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What’s In My Food: Coca-Cola Ingredients Explained

Updated on November 26, 2012


Reading the ingredient list on your food label and knowing what they are, are two different things. For example: Do you know what the ingredients BHT, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, blue 1, and phosphoric acid are? Well you should, since you are consuming them on a daily basis. One's use is banned in restaurants. Another is mined from the earth. And the Other two are made from petroleum.

Can you imagine what these ingredients are doing to your body? Well don't imagine. Know. Educate yourself. Read on to learn exactly what your food is made of, and what it’s doing to your health.

In all products, ingredients must be listed according to their relative weight. The listing of each ingredient is in a descending order of predominance.


Coca Cola’s ingredients are: carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine.


1. Carbonated Water: Plain water into which carbon dioxide gas has been dissolved.

Health effects: Linked to tooth decay. May reduce fertility. Suspected teratogen (any agent that interferes with normal embryonic development).

2. High fructose corn syrup: Corn derived sweetener. Corn starch is processed to corn syrup and then treated with enzymes to convert glucose in fructose.

Health Effects: Excess may increase risk of tooth decay, abnormal weight gain, kidney stones, gout, kidney stones, colon cancer, and diabetes. Large amounts have caused tumors in mice. In 2005, some U.S. manufactured high fructose corn syrup was found to contain trace amounts of mercury.

It’s almost impossible to consume HFCS in moderation. It’s pervasive. It’s everywhere. Especially in food marketed to children. The best course of action is to avoid it altogether. Avoid all foods that use it as a sweetener.

3. Caramel Color: Brown food coloring and flavoring made by heating a sugar, usually corn syrup. May be processed with ammonia and sulfur to intensify color.

Health effects: May contain ammonium compounds. May affect stomach (gastrointestinal problems), liver, and cause hyperactivity. Caramel color produced with ammonia has been associated with blood toxicity in animals. Associated with reduced white cells and lymphocyte counts.

This is, without a doubt, NOT A FOOD.
This is, without a doubt, NOT A FOOD. | Source

4. Phosphoric Acid: A colorless, odorless solution made from phosphate rock (not a food).

Health effects: May lead to calcium loss in bones and tooth erosion. Eye, skin, throat, nose, and respiratory irritant. Can cause osteoporosis. Linked to kidney damage and kidney stones. NOT A FOOD.

*A corrosive, used to remove rust. Crumpled aluminum dipped in Coca Cola can be used to remove rust.

5. Natural flavors: Any flavor not chemically derived. Obtained by physical processes from plants or animals. Made to provide flavor to a food rather than nutritional value. May contain MSG.

Health effects: Unknown.Different foods use different natural flavors and processes. Naturally derived ingredients may be altered, rendered unsafe. It should be noted that the use of the word “natural flavors” is often cleverly used to mask the use of harmful flavors.


6. Caffeine: Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that is a psychoactive stimulant drug.

Health effects: Psychoactive, addictive. May cause headaches/migraines, heart disease, depression. Causes birth defects in rats. Can cross the placental barrier. Inhibits fetal growth. Women who consume the amount of caffeine in one and a half to three cups of coffee may nearly double their risk of miscarriage.

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    • The Smiling Man profile imageAUTHOR

      The Smiling Man 

      6 years ago from USA

      Exactly. To give it that sharper, tangy flavor. The large amount of sugar is used to mask the acidity.

    • Chuck Bluestein profile image

      Chuck Bluestein 

      6 years ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

      Do you have any idea why they add phosphoric acid? Does it give it a sharper taste. Phosphoric acid is also an excellent degreaser.

    • profile image

      STAN 

      6 years ago

      Thanks I needed this for a report and it was a lifesaver!

    • eventsyoudesign profile image

      eventsyoudesign 

      7 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      Hey! Great article. I agree with you smiling man. I do not drink sodas and have not most of my life. I never really liked them plus they are too sweet and I don't like that. Sodas do have many negative effects on the body but that will not stop people from drinking them. The FDA endorses them and they are suppose to be on our side? That is funny. At least a cup of black coffee has health benefits. The other thing is the corn syrup. The industry wants us to call it corn sugar now. In earlier commercials for the stuff the ads always stated, "It is fine in moderation". You are right, people need to stay away from it, it is not good for you. Thanks for another great article.

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