What is Diet Coke?

Diet Coke is described on the Diet Coke website as follows:

What is diet Coke? It’s a snowstorm, massages, and bubble baths. It’s love handles, freckles, and bunny slippers. It’s a sense of humour, a sense of style, and a sense of self. It’s whatever makes you happy. Enjoy.
What actually is Diet Coke? This is described by McDonalds as follows:
Carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, sodium saccharin, potassium benzoate (to protect taste), natural flavors (vegetable source), citric acid, caffeine, potassium citrate, aspartame, dimethylpolysiloxane. Phenylketonurics: Aspartame contains phenylalanine. Use of saccharin in this product may be hazardous to your health. This ingredient has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
Just in case you were wondering, dimethylpolysiloxane is silicone oil. Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder that, untreated, causes brain damage as a result of the accumulation too much phenylalanine, hence the warning from McDonalds to those so-affected.


Oliver Baker's picture
Oliver Baker on September 17, 2001 - 19:53 Permalink

I embrace your rant against Diet Coke in part but not in whole. Phenylketoneuria is a rare condition and phenylalanine is a basic amino acid. Mentioning it on a label is just like a company warning potential customers that their dried fruits may contain traces of peanuts. We could go into the gruesome physiological response that would take place if someone allergic to peanuts ate one, but those who know they are allergic don’t need to be reminded. I don’t see any reason to fault a company for not doing so.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on September 17, 2001 - 19:57 Permalink

My intent wasn’t to criticize McDonalds or Coca-Cola for printing the Phenylketoneuria warning on their label, simply to contrast the absurdity of the “It’s whatever makes you happy” with the reality that we’re not talking about a heart-wrenching novel here, we’re talking about a collection of chemicals. If Planters peanuts tried to claim that their peanuts were like a bunny slipper or a massage, I’d be equally offended (btw, they describe their peanuts as follows: “Planters Cocktail Peanuts are premium peanuts that are oil roasted and salted. They are sold in traditional cans. They are available Salted, Lightly Salted and Salt Free.” That seems pretty straightforward to me).

Alan McLeod's picture
Alan McLeod on September 17, 2001 - 20:55 Permalink

I am still confused over TAB v. Diet Coke.

Oliver Baker's picture
Oliver Baker on September 18, 2001 - 04:21 Permalink

I should have made clearer: I’m totally with you, Peter—I’m a fellow card-carrying member of the call-it-what-it-is/I-reserve-the-right-to-feel-however-I-feel-about-your-package-of-whatsit movement.

I just didn’t want that semester of biochemistry to have been for nothing.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on September 18, 2001 - 16:41 Permalink

Alan, there are very similar. I have a case of Tab at home (for novelty sake, that I don’t drink). They also say “Use of saccharin in this product may be hazardous to your health. This ingredient has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.”

Michael Watt's picture
Michael Watt on July 22, 2004 - 02:06 Permalink

I wouldn’t really trust beverages with an acid content strong enough to dissolve bones enough to put it in my mouth, let alone artificial sweeteners

piss's picture
piss on August 15, 2005 - 23:38 Permalink

well iam not human caus i got cancer from tab it is really good so eat piss

Confused Diet Coke Drinker's picture
Confused Diet C... on April 10, 2006 - 03:23 Permalink

I came home with a Diet Coke in my hand and my husband started telling me about an news update that we heard concerning “what is in coke”. My question to him was, “Did they pull it off the shelves yet.” Of course, we responded “no”. What is going on? Just last week my girlfriend mentioned something about the chemicals in Diet Coke? Would someone tell me what is going on?