As the title says, why are cola drinks so addictive? Are there addictive substances in it or is it just the taste?
closed as off-topic by rumtscho♦ Jun 27 at 10:55
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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.
Caffeine would produce physiological addiction, whereas sugar, taste, mouthfeel, etc would produce psychological addiction.
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).