Does Sprite Have Caffeine or Is It Caffeine-Free?

Bottle of Sprite drink on ice cubes.

Wonder why the refreshing citrusy drink Sprite gives you a jolt of energy but surprisingly has zero caffeine? Read on to unravel the mystery about this question and learn all about the drink in the article below.

Sprite was one of the world’s most valuable soft drink brands in 2020, with a brand value of over 6 million U.S dollars. However, the question, “does sprite have caffeine?” is often asked about this popular drink. Let us first understand the history and composition of this popular soft drink before we answer the question, “does Sprite have caffeine?”

Sprite is a colorless, sparkling soft drink. It was first developed in West Germany in 1959 as Fanta Klare Zitrone. This carbonated beverage was created and distributed by the Coca-Cola Company in 1961 in over 190 countries. Its ingredients include carbonated water, High fructose corn syrup (artificial sweeteners), citric acid, natural flavors, sodium citrate, and sodium benzoate (to protect taste).

Does sprite have caffeine?

In the enormous cut-throat market of sodas and energy drinks, Sprite stands out by being a caffeine-free soda. Hence, if you are watching your caffeine intake, then this lemon-lime soda would be a great choice. However, other beverages like Coca-cola, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper, do have their caffeine-free version if you are willing to find them.

What is caffeine?  

Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant for the central nervous system. It is found naturally in many sources, including coffee beans, cacao beans, and herbs. Caffeine can also be found in unexpected places like chocolates, painkillers, and natural supplements. 

The benefits and risks of caffeine are as follows:

Benefits Risks
Improved cognitive functionInsomnia
Increased physical enduranceIrritability
Reduced risk of strokeAnxiety
Reduces the risk of Parkinson’s diseaseOverconsumption may lead to caffeine addiction

How much caffeine does sprite have?

Sprite has zero caffeine! However, this sugary drink is loaded with calories. A 12-ounce (375-ml) can, packs about 140 calories and 38 grams of carbs, all of which come from added sugar. It primarily contains high-fructose corn syrup, which gives you an instant boost of energy that offers a similar effect to caffeine if consumed in excessive quantities. It is commonly advised to read the nutrition labels at the back of your drink before consuming it to make an informed decision.

Charts comparing caffeine content in non-alcoholic beverages

Let’s begin with coffee. Below are the different forms of coffee readily available or commonly brewed at home. Let’s get an idea of the caffeine content in each. 

Regular coffee Serving sizeCaffeine (mg)
Brewed8 oz.96
Brewed, decaf8 oz.2
Espresso1 oz.64
Espresso, decaf1 oz.0
Instant8 oz.62
Instant, decaf8 oz.2

Teas are another commonly consumed form of beverage. Listed below is the caffeine content in some teas that are easily available or commonly brewed at home.

Regular teasServing sizeCaffeine (mg)
Brewed black8 oz.47
Brewed black, decaf8 oz.2
Brewed green8 oz.28
Ready-to-drink, bottled8 oz.19

Source – mayoclinic [1]Mayo Clinic: Caffeine content for coffee, tea, soda and more

Energy drinks also pack in a considerable amount of caffeine. Some commonly available energy drinks in the market that people normally prefer and their caffeine content are as follows:

Energy drinksServing sizeCaffeine (mg)
Adrenaline Shoc16 oz.300
Bang16 oz.300
Redline Cognitive Candy12 oz.300
Starbucks Tripleshot 15 oz225
Monster Energy16 oz160
Venom Energy—low calorie or regular16 oz160
Coca-Cola Energy—regular or zero sugar12 oz.114
Mountain Dew Amp Original16 oz.142
Red Bull—regular or sugar-free8.4 oz.80

Similarly, these are some of the most preferred soft drinks available in the market, along with their caffeine content. 

Soft drinkServing sizeCaffeine (mg)
7-Up, Fresca, or Sprite12 oz.0
Fanta Orange12 oz.0
A&W Root Beer—diet or regular12 oz.0
Ginger ale, most brands12 oz.0
Mug Root Beer—diet or regular12 oz.0
Stewart’s Orange ‘n Cream—diet or regular12 oz.0
Stewart’s Root Beer—diet or regular12 oz.0
Sunkist—diet or regular12 oz.19
Pepsi True10 oz.32
Coca-Cola—regular or zero sugar12 oz.34
Pepsi—diet or regular12 oz.35-38
Dr Pepper—diet or regular12 oz.41
Zevia Cola12 oz.45
Diet Coke12 oz.46
Mountain Dew—diet or regular12 oz.54
Zevia Mountain Zevia12 oz.55
Surge16 oz.68
Pepsi Zero Sugar12 oz.69

What about canned coffee drinks? Below are some canned coffee drinks manufactured by some recognized brands. Take a look at how they compare with your other favorite beverages in terms of caffeine content.

Coffee drinks (bottles and cans)Serving sizeCaffeine (mg)
Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino9.5 oz.75
Silk Espresso Almond & Oat Latte12 oz.95
Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino13.7 oz.110
La Colombe Draft Latte—Double Shot or Oatmilk9 oz.120
Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso & Cream6.5 oz.120
La Colombe Triple Shot Draft Latte9 oz.175
Starbucks Black Unsweet Cold Brew12 oz.195
High Brew Nitro Black Cold Brew10 oz.200
Death Wish Coffee Co. Unsweetened Cold Brew8 oz.300

Here are some commonly available coffee shop beverages. You might want to get a picture of how these fare in terms of their caffeine content. 

