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Tumbler of cola with ice.jpg
A glass of cola served with ice cubes
TypeSoft drink
Country of origin United States
IntroducedMay 8, 1886; 134 years ago (1886-05-08),[1][2] as Coca-Cola
ColorCaramel (with certain exceptions such as Zevia Cola)
FlavorCola (kola nut, citrus, cinnamon and vanilla)

Cola is a sweetened, carbonated soft drink flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, citrus oils and other flavorings. Most contain caffeine, which was originally sourced from the kola nut, leading to the drink's name, though other sources are now also used. Cola became popular worldwide after pharmacist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886, which was later imitated by other manufacturers.[3][4] His non-alcoholic recipe was inspired by the coca wine of pharmacist Angelo Mariani, created in 1863.[4]

Most modern colas contain caramel color, and are sweetened with sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup. They now come in numerous different brands. Among them, the most popular are Coca-Cola and Pepsi. These two companies have been competing since the 1890s, but their rivalry has intensified since the 1980s.


The primary modern flavoring ingredients in a cola drink are citrus oils (from orange, lime, and lemon peels), cinnamon, vanilla, and an acidic flavorant.[5][6] Manufacturers of cola drinks add trace flavorings to create distinctively different tastes for each brand. Trace flavorings may include a wide variety of ingredients, such as spices like nutmeg or coriander, but the base flavorings that most people identify with a cola taste remain citrus, 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.[7] In addition, stevia or an artificial sweetener may be used; "sugar-free" or "diet" colas typically contain artificial sweeteners only.

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.[8]

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.

In Denmark, a popular clear cola was made by the Cooperative FDB in 1976. It was especially known for being the "Hippie Cola" because of the focus of the harmful effects the color additive could have on children and the boycott of multinational brands. It was inspired by a campaign on harmful additives in Denmark by the Environmental-Organisation NOAH, an independent Danish division of Friends of the Earth. This was followed up with a variety of sodas without artificial coloring.[9] Today many organic colas are available in Denmark, but, for nostalgic reasons, clear cola has still maintained its popularity to a certain degree.[10]

In June 2018, Coca-Cola introduced Coca-Cola Clear in Japan.[11][12]

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.[13]

Studies indicate "soda and sweetened drinks are the main source of calories in [the] American diet",[14] 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, vitamin C, riboflavin, and vitamin A.[15]

The drink has also aroused criticism for its use of caffeine, which can cause physical dependence (caffeine dependence).[16] A link has been shown between long-term regular cola intake and osteoporosis in older women (but not men).[17] This was thought to be due to the presence of phosphoric acid, and the risk for women was found to be greater for sugared and caffeinated colas than diet and decaffeinated variants, with a higher intake of cola correlating with lower bone density.

Many soft drinks in North America 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.[18]

Regional brands[edit]



Bottles of "Berry cola", a soft drink produced in Indre (France)

North America[edit]


South America[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved December 3, 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 16, 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved December 3, 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b "Coca Wine". Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  5. ^ DeNeefe, Janet (March 13, 2008). "The Exotic Romance of Tamarind". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  6. ^ "Cola 2". Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Braswell, Sean (April 23, 2015). "Coke made especially for a communist". Ozy. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  9. ^ Samvirke. "Samvirke - Rød sodavand - uden farve!". Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  10. ^ "Husker du? Kult-colaen vender endelig tilbage". Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  11. ^ "Coca-Cola Clear launches in Japan". Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  12. ^ "Coca-Cola Pulls a Pepsi and Launches Clear Coke". June 6, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  13. ^ 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 3433753. PMID 17525693.
  14. ^ "Preliminary Data Suggest That Soda And Sweet Drinks Are The Main Source Of Calories In American Diet". May 27, 2005. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Center for Science in the Public Interest (1997). "Label Caffeine Content of Foods, Scientists Tell FDA." Retrieved June 10, 2005. Archived July 24, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ 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". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 84 (4): 936–942. doi:10.1093/ajcn/84.4.936. PMID 17023723.
  18. ^ "Single food ingredient the cause of obesity ? New study has industry up in arms". (April 26, 2004). Retrieved February 27, 2007.
  19. ^ "Le Breizh Cola sera intégralement produit en Bretagne". Ouest France. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  20. ^ Sørensen, Nils Arne; Petersen, Klaus (November 2012). "Corporate Capitalism or Coca-Colonisation? Economic Interests, Cultural Concerns, Tax Policies and Coca-Cola in Denmark from 1945 to the Early 1960s". Contemporary European History. 21 (4): 597–617. doi:10.1017/S0960777312000392. ISSN 0960-7773.
  21. ^ "LOCKWOODS-Cola-330mL-Great Britain". Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  22. ^ "LOCKWOODS-Cola (diet)-326mL-Great Britain". Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  23. ^ "Sky Cola". SkyCola.
  24. ^ "Ajegroup". Ajegroup. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  25. ^ "Grupo Perú Cola - Hoy el Perú sabe mejor" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on March 4, 2018. Retrieved September 29, 2013.

External links[edit]