By Angela Alfano
“Coca-Cola Life” is the Coca-Cola Company’s first reduced-calorie sweetened sparkling beverage with cane sugar and Stevia leaf extract; and has 35 percent fewer calories than other leading colas, according to the official Coca-Cola website. Other beverages sweetened with stevia leaf extract include Glaceau Vitaminwater Zero, Honest Tea and Odwalla.
The particular way in which people prepare their coffee proves that sweeteners make a difference. From saccharin-sweetened Sweet’N Low to aspartame-sweetened Equal, low calorie sugar alternatives are plentiful. Consumers choose to use sugar substitutes to help lower their calorie and sugar intake. More than 78 million U.S. adults are obese and sugar-dense foods and beverages may be a major contributing factor, according to the Huffington Post article, “7 Things You Didn’t Know About Stevia,” published Oct. 2014. A sweet but healthy solution is in need. Stevia, an FDA-approved sweetener, is trying to be the answer. “Coca-Cola Life” is a low-calorie soda targeted toward the demographic of those who dislike the taste of diet soda. This new beverage has only 89 calories as opposed to the regular Coca-Cola, which contains 139. “Coca-Cola Life” relies on both Stevia extract and cane sugar to get its sweetness. This sweetener is calorie free. However, there are some interesting facts about it being used in “Coca-Cola Life.”
According to the Huffington Post article mentioned above, a 2014 study from the Weizmann Institute of Science showed that artificial sweeteners may have detrimental effects on our bodies that lead to an increased risk for obesity and diabetes, which is ironic considering these are the conditions many diet soda drinkers are hoping to avoid. Yet despite this one study, there’s not yet enough research to point to either stevia’s health benefits or negative side effects.
What we do know for sure is that Stevia, the sugar substitute used in “Coca-Cola Life,” is being pushed as the “natural” ingredient. Still, natural sugar water is still sugar water to the tune of four teaspoons of sugar per can. That is 25 percent of the daily recommended sugar intake for children.
I have tried the new “Coca-Cola Life.” It is much sweeter than regular cola as a result of this Stevia sweetener. There are only 24 grams of sugar in “Coca-Cola Life” as compared to 37 in regular cola. Also, there is a bit of a dry after-taste that only makes the consumer thirstier.
In my opinion, if people are looking for a low calorie drink, there are many flavored waters, even some with carbonation, that act as healthier options. If one wants to lose weight and live a healthier life, soda must be cut out as a whole. Humans should start adjusting their taste buds now.