per Serving
Calories 0 cal
Sodium 40mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Sugar 0g
Potassium 60mg
Protein 0g
Caffeine 34mg

What are the Key Ingredients in Coke Zero?

Coke Zero’s ingredients list:

  • Carbonated Water
  • Caramel Color
  • Phosphoric Acid
  • Aspartame
  • Potassium Benzoate
  • Natural Flavors
  • Potassium Citrate
  • Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K)
  • Caffeine
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Note: Potassium Benzoate is added to protect the taste of Coke Zero. 

Popular Flavors Of Coke Zero

Coke Zero is available in a vast range of flavors. These are:

  • Coca-Cola Zero Cherry
  • Coca-Cola Zero Vanilla
  • Coca-Cola Zero Cherry Vanilla
  • Coca-Cola Zero Lemon
  • Coca-Cola Zero Raspberry
  • Coca-Cola Zero Peach
  • Coca-Cola Zero Orange
  • Coca-Cola Zero Orange Vanilla
  • Coca-Cola Zero Cinnamon
  • Coca-Cola Zero Caffeine-Free
  • Coca-Cola Zero Starlight

Diet Coke Vs Coke Zero – Key Differences

Diet Coke and Coke Zero might appear similar to you in several ways. Still, they have plenty of differences between them. Check out these key differences.

Target Audience

Initially, Coke Zero was introduced for men and Diet Coke for women. 

This was since Diet Coke was leaving men thirsty, and its blander taste didn’t meet their expectations. Coke Zero, however, tasted too sharp to most women. Thus, they chose Diet Coke over the former. 

Nonetheless, this trend has completely changed in recent times. 

Food Acid

Food acids give your drink a sharper taste, besides functioning as preservatives and antioxidants. Coke Zero contains Potassium Citrate as the principal food acid. On the other hand, Diet Coke has citric acid. 

Note: If your blood has high potassium levels, avoid potassium citrate. 

Caffeine Content

Caffeine makes you feel refreshed and helps you get through the day. When comparing the caffeine content in each, Coke Zero has a lower caffeine content at 36mg than 46mg in Diet Coke. If you prefer drinks with more caffeine, go for Diet Coke. Otherwise, Coke Zero would suit you.

Artificial Sweetener

In Diet Coke, aspartame is the artificial sweetening agent. On the other hand, Coke Zero uses a blend of aspartame and acesulfame potassium (or Ace-K). Diet Coke bases some of its varieties on Splenda, a Sucralose brand. 

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Diet Coke and Coke Zero differ in taste as well. While Diet Coke almost resembles the Classic Coca-Cola taste, Coke Zero has its own unique flavor.

Diet Coke vs Coke Zero – The Difference Table

The following table summarizes the differences between the two drinks. 

Diet Coke


Coke Zero

Similar classic Coca-Cola 


Significantly different taste than classic Coca-Cola 

Citric Acid

Food Acid

Potassium Citrate


Artificial sweetener (s)

A blend of Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium (or Ace-K)

12.8 mg per 100 ml

Caffeine Content

9.6 mg per 100 ml

Marketed for women  Target Audience

Marketed for men


Coke Zero and Diet Coke exist because of the growing awareness people have about their health. A regular can of Coca-Cola contains 139 calories and lots of sugar (39g). In comparison, Diet Coke and Coke Zero are more appealing to some people because they don’t have any sugar or calories. While similar in this way, each of these drinks is targeted at a different audience, and they use different artificial sweeteners.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which Is Better – Diet Coke Or Coke Zero?

Answer: There is no clear winner in the Diet Coke and Coke Zero battle. This is because both are zero-calorie and sugar-free soda-based drinks. 

What Are Some Healthier Alternatives To Soft Drinks, Such As Coke Zero And Diet Coke?

Answer: Since soft drinks are never recommended for long-term consumption due to their several side effects, you must try their healthier alternatives. A few are kombucha, probiotic sodas, sparkling water, stevia sodas, and the like. 

Who Should Avoid Diet Coke?

Answer: Diet Coke contains the amino acid phenylalanine. People suffering from phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid it. 


Vanessa is passionate about written communication, especially after beginning her career as a middle school English teacher. She’s an experienced content marketer as well. Vanessa loves to analyze, compare, and contrast, which is why she writes for ContrastHub. Besides writing, Vanessa is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, spicy food enthusiast, comedy nerd and lifelong learner.

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