Soda is a staple of life for many people. Although there have been numerous reports decrying the unhealthy risks associated with drinking these sugary mixtures, consuming one or two sodas a day remains the norm for a large portion of American society. Despite the controversy surrounding the pros and cons of soda, the fact remains that the soda industry is a huge business. In fact, it is estimated that the combined revenues of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo alone top 100 billion each year! Considering that most of these beverages sell for about one dollar, those are particularly staggering numbers.
Although Coca-Cola is the most recognizable and famous brand of soda in the world there are actually hundreds of different kinds of sodas. In fact, the Coca-Cola brand alone sells 3,500 different soft drinks—which would make a person about 9 years to sample them all if they drank one a day! Some of the sodas that are sold are intended for international niche markets and so some of them are quite exotic. For instance, in Japan soda flavors include: yogurt, green tea, cheese, octopus, wasabi, cucumber, kimchi and eel!
Although sodas today are sugary, they do not contain anything illegal or substances classified as drugs. However, in the early years of productions Coca-Cola actually included cocaine and was sometimes given to sick patients to calm them or ease pain. Likewise, 7UP used to include lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug that is often used to treat depression and bipolar disorders. 7UP contained this ingredient until 1948 (today lithium citrate can only be legally purchased with a prescription). Other sodas, like Dr. Pepper, have never revealed exactly what is in them—although most people agree it is nothing sinister. In the case of Dr. Pepper, although no official ingredient list has been published, there have been rumors that it contains prune juice. These rumors have been denied but no one outside of the company knows exactly which 23 flavors the soda combines to get its unique taste (but it probably includes cola, vanilla, cherry, orange, caramel, and lemon—alongside some other flavors).