With increased awareness on the ill effects of sugary food and drinks on the body, soda consumption in the US has continued to decline in the past few years. However, a significant number of Americans still consume sweetened drinks on a regular basis. Perhaps this is because one serving contains less than 200 calories, which can easily be burned off through a quick exercise.
Let’s go see exactly how many calories you’re guzzling up when you pop that tab. Here are some of the most popular drinks consumed in the US and what ingredients create their unique taste.
Introduced in the market in 1886, Coke has since become the world’s most popular and most consumed soft drink. It’s so extremely popular that Coke has a higher market share than Pepsi and Mountain Dew combined. It’s hard to miss its plethora of product placements on television shows, films, and other media.
Regular Coke. Since Coke was first launched, the Coca-Cola Company has come out with other variants. Aside from the original taste, it now comes in cherry, vanilla, orange vanilla, California raspberry, and Georgia peach. They also release limited flavors such as the Coca-Cola Cinnamon to commemorate special holidays.
Regular Coke variants contain high-fructose corn syrup, natural flavors, and caffeine. Natural flavors are used to give it its distinct taste. Other variants are caffeine-free, calorie-free, and sugar-free.
Diet Coke. Initially launched to target an older age group, this diet soda has now become popular even among young adults and teens. Diet Coke uses aspartame and acesulfame potassium as artificial sweeteners.
Coke Zero. In 2004, Coca-Cola offered soda with zero calories and zero sugar but still gave a boost from caffeine. Coke Zero comes in the usual Coke flavors including Cherry and Vanilla.
Caffeine Free Coca-Cola. This caffeine free variant has the same ingredients and caloric content as regular Coke. It just doesn’t have any caffeine in it. It also comes in diet formulation if you want to veer away from sugar.
The archrival of Coca-Cola, Pepsi was first produced by Caleb Bradham in 1898 and offered to pharmacy customers. It has since been reinvented several times over the past years but has kept its original red, white, and blue color scheme.
While Pepsi’s ingredients are pretty much the same as those of Coke, its formulation tends to be on the sweeter side as the products are aimed at the younger generation.
The company first introduced their caffeine-free and diet variants in the early 1980s. Among the variants in their product line now is the Diet Pepsi Max, which contains the highest caffeine content among all soft drinks in the market. You’d definitely get a caffeine boost, with one can giving you 69 mg of go juice.
Pepsi Co developed this “rocket fuel” in 1948. With 54mg of caffeine in one 12-fl-oz can, Mountain Dew can really fuel you with the energy you need. This is why the Dew is marketed as a high-energy drink for teens and sports enthusiasts. It’s what you grab for all-night video game binges and extreme sports activities.
Introduced in the market in 1885, Dr. Pepper beat Coca-Cola by one year and holds the title of being the oldest major soft drink brand. Since it was formulated by pharmacist Charles Alderton, its unique blend of 23 flavors has remained a proprietary secret.
Dr. Pepper also comes in Cherry Vanilla and Cherry flavors. They also have caffeine-free and diet options. Their diet variants use aspartame as a sweetening agent.
Dr. Pepper contains high-fructose corn syrup, natural and artificial flavors (including the unique blend of 23 flavors), and caffeine. One can packs 42 mg of caffeine.
7-Up belongs to the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) brand portfolio but is bottled by Pepsi Co outside the US. It was first formulated in 1929 but was not known as 7-Up until 1936.
This fruity concoction contains citric acid, potassium citrate, and natural flavors. Aside from its iconic lemon lime flavor, it now also comes in cherry flavor.
When Dr. Pepper came up with the fruity 7-Up, Coca-Cola was compelled to come up with its own lemon-lime flavored drink. In 1961, Sprite was released to rival 7-Up. While it was initially promoted as an alcoholic drink mixer, it’s now enjoyed on its own as a caffeine-free thirst quencher.
To make Sprite, Coke ditched caffeine and swapped phosphoric acid with citric acid and sodium citrate.
Mirinda is arguably the soft drink with the most variants. There are over 44 different fruity flavors sold in more than 100 countries worldwide. Mirinda’s flavors vary depending on the region, but the most popular flavor worldwide is Orange.
Aside from the typical ingredients for soft drinks, Mirinda contains citric acid, ascorbic acid, sodium citrate, and various natural flavors.
Fanta is the second beverage product developed by the Coca-Cola Company. It was first released in the market in Germany in 1941. Even today, it is more popular in Europe, Africa, and Latin countries than in the United States. It is believed that Brazil drinks the most Fanta in the world.
Fanta comes in various flavors including Apple, Berry, Cherry, Fruit Punch, Grape, Grapefruit, Green Apple, Mango, Orange, Peach, Pineapple, Strawberry, and Wild Cherry.
Fanta is made with natural flavors, citric acid, malic acid, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate.
Content Comparison of Popular Soft Drinks
There are too many variants of soda to compare, so we have chosen the most popular ones to give you an idea of how many calories and how much sugar, sodium, and caffeine you consume when you quench your thirst with these sugary drinks. All values are for one 12-fl-oz (330ml) can of soda. The highest values are in red and the lowest in green.
|Calories||Sugar (in g)||Sodium (in mg)||Caffeine (in mg)|
As seen on the list, Mountain Dew ranked the highest in calorie, sugar, and caffeine content. So, if you need an energy booster, grab a can of the Dew. If you’re trying to veer off the excess calories, your best choice would definitely be Coke Zero. You get the boost from caffeine without boosting your weight.
Our website also has a nifty interactive comparison tool. Check it out to compare the nutritional and caloric content of other beverages.
Choose the Less Harmful Soda
It’s pretty understandable that it can be difficult to keep soda cravings away. While these drinks really do not provide much nutritional value, having a can every now and then should be fine. Just be aware of what’s inside each can and try to choose the ones that can harm your body the least. Most importantly, make sure you get some exercise to burn those extra calories.