30 Shocking Soda Facts You’ll Never Believe

Red soda cans

Soda – often referred to as pop, coke, or soft drinks – is enjoyed around the world. But behind its sweet taste and bubbly sensation, there are some surprising facts about its history, ingredients, and health impacts.

From its origins as patent medicine to its effects on your smile, here are 30 fascinating facts about soda you probably never knew:

1. Early Sodas Were Marketed as Medicine

Believe it or not, the first sodas were touted as health tonics or cures and sold in pharmacies in the late 1700s. Their questionable ingredients even included extracts of coca leaves and tobacco. Talk about toxic!

2. Original Soda Recipes Contained Toxic Chemicals

Those early sodas featured ingredients we’d never dream of allowing now. We’re talking lithium citrate, coca leaves, and other chemicals that would be banned for human consumption today.

3. The Name “Soda” Comes from Sodium

We can thank the chemical sodium for the term “soda.” Early on, sodium salts were used as a key ingredient in manufacturing sodas.

4. Coca-Cola Dominates as the World’s Most Distributed Product

It’s hard to beat the branding and distribution of Coca-Cola. You can find Coke in over 200 countries around the world, making it the most widely distributed commercial product on the planet.

5. Fizzy Drinks Started Out in Pharmacies

The first carbonated sodas were developed and sold in pharmacies back in the late 1700s. They were considered health remedies and tonics at the time.

6. Soda Can Be Used to Clean and Dissolve Substances

Who knew soda could be so versatile? Turns out the carbonic and phosphoric acid in most sodas can help clean or dissolve substances like rust, grease, and grime.

7. Coca-Cola Helped Shape Modern Visions of Santa Claus

Coca-Cola’s long-running Christmas ads at the turn of the 20th century helped cement modern portrayals of Santa Claus as a jolly, red-suited man with a white beard.

8. Glass Bottles Keep Soda Fizzier than Plastic

While plastic soda bottles may be cheaper and more portable, glass bottles actually do a better job of retaining carbonation and keeping soda fizzy.

9. Coca-Cola’s Secret Recipe May Have Been Revealed

One of the best-kept trade secrets – the top-secret recipe for Coca-Cola – was purportedly uncovered by an NPR radio show in 2011. But Coke still disputes its validity.

10. Billions of Aluminum Cans Are Produced Annually

It’s astounding how much aluminum goes into soda cans. Over 160 billion are produced globally per year – that’s about 6,700 cans per second!

11. Dr Pepper Started Out as a Hot Soda

An African American man enters a movie theatre through the colored entrance
Dr Pepper

The popular Dr Pepper soda first hit the market in the 1880s, a carbonated beverage sold at Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas.

Dr Pepper began marketing hot Dr Pepper in 1959. The idea was to serve the drink hot with lemon slices in winter. The fad mostly caught on in the South but eventually faded from soda history

12. Coca-Cola Originally Contained Coca Leaves and Alcohol

Coca-Cola’s predecessor drink, Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, included coca leaves (cocaine) and alcohol. Safe to say the formula evolved quite a bit since 1886!

13. Soda Could Increase Your Appetite

Studies suggest that the bubbles and sweet taste of soda may boost appetite and food consumption. The carbonation can expand your stomach, while the sugar enhances cravings.

14. Coca-Cola Became the First Soda in Space

 Coca-Cola Became the First Soda in Space

Expanding its global reach, Coca-Cola flew aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1985, becoming the first soda drunk in space. Astronauts enjoyed specially designed cans.

15. Pepsi Debuted in North Carolina

Pepsi-Cola was created by a pharmacist named Caleb Bradham in New Bern, North Carolina in the late 1890s. Originally called “Brad’s Drink,” it was later renamed Pepsi-Cola in 1898.

16. Soda Can Be Addictive to Some

Between the caffeine, sugar, carbonation, and flavorings, soda can be habit-forming and addictive in nature for certain individuals.

17. The Word “Coca” Came from Coca Leaves

The first part of the famous Coca-Cola name was derived from the coca leaves (the raw material for cocaine) originally used to produce it.

18. A Revolutionary Bottling Machine Changed the Game

The invention of the Crown cork bottle seal and automated bottling equipment allowed Coca-Cola to be mass-produced and distributed like never before.

19. Fanta Originated in Nazi Germany

When Coca-Cola syrup ran short in Germany during World War II, Fanta was created as a homegrown substitute in 1940. The fruity soda proved popular.

20. Early Root Beers Were Called Root Tea

Before it was root beer, the drink was called root tea. This early form of soda was brewed from sassafras bark in the 1800s.

21. Coke Attempted to Displace Coffee

Coca-Cola has repeatedly tried to position itself to replace coffee as a preferred morning ritual since the late 1980s. But coffee still reigns supreme.

22. Soda May Deplete Calcium from Bones

The high amounts of phosphoric acid in soda have been linked to calcium depletion from bones. This could increase the risk of osteoporosis over time.

23. “Diet” Sodas Are Increasingly Called “Zero”

Coca Cola Zero
Coca Cola Zero by xcaballe is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 .

Once marketed as “diet,” more and more low-calorie sodas are now being rebranded and labeled as “zero sugar” or “zero calorie” instead.

24. Unusual Soda Flavors Exist

Think you’ve tasted every soda flavor? Think again. Some shockingly odd varieties include buffalo wing, salmon, bacon, ranch dressing and more.

25. Cuba and North Korea Lack American Sodas

Due to ongoing trade embargoes, iconic American soda brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi are not officially sold in Cuba or North Korea.

26. Trying Every Coke Product Would Take Over a Decade

glass of the coke

From juices to teas, waters, sodas and more, Coca-Cola sells over 3,500 beverage products worldwide. At one per day, it would take nearly 11 years to taste them all!

27. Carbonated Water Dates Back to the 1700s

While commercial sodas came later, the first carbonated water was created by Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen, in 1767.

28. Mountain Dew Was Invented as a Whiskey Mixer

The neon green soda originally called “Mountain Dew” was developed in the 1940s specifically as a mixer for whiskey. Its citrus taste helped mask whiskey’s bite.

29. Tab Still Has a Cult Following

Tab, Coca-Cola’s first diet soda introduced in 1963, still has an avid fan base today despite being discontinued. Petitions for its return abound.

30. Soda Harms Your Oral Health

In addition to contributing to obesity and diabetes, soda is terrible for your teeth. It erodes enamel and increases cavities from the acidity and sugar.

So there you have it – 30 fascinating facts about soda you probably never knew! From its medicinal origins to its health impacts, soda has a surprising history and many lesser-known effects on the human body.

Next time you crack open a cold can or bottle, maybe you’ll think twice and opt for a healthier drink instead. Moderation is key when it comes to soda consumption. But armed with these facts, you can make an informed choice.

Similar Posts