If this presidential thing doesn’t last, President Trump might consider a new side gig as a pitchman for Coca-Cola. He drinks up to a dozen Diet Cokes a day, according to The New York Times, citing White House insiders.
His drink of choice is especially interesting for someone who tweeted about the popular sugar-free drink in 2012 saying, “I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.”
The sheer volume — 144 ounces, for those counting — Trump may be consuming each day made us wonder what all that soda does to a human body, so we asked Boston University nutrition professor Joan Salge Blake.
Let’s start with the teeth. Salge Blake pointed out that Diet Coke contains citric acid and phosphoric acid, which in large amounts can damage teeth.
“The teeth are really problematic because that can really demineralize your teeth and increase your risk of dental cavities,” she said.
Then there’s the caffeine. Every 12-ounce can of Diet Coke contains 46 milligrams of caffeine, so the president would be consuming 552 milligrams a day if he sticks to his daily dozen. Salge Blake said Trump “is a little bit over” the accepted amount for safe daily caffeine consumption for adults, which tops off at 400 milligrams. She said the amount in 12 Diet Cokes could make a person “jittery” and affect their sleep, depending on when they’re drinking it. (Trump has said he sleeps only four or five hours a night.)
What about artificial sweeteners? Research on the health implications of artificial sweeteners is inconclusive. But some nutrition scientists, The Washington Post has reported, say the sweeteners can confuse the brain and the body, desensitizing consumers to sugar and leading them to consume more sweets without being aware of their caloric intake.
BU neurology fellow Matthew Pase authored a study showing that drinking one or more cans of diet soda each day was associated with a three-fold increased risk for stroke and dementia over a 10-year follow-up period, compared with individuals who drank no artificially sweetened beverages.
The researchers emphasized that the study showed only a correlation — not causation.
This isn’t the first time Trump’s dietary habits have garnered attention. In November, Politico reported that the president’s ideal McDonald’s order consisted of a quarter-pounder with cheese (no pickles, extra ketchup) and a fried apple pie. All combined, that’s 743 calories and 37 grams of fat.
In a forthcoming book, Trump’s former campaign manger Corey Lewandowski and top aide David Bossie further described a 2,400-calorie dinner order that included “two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted.’’