Sunday, 16 November 2008 | Tags:

Originally developed by pharmacists to cure headaches and depression, the first Coca-Cola was served in 1886. The battle of the colas started in 1898, when Pepsi came onto the scene. We taste for ourselves to see what the fizz is all about.

The Basics

  • The two main colas are Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola. RC Cola and other generic manufacturers have a much smaller piece of the market.

  • The flavoured syrup used in various cola recipes are closely-guarded company secrets.

  • Colas are 90% water.

  • One can of Coke contains approximately 38 grams of sugar: the equivalent of 10 sugar cubes!

  • The average can of cola has about 34-37 mg of caffeine. Some are fortified with even more, and some are caffeine-free.

Other Considerations

  • There are many variations of colas available from the two main companies, including zero-calorie versions, cherry flavour, and more.

  • Diet colas are artificially sweetened with products like Aspartame, Nutrasweet or Equal.

  • It’s much more economical to purchase cola in bottles as opposed to cans.

Be Aware

  • Colas and other soft drinks should be consumed in moderation.

  • Some scientists believe artificial sweeteners (like those in diet colas) can have harmful side effects, especially in children and pregnant women.

  • Traces of phosphoric acid in colas raises health concerns with some people. But our food scientist assures us that the amounts are very small.

  • Caffeine levels in cola aren’t a big concern, however over-consuming may lead to side effects like anxiety, insomnia, nausea, or upset stomach, especially in children.


We recruited some help to taste test these colas for our series The Shopping Bags:

  • Coca-Cola Classic: $1.99 / 2 litre bottle
  • Pepsi: $1.99 / 2 litre bottle
  • RC Cola: $1.25 / 2 litre bottle
  • Generic (President’s Choice): .98¢ / 2 litre bottle

Our tests and results include:

Taste Test

  • Over half our testers picked Coca-Cola Classic.

  • Most of the remaining testers chose Pepsi.

  • A small percentage picked RC and Generic President’s Choice.

  • Diet Coke won the diet taste test.


We went with the majority and feel Coca-Cola Classic is the choice that will satisfy most cola thirsts.

   Thanks to Our Experts

Massimo Marcone, food scientist

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