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Comparison of Caffeine Contents in Soft Drinks

author image Rachel Nall
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.
Comparison of Caffeine Contents in Soft Drinks
A man and woman are drinking soda in a theater. Photo Credit: Doug Menuez/Photodisc/Getty Images

Caffeine is a mild stimulant that is added to soft drinks. When consumed, caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, which can make you feel more alert or even jumpy. According to the McKinley Health Center, 300 mg of caffeine per day is a moderate consumption level. However, caffeine affects each person differently—some may experience severe withdrawal effects, such as headache, fatigue or drowsiness. For this reason, it is important to be aware of how much caffeine you are consuming when you drink soft drinks.

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Maximum Amounts

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulates how much caffeine a 12-oz. drink can contain, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is 71 mg per serving. Caffeinated soft drinks that contain this limit or nearly this limit include Vault, Jolt Cola, Mountain Dew MDX and Coke Blak. This amount is comparable to one shot of espresso, which contains 75 mg of caffeine. A 16-oz. coffee contains 320 mg of caffeine.

Medium Amounts

Soft drinks that contain between 40 and 60 mg of caffeine per 12-oz. serving include Diet Mountain Dew Code Red and Diet Mountain Dew, both of which contain 54 mg of caffeine per serving, according to Good Housekeeping, and Mello Yello, which contains 53 mg. Many caffeinated beverages contain between 40 and 50 mg of caffeine, including Diet Coke, TaB, Diet Dr. Pepper and Dr. Pepper.

Smaller Amounts

Soft drinks containing less than 40 mg of caffeine per 12-oz. serving include Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero, which both contain 35 mg of caffeine, according to the Mayo Clinic. Diet Pepsi and Pepsi contain between 36 and 38 mg of caffeine per serving. Pepsi Wild Cherry contains 38 mg. Barq’s Root Beer contains about 22 mg of caffeine per 12-oz. serving.

Zero Caffeine

Some soft drinks do not contain caffeine. These include 7-Up, Fanta, Fresca, Sierra Mist, Mug Root Beer and Sprite. All flavors and versions of these contain no caffeine.

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