courtesy of Rawich

courtesy of Rawich

Oh you mistress of my former health nut days, you beloved elixir of liquid joy, you coveted drink of my former life, the life before I became a foodie… I miss you. Or so I thought.

 Back in the day when we ate what I thought was healthy: soy, margarine, agave and my ever so beloved Diet Coke®, I thought I was doing it right! Then I walked to the dark side of what I considered to be Granola Mom Freaks who went out their front door with a bowl and knife only to scrape the bark from the tree and serve it up as cereal. Yum, kids, come and get it!

We’ve been eating as foodies for over six years now. Weston A. Price, GAPS, Paleo, they’re my newest besties. Nothing in our cabinets is processed, everything is homemade, homegrown or local farmer purchased.

My favorite quote of the year comes from son’s 12-year-old friend, “There’s no food in this house, it’s all stuff in mason jars!”

Then, last week, after a two-week-spree of waterfall hunting, biking, kayaking, sailing, camping, natural spring swimming, Blue Hole jumping and all around enjoying everything Chattanooga has to offer teenaged boys, I saw something in the back of the cabinet. When I say back of the cabinet I mean the waaaaaayyy back, deep in the corner, bottom shelf, hiding in the shadows, lurking with temptation of the days gone by – a Diet Coke®. She was looking at me from the corner of her eye. She wasn’t full frontal but timid and shy-like, half turned, coy like a temptress.

I did what any woman well over the age of 40 would do after two weeks of pretending she was in her 20s. I filled a glass with ice and released the long forgotten love of days passed. She bubbled up the glass and a shriek of delight fizzled through my veins. Then something totally unexpected happen, she tasted foul! Like bottom sludge of the chemical barrel foul!

I was betrayed! My former beloved had exposed her true self to my taste buds! Which brings me to this post: what’s really in a Diet Coke®?

Next, I went to the Diet Coke® website and nearly burst out laughing at the headliner: Help us fight obesity.

US ingredients as they read on the bottle: carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate (to protect taste), natural flavors, citric acid, caffeine. Then it says, “Phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine.”

Discovery Health and Fitness say, “Caramel coloring, found in cola, has shown a positive association with risk of hypertension or high blood pressure.” In addition, The Journal of the American Medical Association studied and found the caramel coloring is the potential cause of high blood pressure.  The FDA categorizes caramel coloring as GRAS (generally regarded as safe) and says, “The absolute safety of any food coloring substance can never be proven.”  The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA in an effort to cease allowing the use of caramel colorings specifically because caramel coloring was a direct cause of cancer in lab animals.

As and emulsifying agent caramel coloring enables flavorings to remain suspended within the drink. Now, I’m a simple girl and I can honestly say I would much rather shake a bottle before I drink it than suffer high blood pressure and cancer. But, I guess, that’s just me.

Aspartame, ah the sweet taste of aspartame, the fecal matter of genetically modified e-coli. I have an issue with you aspartame. You give me headaches. When I research you, my eyes bulge and when I study what the FDA says about you I feel like I don’t understand the English language. Wikipedia, whom I don’t really trust, claims your hazards to be “urban legends” yet when I study your existence it shows you were sent for approval 16 times before being accepted. I am confused about you aspartame. I am befuddled. I found many studies done on you but it appeared only the ones industry funded showed any positive results. I don’t understand how you are a food.

Phosphoric acid is an acidifying agent used regularly to remove rust. It has been discussed widely in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition for causing loss of bone density.

Potassium benzoate is a preservative, a known carcinogen recently banned in Europe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes benzene at highly flammable and says, “Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.”

Natural flavors are frankly elusive. There is no regulation on the phrase natural flavors and is often connected to MSG. In my opinion natural flavors are like a whore in the night: she looks potentially appealing in the dark after a glass or seven of wine but when you see her in full light she’s full of warts, has no teeth, is unappealing and frankly revolting – no good can come from association with her type.

So it is with this post that say Adieu. I will return safely and happily to my green tea, brewed in a coffee pot, stretching her defiant legs, with a splash of lemon.

*If you learned something from this post share it so others can do the same. To support the efforts of this blog shop the affiliate links above like this one. You pay the same shopping through Amazon while the author receives a small referral fee from Amazon. This offsets the costs of this site.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.


Other sources:,_Ashley_-_The_History_of_Aspartame.html



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One Response to What’s in a Diet Coke®?

  1. Lisa says:

    I have been saying that for years. Good to hear I’m not nuts anymore.

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