When most people hear the word ‘caffeine’, the first thing that comes to mind is coffee. Coffee is the preferred beverage for many routine caffeine team players. However, what many people don’t know is that coffee isn’t the only potent source of caffeine.
There are other drinks such as tea and soda that also contain reasonable amounts of caffeine. In this article, we are going to look at coffee and soda, specifically what they have in common and what sets them apart from each other.
Caffeine is commonly known as the ‘energizing compound’ found in beverages such as coffee, soda, tea, and energy drinks. Caffeine has many healthy benefits when consumed in moderation (1).
When consumed in excess, caffeine can be harmful to your health (2). Many people look for the perfect beverage that will give them their daily caffeine fix. Some opt for the good old cup of joe. Others prefer something sweeter like soda.
So, why do people love caffeine so much? Well, the main reason is that caffeine is a stimulant. People drink caffeinated beverages in order to get an energy boost. For instance, most people start their day with a cup of coffee so that they can get the energy they need to kickstart their otherwise dull mornings.
While coffee is the preferred morning drink for many caffeine lovers, there are other options such as soda that are also effective in giving a similar energy boost. People who don’t like the bitter taste of coffee may opt for soda as their main source of caffeine.
Coffee or Soda? Which Is The Better Source of Caffeine
Most people will argue that the drink with a higher caffeine content is the best among the two. Caffeine is measured in milligrams and a typical cup of coffee contains around 100 -110 mg of caffeine. The caffeine content in coffee may vary depending on where it was grown, how it was brewed, and other preparations methods.
Decaffeinated or decaf coffee also has small quantities of caffeine (2 – 5 mg). There are also some strong coffees that contain very high amounts of caffeine such as mocha (60 – 130 mg) and espresso (40 – 70 mg). All these different coffee variants cater to the different needs and preferences of consumers.
When it comes to soda, the caffeine content tends to be slightly lower. Soda is less caffeinated in comparison to coffee. A glass of Coca Cola contains around 20 to 50 mg of caffeine. Fruity flavored sodas contain nearly zero traces of caffeine. So, if you are looking for a caffeine fix, don’t go for the citrus flavored sodas or root beers.
Which Drink Is Healthier?
In recent years, both coffee and soda gotten a lot of bad publicity as they are deemed unhealthy drinks. Studies have shown that working men and women consume as many as 6 cups of coffee a day which is way above the recommended daily caffeine intake of an average adult (3).
Coffee is seen as the fuel of a working nation. It’s now commonplace to find coffee in most offices and businesses. People rely on the caffeine in coffee to keep them focused so they can carry out their day to day tasks.
On the other hand, soda is known to have a lot of sugar. This is the sugar that many people are trying to avoid as it has been linked with numerous illnesses (4). Most caffeinated sodas are packed with calories that contribute to obesity. Even diet coke that is said to have zero calories has been reported to cause consumers to crave other sugary treats. Because of this, sodas are sometimes seen as the less healthier source of caffeine.
Coffee is still not in the clear when it comes to calories though. A typical cup of black coffee has a low calorie count of around 2 or 3 calories. However, this number increases significantly if you add cream, milk, syrups, or sugar. So, you may end up consuming more calories in your cup of coffee than in your glass of soda.
So, what’s the verdict in regards to which of the two is the healthier caffeinated beverage? Well, it boils down to what is in your cup or glass. But, it is widely believed that coffee is healthier and less harmful than soda in the long term.
Benefits of Caffeine in Both Coffee and Soda
Caffeine from either source offers a wide range of benefits. Some of the benefits of consuming caffeinated beverages every once in a while include:
1. Lower Risk of Suffering from Depression
Studies have shown that people who drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and sodas each day are less likely to suffer from depression and other mental illnesses (5).
2. Improved Athletic Performance
Drinking a cup of coffee in the morning can trigger your body to produce adrenaline which is known to improve athletic performance and also help to the break down body-fat.
3. Reduced Risk of Diseases
You can reduce the risk of suffering from certain illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and type-2 diabetes.
4. Overall Improved Brain Function
Caffeine is known to make you more attentive and assertive. It can also improve your mood, concentration, vigilance and memory.
5. More Energy
Caffeine gives you more energy to do what you love more!
An added advantage is that caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea are great antioxidants. Coffee is also rich in minerals such as potassium, manganese, and vitamins b5, b3, and b2. Unfortunately, soda does not have these added benefits.
All in all, in the coffee and soda debate, many people will admit that coffee is the better source of caffeine. Some people may still opt for soda because of its sweet taste and ready-to-drink nature.
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- Shmerling, R. H. (2017, September 25). The latest scoop on the health benefits of coffee. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-latest-scoop-on-the-health-benefits-of-coffee-2017092512429
- Streufert, S., Satish, U., Pogash, R., Gingrich, D., Landis, R., Roache, J., & Severs, W. (1997). Excess coffee consumption in simulated complex work settings: Detriment or facilitation of performance? Journal of Applied Psychology,82(5), 774-782. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.82.5.774
- Ang Zhou, Elina Hyppönen, Long-term coffee consumption, caffeine metabolism genetics, and risk of cardiovascular disease: a prospective analysis of up to 347,077 individuals and 8368 cases, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 109, Issue 3, March 2019, Pages 509–516, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqy297
- Makarem, N., Bandera, E. V., Nicholson, J. M., & Parekh, N. (2018). Consumption of Sugars, Sugary Foods, and Sugary Beverages in Relation to Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies. Annual Review of Nutrition,38(1), 17-39. doi:10.1146/annurev-nutr-082117-051805
- Navarro, A. M., Abasheva, D., Martínez-González, M. Á., Ruiz-Estigarribia, L., Martín-Calvo, N., Sánchez-Villegas, A., & Toledo, E. (2018). Coffee Consumption and the Risk of Depression in a Middle-Aged Cohort: The SUN Project. Nutrients, 10(9), 1333. doi:10.3390/nu10091333