What’s in Coca-Cola?

A 12 ounce can of coca-cola has 39 grams of added sugar from High Fructose Corn Syrup. Since sugar has 4 grams per calorie, this can of coca-cola has 156 calories. Do these sugar calories meet or exceed your sugar limit?

What’s Your Daily Sugar Limit?

Nutritional Facts labels are based on the percent daily value of a 2,000 calorie diet. 2020 – 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend you limit added sugars to 10% of your calorie needs. The Nutritional Facts label on a coca-cola with 39 grams of added sugar has a 78 percent daily value. (156 calories/200 calories = .78)

However, your calorie need depends on your gender, age, and physical activity lifestyle. Discover your daily calorie needs. For example, a 40-year-old man who walks fewer than 30 minutes per day (sedentary lifestyle) has a daily calorie need of 2400. His daily sugar limit is 240 calories. How much coca-cola can this man consume without exceeding his sugar limit?

What's in Coca-Cola can of coke

20 oz bottle of Coca-Cola

A 20-ounce bottle of coca-cola has 65 grams of sugar. Since there are 4 grams of sugar in every calorie, a 20-oz bottle of Coke has 260 calories. Thus, this bottle of coca-cola exceeds the sugar limit of a 40-year-old sedentary man. 

This man’s sugar limit is 60 grams. Therefore, he can consume one and a half 12-oz cans of coca-cola. However, if he drinks more, he exceeds his sugar limit. 

Besides sugar and calories, what else is in coca-cola?

20 ounce bottle of coca-cola

Caffeine and Sodium in Coca-Cola

Dr. Robert Lustig - sugar consumption and fatty liver disease
Watch Dr. Robert Lustig’s video “The Bitter Truth.”

Dr. Robert Lustig, M.D., says in his video, The Bitter Truth, that caffeine is a “mild stimulant and a diuretic.” It expels water and salt. In other words, it causes you to urinate water and sodium. How much caffeine is in a 12-oz can of coca-cola?

According to the company, a 12-ounce can of Coke has 34mg of caffeine. However, a 12-oz cup of coffee has 136mg of caffeine. A Coke has 25% of the caffeine in a cup of coffee. In other words, the caffeine in one coffee is equal to four cans of Coke. 

Similar to caffeine, the amount of sodium in a 12-oz can of coca-cola is small. It only has 45mg of sodium. In comparison, a 3-oz can of yellowfin tuna has 46mg of sodium. However, a medium-size pickle has 785mg of sodium.


Two 12-oz cans of coca-cola exceed all adult sugar limits, even active adults who walk 60 minutes per day. Dietary guidelines say when you exceed your sugar limits, it’s difficult to get the nutritionally dense foods you need without exceeding your calorie needs. Thus, Dr. Robert Lustig recommends you eliminate all sugary liquids, including soft drinks and fruit juices. Instead, drink water, tea, or coffee with dextrose.

Discover how excessive sugar consumption causes fatty liver disease, drives weight gain and damages your metabolism. Please read the article, Sugar Consumption and Fatty Liver Disease.

Coca-cola isn’t just empty calories. Discover why soda is bad for you.

Coca-Cola down the toilet


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