Quick Answer: Can Coca-Cola Be Acidic?
Coca-Cola is not acidic, even though the word is often used to describe a drink that tastes sour. The only acids that Coca-Cola has are citric acid, phosphoric acid, and carbonic acid.
Coca-Cola is a treat enjoyed by millions of people across the globe. It’s delightful with pizza. We enjoy it at a ball game. It’s a staple at parties. However, does it ever occur to you that, is Coca-Cola acidic? How good or bad it is for your stomach?
It’s also acidic enough to clean blood from a shirt and strip the enamel from your teeth!
Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by a pharmacist in Atlanta, Georgia. John Pemberton ‘s original idea was to sell the drink as a tonic to help with common ailments. The original Coca-Cola recipe contained:
- carbonated water
- caffeine ( from the kola nut)
- cocaine (from the cocoa leaf)
The drink did indeed make people forget their ailments! It became wildly popular. The cocaine was taken out in 1903 when they realized the drug’s adverse effects.
Coca-Cola remains extremely popular today. Over 12,000 people worldwide buy a Coca-Cola product every minute!
Is Coca Cola Acidic?
Yes. Coca-Cola contains fairly high levels of phosphoric acid. This gives Coca Cola a pH score of 2.6 on the acidity scale.
This gives Coca-Cola the same level of acidity as lemon and vinegar. Coke is only slightly less acidic than hydrochloric acid. That is the acid secreted by the stomach to break down food.
Interestingly, the acidity level differs depending on the Coca-Cola product. For instance:
- Acidity level: 2.37
- Acidity level: 3.10
- Acidity level: 2.96
- Acidity level: 2.38
Remember, the closer to 0, the more acidic.
In addition, flat coke is less acidic than carbonated coke. This is because Coca-Cola also contains carbonic acid (from carbonated water).
So, when the bubbles evaporate, so does some acidity. However, the carbonic acid in Coca Cola is a very small amount and does not contribute to the overall acidity.
Soda, in general, is one of the most acidic drinks. Among sodas, Coca-Cola is the most acidic. Other soda acidity levels are:
- Pepsi 2.5
- Sunkist 2.9
- Mountain Dew 3.2
- Sprite 3.3
- Dr. Pepper 3.9
- Root Beer 4.7
What Is Phosphoric Acid And Why Is Coca Cola Acidic?
Phosphoric acid is a clear, odorless chemical that has a syrupy consistency. It is often used as an ingredient in fertilizers, cleaning products, soft drinks, and prepackaged food. Coca-Cola used phosphoric acid for 2 reasons.
1. To add a tangy/sour taste to the soda.
2. To act as a preservative. Coca-Cola’s main ingredient is sugar. Sugar can breed mold and bacteria. The phosphoric acid keeps this from happening.
Health Effects Of Acid In Coca Cola
We always hear that too much soda is not good for us. Our thoughts go right to the sugar being what’s bad.
However, the acid levels in Coca-Cola can contribute to many negative health conditions. These include:
- It’s not just the sugar that affects our teeth, but the acid has the ability to strip the enamel from our teeth. Once the enamel is worn away, it does not come back. A lack of enamel will quickly cause the tooth to decay.
GERD (Acid Reflux)
- This is a condition where stomach acid goes into the food pipe and irritates it. GERD causes a burning irritation.
- These are hard deposits of acid salts and minerals that are in the urine. This makes it painful to urinate. In extreme cases, it can cause blockages.
Bone Density Loss
- The acid (phosphorus) in Coca Cola binds to the calcium, magnesium, and zinc in our bodies. This makes it difficult for our bones to absorb these essential minerals.
- One or two cans of soda a month will not have a major impact. However, regular consumption (especially by women), can lead to osteoporosis (bone density loss). This can lead to bone fractures.
Tasks You Can Accomplish With Coca Cola (Because Of The Acidity)
Phosphoric acid is used in many areas of manufacturing. It’s been used as an anti-rust treatment to prevent iron oxidation. The cosmetic industry uses it as a sanitizing agent for equipment. Beer breweries also use it to rid the vats of grimy build up.
Coca Cola itself is used widely for a vast array of tasks. The acid is so strong, you can actually pop open a can of Coke and do the following:
Clean A Toilet
- Pour some coke in and let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub as usual.
