Recently I had the misfortune to visit the Budgens outpost in Ealing Broadway; the bright side being that I purchased one of the two remaining bottles of Vanilla Diet coke they had there. There must be a Budgens warehouse out there stacked with the stuff, or a Budgens buyer with a vanilla fetish.
So on to the wholly unnecessary consumption of carbonated beverages. At my local snack emporium I spied a new brand of Coke 'pon the shelves, one the likes of which I never did see afore. Motivated simultaneously by the rancidly humid weather and by a desire to replace the departed fizzy pop close to my heart, I purchased a can and consumed it this evening.
Coke Zero? What the hell is that? It looks like death and tastes crappy too. It seems to be a very belated attempt to match 'Pepsi Max' with the "all the flavour, none of the sugar" idea that rewrites the history of Diet Pepsi and Coke but hey. Coke Zero does have that flavour that Diet Coke is lacking, the flavour I like to call 'Tooth Death". The sort of metallic aftertaste that you get when tasting blood, not something I'd be eager to recreate but I'm not in the soft drink industry.
Can't see any immediate difference in the ingredients, it seems to be identical to Diet Coke so they've obviously done a magicks to it.
Carbonated water isn't a problem, but Phosphoric Acid has many eyebrows raised. There is some association with the onset in osteoporosis - the bone deficiency disease. There are correlations between soft drink consumption and osteoporosis, but it's as yet unclear as to whether the link is direct or due to soft drink consumption replacing that of milk in the diet, or soft drinks being prevalent in the diet of those with a sedentary lifestyle. So, if you sit on your arse and don't drink milk, it may make no difference if phosphoric acid never passes your lips. The jury's out...
The colour additive Caramel E150d gives us this from www.food-info.net/uk : "Side effects are manifested from the use of E150c and E150d, where intestinal problems may occur after ingestion of large amounts. Due to the complex nature of the mixtures, toxicology tests are still being carried out."
: drinking a lot may not be great for you. Like many substances, moderation is best so no news there.
According to the Evening Standard dated May 10th 2004 caramel colouring causes 'behavioural problems' But in their side effect list, so does Caffeine making it hard to ascertain what they mean by the term.
Aspartame or E951 according to the Standard can cause dizziness, blurred vision, migraines and brain cancer. Wikipedia has it as : "Aspartame has been the subject of a vigorous public controversy regarding its safety and the circumstances around its approval. It is well-known that aspartame contains the naturally-occurring amino acid phenylalanine, which is a health hazard to the few people born with phenylketonuria, a congenital inability to process phenylalanine. A few studies have also recommended further investigation into possible connections between aspartame and diseases such as brain tumors, brain lesions, and lymphoma. These findings, combined with notable conflicts of interest in the approval process, have engendered vocal activism regarding the possible risks of aspartame."
In the more in depth Wiki entry about the health risks, my favourite of 92 possible adverse affects is that of "feeling "unreal" ".
However much weight any of the studies carry, Aspartame carries with it a malignant air and a dubious past in terms of its approval for the food industry tied up to Republican/corporate machinations.
Acesulfame K or E950 has cancer links in the Standard's report. Wiki has it again under the undecided banner, with the official line being that the agreed levels are safe, with pressure groups claiming that there are cancer links although it seems these effects have yet to be replicated in studies.
One ironic point is that E950 is used a sweetener to replace sugar and lower calorie intake in products. But its consumption had been shown to raise insulin levels which, in turn, can produce food cravings and therefore weight gain. Huzzah!
Sodium Citrate (E331) is listed as an "acidity regulator". Nothing in particular comes up under nasty, it seems it's often used to do exactly what it says - regulate acidity by making it more alkaline.
Worryingly, apart from the soft drink companies not having to list ingredient dosage for some reason, they don't have to list all flavourings and so these come up as "Flavourings including caffeine"
So what have I learnt about what I ingested? Not a lot. Some of the ingredients could have some nasty effects, but then they also could not. Caffeine, however, has some proven results but I doubt that will be outlawed any time soon.
I'd like to go into some films here but that will make for a loooong post, next time (maybe) - sequelitis.