Coca-Cola made headlines recently for hiring fitness and nutrition experts to proclaim Coke healthy.
Perhaps they were hoping this marketing maneuver would cause consumers to ignore the ingredient list on the side of the drink. Because those ingredients tell a story that’s more complex than the paid experts imply.
We’ve broken down the most common ingredients found in the most popular sodas.
Perhaps the only clear-cut ingredient among them is carbonated water, which experts like Laureen Smith cite as an alternative to soda.
An associate professor at the Ohio State University College of Nursing, Smith has studied how to keep kids away from sugary sodas.
“For those who choose carbonated sodas, it may provide the sought-after carbonation without the sugar,” she told Time.
Carbonated water is generally without a host of other soda ingredients, too.