From Diet Coke to Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Fanta Orange Zero, Lilt Zero, Schweppes Diet Lemonade and Powerade Zero almost all our brands have a low-calorie or no-calorie alternative – and they account for more than a third of the drinks we sell in Great Britain. But it's only thanks to sweeteners that we're able to offer these variants. 

Why does Coca-Cola European Partners use low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners?

Low and no calorie sweeteners helps Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) to offer low or no calorie and low or no sugar versions of the Coca-Cola Company’s drinks. We want to make sure everyone has lots of delicious drink options, including people who are looking to reduce their calorie and sugar intake They also offer people with diabetes a wider choice of food and drink.

CCEP actually also use sweeteners in drinks that do contain sugar to reduce their overall calorie content. And they often blend sweeteners to get the best results.

Find out how they've been using sweeteners to reduce the sugar in some of Coca-Cola’s most popular drinks.

Which sweeteners does Coca-Cola European Partners use?

The most commonly used sweeteners CCEP use are aspartame, acesulfame-K, saccharin and stevia leaf extract (steviol glycosides).

For instance, in Diet Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Lilt Zero and Sprite Zero, a blend of acesulfame-K and aspartame are used, while in Schweppes Slimline Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Schweppes Diet Lemonade CCEP use aspartame and saccharin.

Stevia is extracted from the leaf of the stevia plant, and used in drinks such as Coca-Cola Life, Sprite and glacéau vitaminwater. Watch the video to find out more about stevia:

How do I know if a product contains sweeteners?

Coca-Cola Great Britain list all of the ingredients we use on our packaging and online – including sweeteners. By law, food and drink containing sweeteners must carry the words ‘with sweetener’ on the label.

Are sweeteners safe for everyone?

Sweeteners have been used all over the world for more than a century – in soft drinks, sugar-free chewing gum, desserts, medicines and yoghurts. Every sweetener used by CCEP is regularly and rigorously scientifically tested and is regarded as safe by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The only exception are people born with the rare genetic condition, phenylketonuria (PKU) who must avoid aspartame as they are unable to metabolise phenylalanine (see below).

Can sweeteners help me manage my weight?

When combined with an active, healthy lifestyle, sweeteners may help with weight control – but they don’t in themselves lead to weight loss. A negative energy balance (burning more calories than you take in) can aid weight loss. 

Can sweeteners affect teeth?

Sweeteners do not promote tooth decay. Poor dental hygiene habits are the main cause of tooth decay and enamel erosion. Any food or drink containing sugars and starches (fermentable carbohydrates) can contribute to tooth decay, and acidic foods and drinks can be a contributing factor to enamel erosion. Sparkling drinks are no exception. But that’s only if you don’t take care of your teeth. So brush your teeth, see your dentist regularly and follow his/her advice.

Can people with diabetes consume sweeteners?

Yes. 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 calorie intake – and sweeteners can help with this. If you have diabetes, always consult your GP for dietary advice.

Can people with PKU use sweeteners?

People with this rare genetic condition must avoid food and drink sweetened with aspartame, which includes Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Schweppes Slimline Bitter Lemon, Lilt Zero, Fanta and more. As they cannot metabolise phenylalanine, they need to control their intake of this amino acid. 

Coca-Cola European Partners clearly labels drinks with aspartame to alert people to the presence of phenylalanine. Find out more about the sweetener in our asparatame: fact from fiction guide.