- Certain plants like begonias and azaleas love the acidity. Put some coke in a spray bottle and give them a soda bath!
Clean Milk And Blood Stains From Fabric And Clothing
- Pour some coke on the stain and let it sit for a few moments. The carbonic acid acts as a stain lifter. Many highway patrol officers carry gallons of Coca Cola in their trunks in case they need to clear blood from accident scenes.
- Put some coke on a cloth and wipe away the streaks and fingerprints
Loosen Rusty Bolts
- Spray some coke on the bolts and let it soak in
Neutralize Skunk Odor
- There’s no specific way to do this. Just do what you can. Anything is better than smelling skunk!
- Put some coke in a coke bottle and use it like you would a regular cleaner.
Remove Gum From Just About Anything
- It’s especially good for hair disasters. Spray some on and let it sit for a few minutes. The gum should slide right out.
Clean Burnt Pots And Pans
- Pour some coke on or in them and let them sit. It will make the scrubbing much easier.
Clean Your Car Engine
- The Coca-Cola company has been doing this with their own trucks for years!
Defrost A Windshield
- Spray some on and it will do the rest.
Jewelry And Coin Polisher
- Items can be soaked or scrubbed
- Let the coke sit on the paint for a few minutes, then heat a paint scraper and chisel it up
Clean Tile Grout
- Use as you would any tile cleaner
Remove Marker Stains
- Spray or put on a sponge and it will wipe right off
- Pour some on the glue gunk and in a few minutes it will lift off the surface.
Prevent/Get Rid Of Sink Clogs
- Pour a can down the drain every so often to clear away any clogging agents
Clean Mold And Mildew From Clothes
- Put a can in with the laundry and it will remove the mildew smell and mold that may have developed.
Clean Motor Oil Stains Off Garage Floors
- Douse the area with coke and let it sit overnight. Scrub with a heavy duty brush the next morning.
Helps With Stomach Upset
- Though nothing has been scientifically proven. People have for years used Coca-Cola to ease upset stomachs. The acid in coke is similar to stomach acid. So it’s believed coke helps to break down fibers and bacteria that may be causing rumbling in your belly.
- As tested on the show Myth Busters. When used with aluminum foil, Coca-Cola did a better job on chrome than the actual chrome cleaner!
If you have a pest problem in your home, yard, or garden. Leave a bowl of Coca-Cola outside. It will attract insects and the acid in the soda will kill them.
There are a host of other ways to use Coca Cola (recipes, etc), but these uses specifically have to do with the acidity in coke.
RELATED: Is Mango an Acidic Food? The Truth About Mangoes and Health
Coca Cola Acidity And The Law
Several years ago, a class action lawsuit was filed against the Coca-Cola bottling company. The lawsuit stated that the company was misrepresenting the product when they put “no artificial flavors ” on the label.
The argument was that phosphoric acid was being used. That it was being used to change the flavor and as a preservative made it unnatural. The lawsuit has still not been settled.
General Coca Cola Facts
- Contrary to the urban legend, Coca-Cola will not dissolve a tooth overnight. It will eventually. But it takes much longer. And why would anyone want a tooth in a glass of Coca-Cola in their house?!
- Coca-Cola invented the six pack in 1923
- The Coca-Cola recipe is kept in a secure vault at the Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta, Georgia
- Coca-Cola was the first product on the cover of Time magazine
- Mexico is the world’s top consumer of Coca-Cola products.
- Coke was the first soda in space
- Coke invented the original coupon. They gave tickets to people to redeem for free Coca-Cola
- North Korea and Cuba are the only countries that do not sell Coca-Cola products (but they can be found on the illegal market)
- If you drop Mentos mints into Coca Cola it will cause a chemical reaction in the form of an eruption.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There Acid In Coca-Cola?
Yes, there is acid in Coca cola added for their taste. It is added to some of the soft drinks such as Coca‑Cola Classic, Coca‑Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, and Dr Pepper.
What Is The Least Acidic Soft Drink?
The root beer comes as the least acidic drink than other soft drinks options. It comes with the fact that it does not contain phosphoric or citric acids.
What Drinks Are High In Acid?
Carbonated drinks and energy drinks come as a choice with high acidic drinks. The beverages contain acidic levels that quickly havoc tooth enamel.
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