Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As the title says, why are cola drinks so addictive? Are there addictive substances in it or is it just the taste?

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by rumtscho Jun 27 '13 at 10:55

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on nutrition or requests for medical advice are off-topic here; you should contact a qualified medical professional instead." – rumtscho
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Is there any reputable studies showing then to be actually addictive over sugar/flavour etc? – TFD Jun 27 '13 at 2:21
Not really a study, but here's a link… – Divi Jun 27 '13 at 3:26
I am putting this question on hold as off-topic because it is concerned with the physiological effect food has on human bodies, which makes it fall into the "nutrition" closing reason. I know that on the surface this q isn't nutrition, but the point is that we don't want nutrition questions exactly because we are not qualified to say how food impacts the human body, and nutrition is just the most prominent example of such questions. – rumtscho Jun 27 '13 at 10:55
@rumtscho It's okay, addiction is a health issue; I don't think it takes much justification. (Beyond that, it's also just generally a non-culinary food question.) – Jefromi Jun 27 '13 at 13:46
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As far as CocaCola, while they do still use coca leaves for flavoring, when they are imported to the US they are shipped to a laboratory run by Stepan Company, and stripped of all psychoactive components (the stuff that turns into cocaine).

Originally this small amount of cocaine was left in, and could have had some addictive properties. It also would numb the body, serve to "perk you up," and all sorts of other neat snake-oil properties.

At this point, the main reason it'd be addictive would be because our bodies are predisposed to enjoy carbohydrate heavy foods because they are very energy dense - they cause heavy releases of dopamines (the chemicals that act as a natural "reward"). Also, it DOES taste pretty good - so long as it's made with sugar instead of HFCS at least.

Also, generally speaking, carbonating water converts a small amount of it to carbonic acid, hence the fresh "crisp" flavor. Add the mouthfeel of the bubbles on the tongue, and you have lots of reasons for people to enjoy it.

share|improve this answer
ummm caffeine?? – wax eagle Jun 27 '13 at 2:43
Not all carbonated beverages contain caffeine. – Matthew Jun 27 '13 at 2:51
Most colas do, though. – hunter2 Jun 28 '13 at 5:00
None that I make do :) – Matthew Jun 29 '13 at 15:28

Caffeine would produce physiological addiction, whereas sugar, taste, mouthfeel, etc would produce psychological addiction.

Physical and psychological addiction can result from excessive caffeine intake. In an interview, Roland Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said that studies had demonstrated that people who take in a minimum of 100 mg of caffeine per day (about the amount in one cup of coffee) can acquire a physical dependence that would trigger withdrawal symptoms that include headaches, muscle pain and stiffness, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, depressed mood, and marked irritability.[4] Griffiths strongly believes that caffeine withdrawal should be classified as a psychological disorder.[4] Through his research, withdrawals occurred within 12 to 24 hours after stopping caffeine intake and could last as long as nine days.

Caffeine content of Pepsi is 38mg/12oz. 3 cans of pepsi exceeds the 100mg per day.

I'm sure there can be made more complex, however subjective, arguments of why cola drinks are addictive... possibly ranging from cost (compared to similarly sweet drinks such as juice or teas) to identification with brands (coolness factor).

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.