The lowdown on low-calorie sweeteners

Coca‑Cola drinks made with our range of sweeteners give you more choice

Low- and no-calorie drinks

Drinks that contain low- and no-calorie sweeteners are an ideal option for people who are looking to reduce their calorie intake, yet still want a great-tasting product.

Sweeteners provide a sweet taste and contain few or no calories. We use low- and no-calorie sweeteners in our diet and low-calorie drinks such as Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Fanta Orange Zero, Lilt Zero, Schweppes Diet Lemonade, Relentless Origin Ultra and Powerade Zero. Almost all of our brands have a low- or no-calorie alternative – it's part of our commitment to offer as many options as possible.

To help you choose the drink that is right for you, we offer an extensive range of full-, low-, and no-calorie drinks, in a variety of portion sizes, and include nutrition and ingredient information on every can and bottle.

Providing low- and no-calorie drink options is important to us. More than a third of the drinks we sell in the UK are low- or no-calorie, and more than 40 per cent of the colas we sell are low- or no-calorie, being either Diet Coke or Coke Zero.

Did you know? Since 2000, our average calories per serving have decreased by 9 per cent globally.

Watch the video: Understanding low-calorie sweeteners

The British Nutrition Foundation has created a video to provide useful information on the safety and benefits of low- and no-calorie sweeteners. Watch Understanding low-calorie sweeteners here on their website.

Got a question? Here are some of the more commonly asked queries about sweeteners and their answers:

Why do you use low- and no-calorie sweeteners?
Low- and no-calorie sweeteners enable us to offer low- and no-calorie versions of our consumers’ favourite drinks. Products that contain low- and no-calorie sweeteners are the ideal options for people who are looking to reduce their calorie intake. They also help to offer people with diabetes a wider choice of food and drink.

As well as using sweeteners to create low- and no-calorie drinks, we also use sweeteners in drinks that contain sugar to reduce their overall calorie content. It is also common to blend sweeteners in drinks to get the best taste.

What are low- and no-calorie sweeteners?
Low- and no-calorie sweeteners are added to foods and drinks to provide a sweet taste without adding calories, or very few calories. Most sweeteners are several hundred times sweeter-tasting than sugar, so only small quantities need to be added.

Which sweeteners does Coca‑Cola use?
The most commonly used sweeteners used by Coca Cola Great Britain are aspartame, acesulfame-K, saccharin and stevia leaf extract (steviol glycosides).

For example, we use a blend of acesulfame-K and aspartame in Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Lilt Zero and Sprite Zero, while drinks such as Schweppes Slimline Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Schweppes Diet Lemonade contain a blend of aspartame and saccharin.

Stevia is the latest sweetener we've introduced to our products, and it's extracted from the leaf of the stevia plant. In the UK, we use stevia sweetener in Coca‑Cola Life, Sprite and glacéau vitaminwater.

All of our ingredients we use in our drinks, for example the sweeteners in Diet Coke, are listed on our packaging and online in our Brands section.

How do I know if a product contains sweeteners?
Like all other ingredients in our drinks, sweeteners are listed in the ingredients panel on the labels of every can and bottle we make. By law, food and drink containing sweeteners also have to carry the words 'with sweetener' on the label. This information is also available online -  browse our Brands section to view the ingredients we use in all of our drinks, such as sweeteners in Diet Coke.

Are sweeteners safe for everyone?
Sweeteners have been used all over the world for more than a century and are used in thousands of food and drinks products, including soft drinks, sugar-free chewing gum, desserts, some medicines and low-calorie yoghurts. They are regarded as safe and permitted for use by regulatory agencies in numerous countries, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Any sweetener approved for use has been rigorously, scientifically tested and is regularly reviewed.

The only exception is people born with the rare genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU), who are unable to metabolise phenylalanine and therefore should avoid aspartame in all food and drinks.

Take a look at our Work It Out Calculator for suggestions on how to balance 'energy in' (what you eat and drink) with 'energy out' (the exercise you do) to help maintain a healthy weight.

Can sweeteners help me manage my weight?

When consistently used as part of an active, healthy lifestyle that includes a sensible, balanced diet and regular physical activity, low- and no-calorie sweeteners may help with weight control – but they don't in themselves lead to weight loss. A negative energy balance (expending more calories than you take in) promotes weight loss. In the context of a sensible, balanced diet, food and drinks containing sweeteners can help you manage your overall calorie intake.

Take a look at our Work It Out Calculator for suggestions on how to balance 'energy in' (what you eat and drink) with 'energy out' (the exercise you do) to help maintain a healthy weight.

Can sweeteners affect teeth?
Sweeteners do not promote tooth decay. Any food or drink that contains fermentable carbohydrates (sugars and starches), including calorific sparkling drinks, can play a role in the development of tooth decay. When foods and drinks with fermentable carbohydrates are consumed, the bacteria present in the mouth converts the sugar to acid. If this acid is not removed by teeth cleaning, it can wear away the surface enamel, eventually causing cavities to form. Bacteria in the mouth cannot convert sweeteners into acid and therefore sweeteners do not contribute to tooth decay. Find out more about looking after your teeth in our Guide to good dental health video.

Can people with diabetes use sweeteners?

Yes. Scientific studies have shown that low- and no-calorie sweeteners can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their condition. It’s important for diabetics to manage their caloric intake – and low- and no-calorie sweeteners can help with this. As they are several hundred times sweeter than sugar, it means their sweet taste comes with few or no calories, so they’re an ideal option for people who are looking to reduce their calorie intake. If you have diabetes, always consult your GP for advice about what can be included in your diet.

Can people with PKU use sweeteners?
People with the rare genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU) are unable to metabolise phenylalanine and need to control their intake of this amino acid from all food sources. This means they must avoid foods and drinks containing the sweetener aspartame, which contains a source of phenylalanine. Our drinks sweetened with aspartame, like Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Schweppes Slimline Bitter Lemon and Lilt Zero are clearly labelled as such to alert these consumers to the presence of phenylalanine.

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