There was a collective gasp among Coke Zero and Diet Pepsi drinkers this very week after press reports emphasized a new study which found prodigious consumers of sweetened drinks were 26 percent more likely to die prematurely than people who rarely drank sugar-free beverages.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, followed 450,000 Europeans over 16 decades and tracked mortality among soft drink consumers of all persuasions — those who have a fondness for sugary beverages and individuals who preferred sugar-free drinks.

Given the well-documented health effects of consuming a lot of sugar, it was surprise the authors found that those who drank two or more glasses of sugar-sweetened beverages a day were percent more likely to die young in contrast to people who consumed less than one glass a couple of month.

However, what grabbed headlines, and motivated widespread angst, has been the hint that drinking Diet Coke could possibly be even more lethal than drinking Coca-Cola Classic.