The primary modern flavoring ingredients in a cola drink are citrusoils (from orange, lime, and lemonpeels), cinnamon, vanilla, and an acidic flavorant. Manufacturers of cola drinks add trace flavorings to create distinctively different tastes for each brand. Trace flavorings may include a wide variety of ingredients, such as spices like nutmeg or coriander, but the base flavorings that most people identify with a cola taste remain citrus, vanilla and cinnamon. Acidity is often provided by phosphoric acid, sometimes accompanied by citric or other isolated acids. Coca-Cola's recipe is maintained as a corporate trade secret.
A variety of different sweeteners may be added to cola, often partly dependent on local agricultural policy. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is predominantly used in the United States and Canada due to the lower cost of government-subsidized corn. In Europe, however, HFCS is subject to production quotas designed to encourage the production of sugar; sugar is thus typically used to sweeten sodas. In addition, stevia or an artificial sweetener may be used; "sugar-free" or "diet" colas typically contain artificial sweeteners only.
In Japan, there is a burgeoning craft cola industry, with small-scale local production methods and highly unique cola recipes using locally-sourced fruits, herbs and spices.
Crystal Pepsi in a 20 US fl oz (591 mL) bottle, produced in the US in 2016
In Denmark, a popular clear cola was made by the CooperativeFDB in 1976. It was especially known for being the "Hippie Cola" because of the focus of the harmful effects the color additive could have on children and the boycott of multinational brands. It was inspired by a campaign on harmful additives in Denmark by the Environmental-Organisation NOAH, an independent Danish division of Friends of the Earth. This was followed up with a variety of sodas without artificial coloring. Today many organic colas are available in Denmark, but, for nostalgic reasons, clear cola has still maintained its popularity to a certain degree.
A 2007 study found that consumption of colas, both those with natural sweetening and those with artificial sweetening, was associated with increased risk of chronic kidney disease. The phosphoric acid used in colas was thought to be a possible cause.
One 2005 study indicated soda and sweetened drinks are the main source of calories in the American diet and that of those who drink more sweetened drinks, obesity rates were higher. Most nutritionists advise that Coca-Cola and other soft drinks can be harmful if consumed excessively, particularly to young children whose soft drink consumption competes with, rather than complements, a balanced diet. Studies have shown that regular soft drink users have a lower intake of calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, riboflavin, and vitamin A.
The drink has also aroused criticism for its use of caffeine, which can cause physical dependence (caffeine dependence), and can reduce sleep quality. A link has been shown between long-term regular cola intake and osteoporosis in older women (but not men). This was thought to be due to the presence of phosphoric acid, and the risk for women was found to be greater for sugared and caffeinated colas than diet and decaffeinated variants, with a higher intake of cola correlating with lower bone density.
LOCKWOODS Cola, a UK cola brand introduced in the 1960s produced by Lockwoods Foods Limited at their canning factory site in Long Sutton, England, the drink is not on the market anymore, it was sold nationally and also exported.
Vita-Cola is a German cola brand with a distinct citrus flavor; nowadays it is mostly sold in eastern Germany.
XL Cola was a Swedish cola brand introduced in 1985, but the drink is not at the market anymore.
Mole Cola is an Italian cola sold in Italy it is also occasionally sold in France in stores called Noz only.
A small glass bottle of Coca-Cola, the first cola
Coca-Cola, often referred to simply as Coke, is produced and manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. It is one of the most popular cola brands in North America and worldwide, as well as being the original cola.
Pepsi, produced and manufactured by PepsiCo, is also one of the most popular cola brands in North America and worldwide. Pepsi is the main competitor and rival of Coca-Cola.
^"Sortiment". Privatbrauerei Hofmühl (in German). Retrieved 2021-04-05.
^Sørensen, Nils Arne; Petersen, Klaus (November 2012). "Corporate Capitalism or Coca-Colonisation? Economic Interests, Cultural Concerns, Tax Policies and Coca-Cola in Denmark from 1945 to the Early 1960s". Contemporary European History. 21 (4): 597–617. doi:10.1017/S0960777312000392. ISSN0960-7773. S2CID163347256.