01/03/2014 AT 1:00 PM ET
Since it was first introduced in August of 1982, Diet Coke has developed a strangely dedicated fan base.
For Jakki Ballan, Diet Coke is a full-on addiction. The British woman’s love for the beverage turned into a 50-can-a-day habit. According to the Daily Mail, Ballan usually consumes twice her body weight in Diet Coke in a week and has already spent close to $250,000 on her obsession.
Ballan’s DC consumption started when her doctor recommend that she stop drinking regular soda in order to manage her weight. She switched to Diet Coke in response and didn’t look back until her habit started causing hallucinations.
The reality that Ballan kept chugging Diet Coke until she was literally seeing things may sound over-the-top, but the drink has become a lifestyle – and I count myself among the fanatics. I crack open my first fizzing can at nine o’clock in the morning and have a recycling bin overflowing with shining, silver Diet Coke shells by the day’s end.
There are plenty who support my bubbly obsession – looking at you Heidi Klum – and then there are the Diet Coke naysayers. An undying love for this soft drink also means a lifetime of answering the same questions about its supposed evils and oddities. Here are answers to 13 of the most frequent “Diet Coke life choices” inquiries from concerned friends, family and complete strangers.
1. It’s nine o’clock in the morning, why are you drinking that?
If you can drink a coffee named after a dessert at 9 a.m., can’t I have this? Let’s make a mutual “no judgment” agreement.
2. Are you trying to lose weight? Because that won’t help.
There was a naive moment that I hoped sipping on Diet Coke would work wonders on the scale, but no drink can be that perfect. Now it’s just for the thrill of it.
3. Why don’t you just drink regular Coke?
I came. I saw. I tried Coke … and decided Diet Coke tasted better.
4. Don’t you know Diet Coke is bad for you?
Yes, but I am going to let Rizzo take this one.
5. How many of those do you drink a day?
Do you really want to know? Let’s skip to the part where you tell me it’s too much.
6. Is there really a difference between Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi?
Is there a difference between chocolate cake and apple pie?
7. Do you know what’s in Diet Coke?
Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium (for freshness!), citric acid, caffeine and – most importantly – natural flavors. Refreshing!
8. Have you heard about this new study on Diet Coke?
Probably, but you’re going to tell me about it anyway. Go ahead.
9. Ew. I hate the taste of Diet Coke! How can you drink that?
I hate the taste of kale smoothies, but hey, whatever makes your mouth happy.
10. If you want caffeine, why don’t you drink tea or coffee?
I am aware these products exist. Diet Coke hasn’t blinded me to other beverages. We’ve flirted, but DC remains my main squeeze.
11. Have you ever mixed Diet Coke and Mentos together?
Of course! For all the opinions about Diet Coke, everyone can agree DC is the Mt. Vesuvius of Mentos-meets-soda explosions.
12. Do your parents know how much Diet Coke you drink?
Mother knows best, and she keeps the fridge stocked.
13. Did you ever try giving Diet Coke to your cat?
Way to jump to conclusions. Just because I have a cat and love Diet Coke doesn’t mean I have lost all common sense.
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