Amount of caffeine in soft drink brands

Auburn University researchers analyzed a slew of carbonated soft drink brands to measure the actual caffeine content. They report their data on more than 100 beverages in the current issue of the Journal of Food Science. The table below is excerpted from a summary of the research published by Science News.

From the Science News article:
Although colas have a reputation for their nerve-jolting caffeine, citrus-flavored drinks actually offered substantially more of the stimulant. Diet and regular colas typically delivered 30 to 34 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce (0.35-liter) serving, whereas regular and diet citrus drinks provided an average of 50 and 55 mg, respectively. The soft drinks richest in caffeine in the entire survey were both citrus beverages: Vault Zero at 74 mg per serving and Diet SunDrop at 71.5 mg...

Because few soft drink labels report how much caffeine a beverage contains, the researchers recommend that manufacturers start reporting – and posting – these values prominently so that consumers can look for drinks that will offer the amount of caffeine they seek.


  1. You’d think with using the word “Jolt” half a dozen times in the article, they’d have thrown in some results for Jolt Cola.

  2. Yay, good to see Cheerwine. NC representin’.

    I always thought that stuff was a little more jittery than the average cola.

  3. see also, which get it’s data by calling and asking the company how much caffeine is in a drink. most are happy to tell you.

  4. Or you can drink a standard 12 oz. cup of coffee that has anywhere from 120-200 mg of caffeine. Just saying.

    Also, a single shot of espresso runs from 35-55 mg of caffeine.

  5. Sun Drop’s amazing liquid-crack-like caffeination levels have long been known by people in Tennessee. And the people who compiled the list messed up by putting Cheerwine in the cola column; it’s really more Dr. Pepper-ish.

  6. I am interested in the fact that these results differ from those I researched for the alt.drugs.caffeine FAQ in the early 90s.

    I found a reproduction of the list I contributed at (the current version of the FAQ seems to have replaced the list with a pointer to the National Soft Drink Association).

    I wonder whether the numbers I got from the National Soft Drink Association by phone in the 90’s were inaccurate, or whether the formulas have changed over the years.

  7. To me it looks like most soft drinks are now printing their caffeine content down at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts label, though the location doesn’t seem to be standardized. Hope those “Auburn researchers” didn’t spend too much money doing this “research.” Also, the measurements given are sometimes confusingly givens as “xx mg/8 fl oz.” on a 12 fl oz container, so be sure to convert.

  8. Jolt Cola is no longer sold in the United States, and even ‘classic jolt’ is scarce where it is available. The brand has shifted its focus to Red Bull-style energy drinks, apparently, but I’ve never seen those in person.

  9. Is it just me, or is 12oz an awfully large default serving size (esp for junk food)?

    With soda while I want to be able to control my caffeine intake, it’s the sugar or aspartame that I’m really concerned about.

  10. What a weird subset of the figures you chose to display! But I suppose it served its purpose; I went to the original article to find that they did in fact measure the caffeine in Coke, and it was somewhat low for the group.

    #9, Gila Monstre, no, 12oz is a *small* serving. The small cup at a fast-food joint is 16oz but nobody orders the small. Many machines and convenience stores now sell the 20oz bottles instead of the 12oz cans. And I find that 12oz is not enough to drink with a meal, for example.

  11. Actually, Jolt IS still available in the US, I bought some just last week. They have shifted to marketing it as an energy drink and it’s only sold in massive (23.5oz) cans shaped like a battery, but it’s still the same Jolt cola.

  12. DDB, the portion I selected is the top of the table, meaning the brands listed have the highest caffeine content.

  13. Go on!
    How much caffeine is there when you dump a box of Jolt mints into a can of 544 Xtreme Caffeine?
    How much?
    My skin itches.

  14. Anything in Canada that is marketed as a quote unquote ‘energy drink’ (ie has a ton of caffeine) has to have the caffeine content posted on the can, along with any other pseudo-‘medicinal’ ingredients. I think there is actually a cutoff point at which something has to be considered an energy drink, since Mountain Dew in Canada has no caffeine, and during the brief interval they tried to introduce the drink with caffeine, it was marketed as an energy drink, complete with caffeine mg’s on the label.

    On my last trip to the states, I was surprised that even those massive cans of Rockstar and other energy drinks you guys have don’t even post the caffeine amounts. I think that our regulatory agencies are trying to promote public health, but it really has the opposite effect for me… I’m always looking for the one with the most caffeine!

  15. The Canadian caffeine content laws are really the only reason NOT to live there if you’re American. I gotta get a passport.

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