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Glass cola.jpg
A glass of cola served with ice cubes and two lemon slices.
Type soft drink
Country of origin United States
Introduced 1886
Color Caramel
Flavor Cola (kola nut, citrus, cinnamon and vanilla)

Cola is a sweetened, carbonated soft drink, made from ingredients that contain caffeine from the kola nut and non-cocaine derivatives from coca leaves, flavored with vanilla and other ingredients. Most colas now use other flavoring (and caffeinating) ingredients with a similar taste. Colas became popular worldwide after pharmacist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886.[1] His non-alcoholic recipe was inspired by the coca wine of pharmacist Angelo Mariani, created in 1863.[1]

Modern colas usually contain caramel color, caffeine, and sweeteners such as sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.


The primary modern flavoring ingredients in a cola drink are sugar, citrus oils (from oranges, limes, or lemon fruit peel), cinnamon, vanilla, and an acidic flavorant.[2][3] Manufacturers of cola drinks add trace ingredients to create distinctively different tastes for each brand. Trace flavorings may include nutmeg and a wide variety of ingredients, but the base flavorings that most people identify with a cola taste remain vanilla and cinnamon. Acidity is often provided by phosphoric acid, sometimes accompanied by citric or other isolated acids. Coca-Cola's recipe is maintained as a corporate trade secret.

A variety of different sweeteners may be added to cola, often partly dependent on local agricultural policy. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is predominantly used in the United States and Canada due to the lower cost of government-subsidized corn. In Europe, however, HFCS is subject to production quotas designed to encourage the production of sugar; sugar is thus typically used to sweeten sodas.[4] In addition, stevia or an artificial sweetener may be used; "sugar-free" or "diet" colas typically contain artificial sweeteners only.

Cola can be manufactured with sugar as in Mexican Coca-Cola.[5][6] Kosher for Passover Coca-Cola sold in the U.S. around the Jewish holiday also uses sucrose rather than HFCS and is also highly sought after by people who prefer the original taste.[7] In addition, PepsiCo has recently been marketing versions of its Pepsi and Mountain Dew sodas that are sweetened with sugar instead of HFCS. These are marketed under the name Throwback and became permanent products.[8]

Clear cola[edit]

Crystal Pepsi, 20 oz. bottle, as seen in the US in 2016

In the 1940s, Coca-Cola produced White Coke at the request of Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov.

Clear colas were again produced during the Clear Craze of the early 1990s. Brands included Crystal Pepsi, Tab Clear, and 7 Up Ice Cola. Crystal Pepsi has been repeatedly reintroduced in the 2010s.

Health effects[edit]

A 2007 study found that consumption of colas, both those with natural sweetening and those with artificial sweetening, was associated with increased risk of chronic kidney disease. The phosphoric acid used in colas was thought to be a possible cause.[9]

Studies indicate "soda and sweetened drinks are the main source of calories in [the] American diet",[10] so most nutritionists advise that Coca-Cola and other soft drinks can be harmful if consumed excessively, particularly to young children whose soft drink consumption competes with, rather than complements, a balanced diet. Studies have shown that regular soft drink users have a lower intake of calcium, magnesium, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, and vitamin A.[11]

The drink has also aroused criticism for its use of caffeine, which can cause physical dependence (caffeine addiction).[12] A link has been shown between long-term regular cola intake and osteoporosis in older women (but not men).[13] This was thought to be due to the presence of phosphoric acid, and the risk was found to be the same for caffeinated and noncaffeinated colas, as well as the same for diet and sugared colas.

Many soft drinks are sweetened mostly or entirely with high-fructose corn syrup, rather than sugar. Some nutritionists caution against consumption of corn syrup because it may aggravate obesity and type-2 diabetes more than cane sugar.[14]

Regional brands[edit]



North America[edit]



  • Hamoud-Boualem: Famous in Algeria, with different flavours; also sold in Europe and US.

South America[edit]



  • "NCIS" featured Caf-Pow as consumed in large quantity by character Abby Sciuto

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Coca Wine". Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  2. ^ DeNeefe, Janet (March 13, 2008). "The Exotic Romance of Tamarind". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Cola 2". Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ M. Ataman Aksoy; John C. Beghin, eds. (2005). "Sugar Policies: An Opportunity for Change". Global Agricultural Trade and Developing Countries. World Bank Publications. p. 329. ISBN 0-8213-5863-4. 
  5. ^ Is Mexican Coke the real thing? By Louise Chu Associated Press November 9, 2004 The San Diego Union-Tribune
  6. ^ "Coke". October 29, 2004. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  7. ^ Dixon, Duffie (April 9, 2009). "Kosher Coke". Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  8. ^ Horovitz, Bruce (March 11, 2011). "Pepsi, Frito-Lay capitalize on fond thoughts of the good ol' days". USA Today. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  9. ^ Tina M. Saldana; Olga Basso; Rebecca Darden; Dale P. Sandler (2007). "Carbonated beverages and chronic kidney disease". Epidemiology. 18 (4): 501–6. doi:10.1097/EDE.0b013e3180646338. PMC 3433753Freely accessible. PMID 17525693. 
  10. ^ "Preliminary Data Suggest That Soda And Sweet Drinks Are The Main Source Of Calories In American Diet". May 27, 2005. Retrieved July 2, 2011. 
  11. ^ Jacobson, Michael F. (2005). "Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming Americans' Health", pp. 5–6. Center for Science in the Public Interest. Retrieved October 13, 2010.
  12. ^ Center for Science in the Public Interest (1997). "Label Caffeine Content of Foods, Scientists Tell FDA." Retrieved June 10, 2005. Archived July 10, 2007, at WebCite
  13. ^ Tucker KL, Morita K, Qiao N, Hannan MT, Cupples LA, Kiel DP (October 1, 2006). "Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study" (PDF). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 84 (4): 336–342. PMID 17023723. Retrieved April 21, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Single food ingredient the cause of obesity ? New study has industry up in arms". (April 26, 2004). Retrieved February 27, 2007.
  15. ^ "'My Cola' breaks new ground". theSundaily. Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Le Breizh Cola sera intégralement produit en Bretagne". Ouest France. Retrieved 11 October 2017. 
  17. ^ "Harboe Cola"
  18. ^ "Haji Cola"
  19. ^ "Irish Cola Archived 2011-05-26 at the Wayback Machine."
  20. ^ "Sky Cola". SkyCola. 
  21. ^ "Johnnie Ryan"
  22. ^ "Ajegroup". Ajegroup. Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Grupo Perú Cola - Hoy el Perú sabe mejor" (in Spanish). Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Bienvenidos a ELSA" (in Spanish). Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Kiwi Cola Archived 2010-08-17 at the Wayback Machine."
  26. ^ "Bickford's Old Style Original Kola"

External links[edit]