Caffeine Makes You Crave Soda

Why do soda manufacturers add caffeine to their products?

  • According to the industry, it’s a flavor enhancer.
  • According to researchers at SUNY,  it’s because caffeine makes you crave their product, buy their product and drink their product.

And that sounds a little shady, doesn’t it?

soda poster Caffeine Makes You Crave Soda

The Science

Researchers hypothesized that “adolescents who repeatedly consume a new and unfamiliar drink that contains caffeine would like that beverage more over time, but that adolescents who drank an unfamiliar beverage without caffeine would show no change in their preference.”

To test that hypothesis, adolescents aged 12-17 visited the SUNY laboratory multiple times.

    • During each visit, they sampled an unfamiliar soda drink and rated their liking or preference for that beverage.
    • The sodas contained varying amounts of caffeine, and the caffeinated or non-caffeinated versions were varied across participants.


  • Over repeated testing days, participants increased their liking of the soda with the highest levels of caffeine, whereas there was no change in preference for sodas with low or no caffeine.


Your craving for a Diet Coke has little to do with the taste….it’s the caffeine.



Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.


  1. Lisa

    July 24, 2011 at 4:45 am

    It seems most people either drink coffee or soda in the a.m. (The rest may drink tea!) I would think coffee would be healthier than the soda.

  2. Srdjan - Fitness Bloomer

    July 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    This is why I stay away from soda and coffee. The latter is a little bit more difficult :)

  3. nancy

    July 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. Caffeine can affect the brain, adrenals and pancreas in a way that is very similar to nicotine (in patch as well as cigarette form). This is why it’s a little shocking to see so many lifters and athletes who include caffeine in their stack or take caffeinated cutting supplements. We get addicted to it because our body is becoming less adept at creating the hormones needed to generate a similar response, no?

  4. Brit

    July 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    …yeah? When I have a Diet Coke or 5-Hour Energy drink every day, it’s so I can actually stay awake at work.

  5. Andre Bradley

    July 12, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    This is good info. I had a co-worker who would have severe headaches if she didn’t drink a diet Pepsi in the morning.