MANY Brits will reach for a diet alternative to their favourite fizzy drink because they assume this swap is better for their health.
But is drinking Diet Coke or Pepsi Max actually equally as damaging?
Here’s a run-down on the key ingredients and how they affect your health…
What do these lower calorie options actually contain?
While Diet Coke and Pepsi Max don’t contain any sugar, they are still packed with artificial sweeteners.
Both fizzy drinks contain aspartame and acesuflame K.
The former has been linked to an increased chance of brain tumours, cancer, premature birth, liver damage and allergies.
It may even reduce a woman’s change of getting pregnant during IVF, as a Brazilian study showed that those who drank the low-calorie pop produced poorer eggs and embreyos.
Despite this, the European Food Safety Authority conducted a comprehensive review into the evidence in 2013 and concluded that aspartame was safe for human consumption.
Acesuflame K is an equally controversial ingredient, although these claims have also been dismissed by the EFSA.
A report from the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that the artificial sweetener could impair cognitive memory functions.
And another suggested that acesuflame K could affect prenatal development.
Are Diet Coke and Pepsi Max caffeine free?
Contrary to popular belief, these diet drinks actually contain MORE caffeine than full fat versions.
According to the official Coca-Cola UK website, a regular Coke contains 32mg of caffeine, as does the Zero Sugar option.
Diet Coke contains 42mg of caffeine, a significantly larger amount.
It's a similar story for Pepsi, which has a higher caffeine content by a whopping 41mg when comparing their regular and Max offerings.
How are Diet Coke or Pepsi Max linked to dementia?
Just one diet drink a day can triple the risk of a deadly stroke, a study suggests.
The researchers also found links to dementia described as a “worrying association” by experts.
Data was collected from those who drank the artificially-sweetened pop were three times the risk of suffering the most common form of stroke compared to non-drinkers.
They were also 2.9 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
Despite this research, the findings were dismissed by some British authorities have called for further investigation.
How bad are the impacts of full fat Coke on your health?
Earlier this year, a grim experiment lifted the lid on just how much sugar goes into a bottle of Coke.
After boiling up a pan of Coca-Cola next to company’s diet alternative, the difference between the liquids was shocking.
While the vat of regular Coke was left covered in congealed black sugar, the remnants of the Coke Zero showed a small trace of burnt sugar covering barely a quarter of the frying pan.
This was unsurprising, as one can of Coca-Cola contains 35g of sugar - exceeding the 30g recommended daily allowance for adults.
So does this mean that Diet Coke is better for you than full fat?
Sadly, it seems that both options are just as bad as each other and should only be enjoyed as a cheeky treat.
Earlier this year a study claimed there was no evidence artificially-sweetened beverages – such as Diet Coke – are better for staying trim or slimming than sugar-filled versions.
They said diet drinks do not cut the risk of developing obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
Experts warn they may even cause weight gain, by stimulating people’s sweet tooth and causing them to eat more.