How Do Diet Drinks Have Zero Calories? 🥤

Henry Belcaster
Henry Belcaster
3 min read

It’s 5AM on a Smart Nonsense school day.

Crack open a Diet Coke, would ya?

Because today we’re learning how diet drinks have zero calories.

Let’s take it back to 1879.

John Hopkins University.

Or is it Johns* Hopkins?

Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins University.

Ya, that’s right.


The plural of John.

Totally fine.

So at Johns Hopkins University we’ve got this russian chemist – Constantin Fahlberg.

And Constantin is in the lab hunting for new chemicals that can be used as dyes and medicines.

He’s working with coal tar compounds – a thick, black liquid you get from the gas of burning coal.

Which is funny, because that’s exactly where I’d be looking for new medicines too.

Constantin had discovered anhydroorthosulphaminebenzoic acid.

But don’t worry, you never need to pronounce that.

Because he called his anhydroorthosulphaminebenzoic acid compound saccharin [SAK-a-rinn]

Aka the beauties you’ll find on the table at your favorite breakfast spot:

The first artificial sweetener.

A colorless, odorless compound 200 times sweeter than sugar.

Oh and unlike sugar, saccharin has 0 calories.


Great question.

When you eat sugars, you know you start salivating like a monkey that’s been allowed to climb on a human woman.

That’s because your saliva contains an enzyme called amylase.

And amylase is really great at breaking down sugar into glucose – a type of sugar the body can use for energy ⚡

But the artificial sweetener Saccharin was invented by a Russian chemist.

It’s a synthetic compound.

There’s no enzyme in the human body that recognizes it and wants to break it down.

The Russian artificial sweetener tastes sweet, then just passes through your digestive system unchanged.

You pee it out.

0 calories.

And 150 years later, saccharin is still found on diner tabletops next to your Diet Coke filled with another artificial sweetener – aspartame.

Stay Cute,
Henry & Dylan 🌈

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P.P.S Click below to watch a Diet Coke video 👇


Morning sweet tooth!

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