Coca- Cola is the largest soft drink manufacturer on the planet and its name and logo are among the most recognized in the world. It seems that everywhere you go, Coca- Cola is there, ready to quench your thirst with its secret blend of sugar and spices.
In spite of its reputation for refreshment, Coca- Cola is not without its critics. Health advocates point out that soft drinks like Coca- Cola and others offer no real nutritional value and contain excessive calories and sugar. Parents rightfully worry that soft drink consumption is a primary cause of child obesity and will lead to other health issues. Coca- Cola has responded to the criticism just recently with a new product intended to address some of these concerns. The new beverage is called Coke Life, a toned- down version of the Real Thing.
A New Take on an Old Favorite
So what exactly is Coke Life? According to official sources at Coca- Cola, Coke Life is a reduced calorie, reduced sugar version of regular Coca- Cola. The beverage uses Stevia, the natural sweetener, in place of some of the sugar. The result is a beverage with fewer grams of refined sugar and fewer calories- only 89 per 12 oz. serving instead of the 140 calories found in a can of regular Coca- Cola.
A Wolf in Coke’s Clothing?
With approximately 36 percent fewer calories than regular Coca- Cola and elimination of some of the sugar, Coke Life seems like a good beverage substitute for those who can’t get through a day without consuming several glasses of Coca- Cola. Coke Life doesn’t contain any controversial, artificial sweeteners like aspartame and for someone who consumes a large volume of soft drinks each day, the caloric savings alone would seem to make Coke Life a sure hit.
Still, Coke Life has already drawn frowns from the faces of critics, many of whom find nothing good to say about soft drinks of any style. One criticism is that, with 89 calories, Coke Life is not a true diet beverage and its reduced calories could even encourage Coca- Cola addicts to consume more than before. Another concern is that Stevia, while certainly better than regular sugar, is still a sweetener and any type of sugar, natural or not, needs to be greatly reduced in one’s daily diet. Coke Life contains about four tablespoons of sugars per 12 oz. serving and this is still far too much in the minds of health advocates, parents, and others who feel that sugar needs to be cut even further.
We’re Coming to America
If Coke Life sounds like a product worth trying and you live in the United States, you will have to wait a little longer before it shows up in stores near you. Coca- Cola has released Coke Life in Argentina and Chile (both in 2013) and plans to roll out the new beverage to the U.K. in the fall of 2014. The American market will eventually have its turn to taste Coke Life, but Coca- Cola has not posted an official launch date just yet.
Change is Good
Coke Life may not be the perfect soft drink (is there such a thing?) but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Critics can and will continue to attack Coke Life for the reasons stated above, but I think we need to give credit where credit is due. Coke Life does contain less sugar than regular Coca- Cola. The calories are reduced by 36 percent. There is no aspartame. These are all positive qualities and while they do not make for the perfect beverage, the change is welcome news.
Soft drinks have been under attack from health advocates and others for their empty calories, high sugar level, lack of nutritional value, contribution to obesity, and a host of other evils. Soft drink sales as a whole have been on the decline for some time and the public is demanding better alternatives. With Coke Life, consumers may have found at least a partial answer to their concerns. It isn’t perfect, but Coke Life does contain less of the questionable ingredients that have sparked so much criticism and attempted regulation against the soft drink industry.
Cheers to Coca- Cola for at least doing something to improve the healthfulness of its primary soft drink brand.
Copyright 2014, Bryan Carey