Coffee and tea drinks (coffee shops)Serving sizeCaffeine (mg)
Starbucks Matcha Green Tea Latte—hot or iced16 oz.Grande80
Starbucks Chai Latte—hot or iced16 oz.Grande95
Starbucks Frappuccino16. oz.Grande95
Starbucks Espresso1.5 oz.Doppio150
Starbucks—Caffè Latte or Cappuccino16 oz.Grande150
Dunkin’—Latte or Cappuccino14 oz Medium166
Starbucks Caffè Mocha—hot or iced16 oz.Grande175
Dunkin’ Coffee14 oz.Grande210
Starbucks Caff Americano16 oz.Grande225
Starbucks Coffee, Pike Place Roast20 oz.Venti410

Source – cspinet [2]Center For Science In The Public Interest: How much caffeine is in my cup of Starbucks or Dunkin’?

What are the flavors of sprite?

Sprite has released several flavors over the years. Some continued to be the people’s favorites, while the others were discontinued in a short period. Moreover, all the flavors mentioned below are caffeine free.

The most common flavors of sprite available in the USA are:

1. Original lemon-lime

2. Sprite cherry

3. Zero sugar lemon-lime

4. Lymonade 

5. Tropical mix.

Flavors like cherry, orange, grape, and vanilla are all available in selected retail locations, while others are region-specific or seasonal, like Sprite Cranberry. Flavors like Lemon Lime & Cucumber, Lemon Mint, Sprite on Fire, Green Tea Flavored Sprite, Winter Spiced Cranberry, Ginger, Zero Sugar Ginger, and Sprite Ice are sold in countries apart from the USA.

A few flavors lasted for a brief period and were made for specific occasions or reasons. Flavors such as Zero Sugar Winter Spiced Cranberry was a holiday special edition, and Lebron’s Mix was dedicated to the NBA star Lebron James.

Are there any side effects of drinking too much sprite?

Some may ponder upon whether or not Sprite is bad for health. Well, excessive intake of any food or beverage would have detrimental impacts on one’s health, and so does Sprite!

As previously mentioned, Sprite contains high amounts of sugar. Studies show popular soft drinks like Coca-cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, and Sprite all contain 50% or more HFCS (High fructose corn syrup) which is not the best form of glucose.

The below-mentioned conditions are caused mainly due to the excessive amount of HFCS in the drink. 

Obesity 

Sugary drinks like soda and fruit punch are major sources of calories in the American diet. On average, they provide about 150 calories per can, almost all of them from added sugar. The concentration of the sugars in these fizzy drinks is tough to process for the human body. 

The body uses glucose as fuel. However, fructose is processed in the liver and gets converted to fat. If you drink just one sugary drink every day, you could gain up to 5 pounds in a year. Hence, if consumed in excessive quantities for a prolonged period, it would lead to obesity. 

Diabetes

Beyond weight gain, sugary drinks have been linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Several studies have shown the evidence that sugar-sweetened soft drinks lead to type 2 diabetes. 

Moreover, people who regularly consume 1-2 cans per day or more would have a 26% [3]Harvard T.H. Chan: Sugary Drinks greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than the ones who rarely have such fizzy beverages.

Heart disease

Sugary drinks are one of the leading causes of death from cardiovascular disease. They are a major contributor to several heart diseases and cardiovascular problems. Regular consumption of sugary drinks like Sprite can lead to high blood pressure. 

The high levels of fructose present in these drinks can cause oxidative stress and inflammation, which impacts insulin resistance. This not only increases the risk of type 2 diabetes but also leads to plaque build-up, which then constricts the arteries. 

This is further linked to chronic heart conditions. Lastly, the high glycemic load from such beverages on blood glucose, cholesterol fractions, and inflammatory factors contribute to a higher risk of heart conditions.

Infertility

Sugar-sweetened beverages, among other things, have been linked to lowered fertility. Sugar-sweetened beverages have been connected with poor sperm quality [4]National Library of Medicine: Intake of Sugar-sweetened Beverages and Fecundability in a North American Preconception Cohort in cross-sectional studies, and female soda consumption has been linked to decreased fecundity in some but not all research. Moreover, pregnant women who drank more than one sugary or artificially sweetened drink a day were linked to an increased risk of preterm birth, according to another study.

High Cholesterol

As Sprite has a significant amount of artificial sweeteners in it, it may cause an increase in the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and a decrease in good cholesterol (HDL). A study found that people who drank more than 12 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages per day were associated with having 53 percent higher chance of high triglycerides and a 98 percent higher incidence of low HDL cholesterol compared to those who drank less than a serving per day.

Is sprite zero sugar better than regular Sprite?

Sprite Zero Sugar contains artificial sweeteners. Although it is caffeine-free, some research links the consumption of Sprite Zero Sugar to developing type 2 diabetes [5]PubMed: Chronic Consumption of Artificial Sweetener in Packets or Tablets and Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Evidence from the E3N-European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study.

However, switching from regular Sprite to Sprite Zero Sugar may save you some calories, but it’s not clear if it’s effective for preventing obesity in the long term.

Lastly, if you are watching your sugar intake, then several other tips can help you with the same.

Healthy alternatives to Sprite

If you are interested in limiting your consumption of Sprite or other sodas in general, you may try the drinks mentioned below.

A freshly made lemonade is the best alternative. However, seltzer water, unsweetened herbal tea, and decaf coffee with less to no sugar can be added to the list.

If you’re looking for other absolutely non-caffeinated beverages, you may consider adding fresh fruit or mint leaves to your water, making fresh juices, or a glass of coconut water. These can serve as good alternatives to beat the heat.

Conclusion

To sum it up, drinking Sprite is not the best choice if you wish to have a healthy diet. However, it is not the worst either. It is best to be aware that having Sprite occasionally is not likely to cause problems. However, regular consumption of Sprite can have serious impacts on your cardiovascular health, weight, and overall well-being of your body. If you’re concerned about your health, limiting your consumption of such drinks is best to switch to the much healthier alternatives mentioned above.

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