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How Much Caffeine is in Mountain Dew? 2024 Breakdown

a glass of mountain dew

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

Caffeine is a hot topic when it comes to coffee, but it is just as popular in other major industries. Pre-workout supplements, chocolate, tea, and energy drinks are all products with caffeine, often touting the same caffeine benefits as coffee. Soda is another caffeine-fueled product that millions enjoy daily, especially the more popular brands like Mountain Dew. The bright green liquid is notorious for its strong caffeine content, as well as its less-than-stellar sugar content and artificial additives. But how strong is it and how much caffeine does it have?

The Short Answer
Mountain Dew contains more caffeine than many sodas — 54 mg per 12-ounce can — but less than the average cup of coffee. A similar serving of coffee would have 140 mg of caffeine!

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Mountain Dew & Caffeine

How Much Caffeine Does Mountain Dew Have?

Mountain Dew is one of the many caffeinated soft drinks available, competing against Coca-Cola and a few others. It contains one of the highest levels of caffeine in the soda industry, topping out at around 54mg of caffeine per 12-oz serving. Except for Surge (68mg), Moutain Dew contains the most caffeine in a soda with sugar. The two sodas with the most caffeine, Zevia (68mg) and Pepsi Zero (69mg) are sodas made without sugar and little to no calories.

perosn drinking mountain dew
Image Credit: Shane, Unsplash

Caffeine in Mountain Dew vs Coffee & Tea

Mountain dew may have a lot of caffeine compared to other sodas, but how does it stack up against your cup of coffee or tea? It’s safe to say that most coffee will have more caffeine than Mountain Dew, so you don’t need to switch to the lime green soda for a stronger caffeine buzz.

Comparing Mountain Dew to coffee at 54mg of caffeine 12oz per serving, coffee dominates it with a whopping 136mg of caffeine. A 12oz serving of black tea still has more caffeine than Mountain Dew at around 63mg, but it’s not nearly as much as coffee. As for green tea, it only has around 45mg of caffeine per 12oz serving and isn’t as potent as Mountain Dew.

Is Mountain Dew a Good Source of Caffeine?

Although it may have a good deal of caffeine, Mountain Dew is also full of sugar, artificial flavors, food dyes, and chemicals that are not great for your health. Unless you’re in a pinch and it’s the only thing available, there are better choices and options for caffeine than Mountain Dew. Pepsi-Co, which owns Mountain Dew, has faced lawsuits over severe mouth decay allegedly caused by the drink. There are plenty of reasons why it’s bad for your health, just from the high sugar content alone.

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About Mountain Dew

What is Mountain Dew?

If you’ve never seen a glass of Mountain Dew before, you may think it is radioactive and not safe to eat. That’s due to the bright neon yellow-green color (Yellow 5), which looks like it can almost glow in the dark. The flavor of Mountain Dew is hard to describe, a sweet flavor similar to lemon and citrus with a caffeine bite to it. It’s so sweet that some people can barely finish it, while others are extremely addicted to the stuff.

Mountain Dew can
Image Credit: Anil Xavier, Unsplash

When was Mountain Dew invented?

Mountain Dew is one of the older sodas on the market, invented in the 1940s by Barney and Ally Hartman. It was originally meant to be a mixer for alcohol like whiskey, but the formula changed in the 1950s. When purchased by William H. Jones of the Tip Corporation, the formula was once again changed and then finally released as Mountain Dew.

By the late 1960s, Pepsi bought the formula from the Tip Corporation and expanded the distribution to the U.S. and Canada. Throughout the years, a few variations like Mountain Dew Red and Mountain Dew Livewire were released. There are also a few signature variants that are only available at certain fast-food chains, like Baja Blast at Taco Bell.

Controversies over Mountain Dew

From the unnatural coloration to its extremely high sugar content, Mountain Dew has had its controversies:
  • Mountain Dew Mouth: As we discussed above, Mountain Dew Mouth became a serious controversy with the soda. The claims were that children in the Appalachian region were struggling with moderate to severe tooth decay, and the bright green soda was the common denominator. Although it’s not a proven fact that Mountain Dew is the sole cause, it’s crucial to note that any foods or beverages high in sugar can lead to decay and tooth problems.
  • Mouse in the Mountain Dew Can: Fewer things could ruin someone’s day than finding a dead mouse in your soda. A man claimed to have found a dead mouse in his soda can in 2009, but a lot of back and forth led the lawsuit to be dropped eventually. The grossest part is that Pepsi said the mouse would have been dissolved by then, which makes everyone wonder just how bad Mountain Dew is. To this day, nobody is truly sure if there was a mouse or not, but the fact that Mountain Dew is strong enough to dissolve a mouse carcass is just as terrifying.

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Mountain Dew is an iconic soda that seems to glow in the dark, but it’s as unhealthy as it gets in terms of sugar and ingredients. It does contain one of the highest levels of caffeine in soda, but it’s far from being a good source of caffeine. Between the high sugar content, unnatural colors, and artificial flavoring, Mountain Dew is a ‘once in a while’ treat and shouldn’t be an everyday caffeine source.

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Featured Image Credit: Joseph Rai, Shutterstock


Jaimie Wisniowski

Jaimie is a freelance writer fueled by coffee, whether it’s hot, iced, or made from a local coffee shop. She enjoys writing all things coffee, especially if it means trying the latest coffee shop trends (hello cold foam!). After spending years writing poems, college essays, and short stories, it only a matter of time to turn writing into a career. Writing about coffee simply combined two of her favorite things! When she’s not drinking coffee by the minute and writing at her laptop, Jaimie spends time hiking, exercising, and living an active life. She also loves to snuggle up with a good book and her dog, Margo. If you catch her without a cup of coffee, she’s probably on her way to the coffee maker now.

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