Sugar. It’s pure, white, refined, processed evil.
We consume it every day – and it’s not strictly our fault. In the past, there were no traffic light stickers on packaging to tell us how muchof our RDA of fat, salt and sugar we were getting our food. The general rule was if it’s poisonous, it’s likely to be sour to taste, and so man’s fondness of all things sweet began. Humans are wired to enjoy sugar and sweet things.
But sugar is terrible! If it is not used for immediate bursts of energy (in the form of glucose) it becomes part of your fat stores, not to mention the effect it can have on your skin.
So how do we get our fix of sweetness? Recently, sweeteners have become the commonplace replacement. Names like Aspartame and Sucralose are plain to see on the packaging of anything labelled ‘Low Sugar’ or ‘Sugar free’, completely replacing the pure grain sugar.
Sucralose (or Splenda) is a synthetic form of sucrose, where Chlorination of the sugar. Basically, a big old Chlorine atom is unnaturally forced to bind with the sugar. Its intsability means that in theory the Chlorine could detach, something you probably don’t want to happen.
Aspartame is even worse – a synthesised sweetener made of amino acids phenylanine and aspartate – it can be poisonous in large quantities.
STEVIA THE SAVIOUR(?)
In steps Stevia, the last bastion in the fight against sugar. Stevia, or rather its exract, Steviol Glycosides, have a sweetness factor of THREE HUNDRED times that of sugar. Due to this, tiny quantities are needed to emulate the sweetness of sucrose.
This is no new thing – Sucra and Aspartame use tiny amounts for the same amount of sweetness, which is why they amount to 1 or fewer calories in soft drinks. The thing about Stevia is that it’s completely natural, and not just a modified variant of plain sugar. It tastes pretty damn good, too!
In the UK Stevia is not used as a the lone sweetening agent in anything. However, since 2013, Sprite has been manufactured with a third of its sugar cut out and replace with Stevia. After that ‘trial-run’, they decided to do the same thing to Coke, albeit as a new product rather than replacing regular Coke.
COCA COLA LIFE is the result.
It’s green (The bottle, anyway), it’s got much less sugar and calories, and it tastes awesome.
When I bought my first bottle I was actually looking for a Coke Zero which is in my opinion the best compromise between the Coke flavour I (and millions of others) love, and not having too much sugar. However, that has now changed, with the inauguration of Coke Life.
Obviously Coke Life has echoes of the original Coke flavour. I always find that Coke leaves a sickly feeling on the tongue after drinking it, but that is something that happily disappears with Life. The flavour is muted ever so slightly, but it does not wash away completely as is the case with Diet Coke. As I said, I am fond of Coke Zero. In my opinion, Life is an upgraded version of Zero.
There is no overwhelmingly heavy blast of sugar, just a sweet, but moderated coke flavour that doesn’t linger on the tongue for too long, and doesn’t make you want to brush your teeth straight afterwards.
Taste – Will never be full-fat coke, but the best compromise. 9/10
Aftertaste – Doesn’t really have one. Kind of a good thing. 9/10
Green-ness – 10/10
Price – About the same as regular. Nothing special! 6/10
How long it took to arrive – too long/10
OVERALL RATING – 8/10
Coke Life, I want you inside of me.
If you want to try a non-Coke brand that part-sweetens its beverages with Stevia, I recommend the supremely refreshing ZEO. If you live in the US, I believe Zevia is the first port of call.
I’m so glad to see this fantastic plant is finally making its way into the consumer market. Coke is sold in all but three countries in the world; Cuba, North Korea and Myanmar. If a company with such a worldwide reach (And the leading symbols of Capitalism and Type 2 Diabetes) can embrace this low-calorie alternative to sugar, that’s surely a good thing, right? If you disagree, let me know in the comments. I for one think this is excellent.