London - A can of Diet Coke has a similar effect on the brain as cocaine, a pharmacist says.
He claims the drink triggers an “addictive high” in a similar way to the Class A drug – which can drive the brain to “exhaustion”.
Niraj Naik – who runs the Renegade Pharmacist blog and has a master’s degree in pharmacy – detailed what he believes to be the impact of the drink after previously warning that regular Coca-Cola creates a high “in the same way as heroin”.
He claims that in the low-calorie version, caffeine and aspartame combine to create “a short addictive high similar to the way cocaine works”.
He added that chemicals are released “which may exhaust your brain by over-stimulating its neuro-receptors, especially if [the drink is] consumed on a regular basis”.
Mr Naik, who studied at the University of Wales in Cardiff, also said that Diet Coke “provides no nourishment and could replace a more nutritious drink while potentially depleting your body of essential minerals”.
“It will never quench your thirst as it dehydrates rather than hydrates your body. A lack of vital water can lead to brain fog, poor concentration, fatigue and feeling irritable.”
He said he had examined the effects of Coca-Cola and Diet Coke as part of his “experience as a community pharmacist”, as well as drawing on the work of other experts.
He added: “When helping people to get off medications for metabolic problems such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity, I found if people drank diet sodas they still had the same problems as people who consumed normal soft drinks.”
The marketing slogan for Diet Coke reads “Regret nothing – no sugar, no calories”, however Mr Naik deems this “”’.
He said: “Coca-Cola actually used cocaine in all their drinks before it was banned. This made the drink infectiously addictive. The original recipe was formulated by a fellow pharmacist [John] Pemberton, who was a serious opium addict and also died as one, fatefully leaving behind the legacy of one the world’s most addictive drinks.”
Last week, a blog post by Mr Naik emerged highlighting research claiming that regular Coca-Cola triggers the production of dopamine – a chemical linked to pleasure – in a similar way to heroin.
After an hour, a sugar crash apparently leaves drinkers feeling sluggish and irritable, with the beverage’s diuretic qualities leaching important nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and zinc from the body. He added that although Coca-Cola has ten teaspoons of sugar per can, the overwhelming sweetness is hidden by phosphoric acid, allowing the body to keep the drink down.
And he said that when his patients gave up fizzy drinks – replacing them with water with fresh lemon or lime juice – they showed a “dramatic” improvement in problems such as high blood pressure.
Coca-Cola said all its products are safe and should be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle featuring regular exercise.