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How Much Caffeine Is in Pepsi? You’ll Never Guess! (2024 Breakdown)

how much caffeine in pepsi

Caffeine (serving: 12 fl oz)
38 mg
Caffeine (mg / fl oz)
Caffeine strength

Pepsi is easily one of America’s most popular soft drinks. The crisp, refreshing taste has lots of us popping open a can whenever we get the urge for a cool pick-me-up, but have you ever wondered what’s inside that can? For many of us, keeping up with how much caffeine, sugar, and calories we consume is necessary to keep ourselves healthy. If you are watching your healthy stats, asking how much caffeine is in Pepsi is a question you may be asking yourself.

In one 12-ounce can of Pepsi, you’ll find 38 mg of caffeine. In comparison to other soft drinks, this may be considered average, but there are other beverages, such as coffees and teas, with lots more caffeine. Let’s learn a bit more about Pepsi, its history, and the caffeine found within the can.

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The Birth of Pepsi

In 1893, a man named Caleb Bradham ran a small corner drug store in New Bern, North Carolina. He intended to create a healthy cola that would help people who suffered from digestive issues. Using cola nuts, sugar, caramel, water, nutmeg, and lemon oil, he crafted a drink he named after himself, Brad’s Drink. It wasn’t until 1898 that Bradham decided to rename his cola. Thanks to the pepsin enzyme, Pepsi Cola was officially born.

Over the years, Pepsi found itself passed around to several companies after Caleb Bradham went bankrupt. Due to the rising costs of sugar after the first World War, he simply couldn’t afford to keep up with the demand. Craven Holding Company took control of the company and officially renamed it, National Pepsi-Cola Company. From there, more bankruptcies landed the company in the hands of the Loft Candy Company then finally into the successful merger with Frito-Lay we see today. After this merger, the phenomenon that is Pepsi became PepsiCo.

a can of pepsi
Image Credit: NIKHIL KESHARWANI, Unsplash

What Is Caffeine?

The one thing most of us know about caffeine is that it speeds up our bodies. This is why so many of us turn to coffee each morning to give us a boost to start our day. Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in several of the nuts, leaves, and seeds we consume.

Caffeine is also quite flavorful. With its unique and bitter taste, caffeine is used to provide soft drinks, such as Pepsi, with a way to counteract the overpowering sweetness inside the can. This mix gives each can of Pepsi you open the familiar taste you’re used to and 38 mg of caffeine to keep you energized.

Is Caffeine Bad for You?

Caffeine’s effects on the body differ from person to person. Some people may have a sensitivity to caffeine which causes them to get anxiety or jitters. Others may be able to drink several cups of coffee, tea, or cola throughout the day and not feel any adverse side effects.

When determining whether caffeine is safe for you, considering your personal health is the biggest factor. If you have underlying health issues, high doses of caffeine may not be good. Caffeine speeds up the body, which may result in your heart beating faster or other side effects. If you have heart conditions or breathing issues, keeping a close eye on your caffeine levels may be something your doctor has suggested.

boy holding a bottle of pepsi
Image Credit: Quỳnh Lê Mạnh, Unsplash

Is Pepsi Safe to Drink?

Luckily for those who love a cold soda, the caffeine in Pepsi isn’t truly dangerous. By using caffeine as a flavor enhancer and not the main ingredient, PepsiCo has crafted drinks that can be enjoyed by most people. Those with sensitivities to caffeine may need to steer clear, but for those who tolerate the stimulant well, Pepsi can be drunk without issues. By keeping your intake of caffeine at normal levels, 400 mg per day as suggested by the FDA, you can enjoy your Pepsi, coffee, or other drinks in moderation.

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How Much Caffeine in Pepsi? The Bottom Line

Knowing how much caffeine is in Pepsi is a great way of determining whether this soda is the right one for you. If you feel comfortable with the 38 mg of caffeine in a 12 oz can of Pepsi, and have no sensitivities to caffeine, then feel free to enjoy the crisp, refreshing drink when you choose. You know your body better than anyone. Let this lead you in the decision-making process and drink safely.

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Featured Image Credit: Ja San Miguel, Unsplash


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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