Is it a coincidence that 8 out of 10 of the biggest selling soft drinks worldwide include caffeine?

Let’s take Coca Cola. Back in 1909, it used to have the same amount of caffeine as a red bull, but that’s been reduced significantly. But, by the same token, people are drinking a lot more sodas. In the USA, that’s the equivalent of 43.8 gallons of soft drink per capita annually. Globally, people are drinking so much Coca Cola that it’s the equivalent of 92 cans of coke per capita worldwide.

Carbonated soft drinks in the USA are worth US$77 billion a year. That’s a lot of Coke.

If you put all coke every consumed into 250ml bottles, they’d stretch to the moon and back over 2000 times.

So, what is so compelling about these wildly popular soft drinks (and we’re not even talking about energy drinks)?

Well, there’s obviously the sugar content, which perks you up. But, does caffeine have a significant role to play why we’re reaching out for the Sprite, Pepsi or Mountain Dew?

The soft drinks industry have long argued that caffeine is not added for the caffeine content, but as a flavouring agent, and continue to do so. Yet some studies have tested Coca Cola on subjects with and without caffeine and less than 10 percent could tell the difference.

It is now commonly agreed that sugary drinks can be addictive and are responsible for some of the obesity epidemic in Europe and North America.

But, is the caffeine element an addictive part of this mix?

The jury’s out and needs more research on this possible connection. Many in the beverages industry assert that caffeine should not be considered a psychoactive drug.

But, nutritional scientists are starting to review the potentially addictive combination of high levels of sugar and caffeine, which causes habitual users to come back time and again to soft drinks to maintain the sugar and caffeine in their systems contributing to higher levels of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. If and when a proven connection is made, there may be more serious scrutiny on the use of caffeine in almost all mainstream sodas or soft drinks…

Will caffeine become the new nicotine? Time will tell, but the signs are that caffeine is a factor for Coke’s huge success worldwide.

Many thanks to ‘Caffeinated: how our daily habit hooks, helps and hurts us’ by Murray Carpenter. Available at Amazon.

April 26, 2016 — Gary Carruthers

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.