Feel guilty and unhealthy for loving Coca-Cola & concerned about caffeine? This Mum looks at the facts.

I have loved Coca-Cola since I was a teen when I was able to drink "full fat" Coke from the signature red cans with no worries and certainly no guilt. It was just a lovely refreshing treat.

It never occurred to me, to be honest, to not allow my children to enjoy it too. I believe in everything in moderation although for the sake of my figure and my diabetic consultant I switched to Coke Zero years ago!

And I'll confess I feel more sad than guilty when I hear other parents say their children are banned from drinking it on the grounds it is unhealthy. Well, yes a lot of things that we enjoy aren't always the most healthy choice but a treat is a treat and since I make sure that less healthy choices don't become staple diet fodder I refuse to feel bad about my choices. I'd be a hypocrite if I preached abstinence when I love Coke myself so much!

Anyway, luckily for me Coca-Cola has a great choice of online tools and "real world" opportunities to make sure that people can be re-assured that they can be healthy and fit while enjoying their favourite drink too.

Have you heard of Park Lives? It's a fabulous initiative from Coca-Cola offering a programme of fun, free family activities in more than 70 parks which they plan to expand from the first three venues in Birmingham, Newcastle and the London Borough of Newham to parks in towns and cities across the UK over the next few years.

Activities on offer range from Tai Chi and rounders to Zumba and table tennis and all sessions will be free. The scheme launched just a few days ago after Coca-Cola pledged earlier this year to get one million people active by 2020. Impressive! I look forward to the scheme coming to a park near me soon.

One of the factors a lot of people quote as their reason to not drink Coke is the caffeine content. I must admit I had worried a bit about this as my 18-year-old son loves Coke and I was concerned that he drinks too much.

However my fears were laid to rest after using the Coca-Cola online caffeine calculator and learning that caffeine-wise he was better off drinking Coca-Cola than filter coffee, tea or eating a bar of plain chocolate! Did you realise that "healthy" green tea contains more caffeine than "full-fat" red-can Coke? I certainly didn't!

madmumof7 & DS#2- huge fans of Coca-Cola
The "work it out" caffeine calculator is brilliant for anyone worried about caffeine intake like pregnant women or parents and just interesting for people not worried but curious! As well as totting up your daily intake you can learn more about what caffeine is used for and how it affects hydration and athletic performance. There are lots of FAQs and examples of completely caffeine free Coca-Cola drinks in case you'd prefer to avoid it altogether!

You might be surprised to learn that this is not in fact a sponsored post. I got chatting to a  representative of Coca-Cola at Britmums Live this year and after mentioning my teen son's love of the product she offered to send me information to put my mind at rest about the caffeine intake side of his consumption.  I have shared this information in the genuine belief it might reassure other people too!