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Coca-Cola Classic — commonly simply referred to as Coke — and Diet Coke are popular beverages around the world.
However, soft drink consumption has been associated with many health concerns, ranging from weight gain to high blood sugar (1, 2).
Not only that, but Coke and Diet Coke also contain a hearty dose of caffeine, which can be problematic for those looking to cut down their caffeine consumption.
This article compares the caffeine contents of Coke, Diet Coke and other beverages and tells you how it could affect your health.
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a naturally-occurring chemical that acts as a central nervous system stimulant, enhancing alertness and fighting off fatigue.
It can be found in the leaves, seeds and fruits of many plants and is especially prevalent in cocoa beans, tea leaves and coffee beans (3).
It’s also commonly added to many products, including soft drinks, energy drinks and certain over-the-counter medications.
Nowadays, caffeine tops the charts as one of the most commonly consumed ingredients around the world (4).
In fact, it’s estimated that 85% of the US population consumes at least one caffeinated beverage per day, with an average daily intake of 165 mg of caffeine.
While coffee accounts for the majority of caffeine intake across the board, carbonated soft drinks like Coke make up a high proportion of the intake in those younger than 18 (5).
How Much Caffeine Is in Coke and Diet Coke?
The caffeine content of Coke products depends on several factors, including the serving size and type of drink (6):
Decaffeinated varieties, such as caffeine-free Coca-Cola, are also available for those looking to cut their caffeine intake.
How the Caffeine in Coke Compares
Ounce for ounce, the amounts of caffeine in Coke and Diet Coke are significantly lower than most other caffeinated beverages including energy drinks, coffee and green tea (4, 7, 8):
Keep in mind, however, that the caffeine content varies for these drinks based on different factors, including brand, ingredients and specific type of beverage.
Why Caffeine Intake Matters for Some
Caffeine consumption can have several benefits for your health.
In particular, research shows that it may increase metabolism, improve exercise performance and boost alertness (9, 10, 11).
However, it can also come with negative side effects, especially for people who are sensitive to its effects.
Caffeine can be addictive, and some research indicates that genetic variations could cause people to respond differently to it (12, 13).
Caffeine intake has also been shown to affect mental health, with one study in 2,307 children associating increased caffeine consumption with higher levels of perceived anxiety and depression (14).
Excess intake can also cause other side effects, including headaches, high blood pressure and sleep disturbances (15, 16, 17).
Additionally, it’s recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding limit their caffeine intake, as it may be linked to a higher risk of miscarriage and low birth weight (18, 19).