Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Cherry Coke Bad For You?

Also Known As: Coca-Cola Cherry



Short answer

Yes, Cherry Coke is bad for you. As if a high amount of sugar wasn't bad enough, Cherry Coke offers it in the form of high fructose corn syrup. It also contains carcinogenic ingredients.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Cherry Coke, like all sodas, is quite bad for you.  The ingredients read like a horror story: carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, and caffeine.  We can only assume that the "cherry" is found somewhere among the "natural" flavors. Natural flavors, by the way, are usually made in a laboratory and are natural only in the sense that their inspiration comes from something organic. One ingredient, particularly harmful for teeth, is phosphoric acid.  It should be noted that as soon as phosphoric acid comes into contact with teeth, the enamel begins to slowly dissolve. This also promotes plaque formation, which further erodes the enamel, creating a vicious cycle.

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and also works as a diuretic, increasing the rate at which a person urinates.  Drinking too much Cherry Coke, especially when working out, can lead to dehydration which in turn can increase the risk of stroke, seizure, and coma. Although these possibilities are rare, they are possible.  Also dangerous is high fructose corn syrup, which brings about the excessive 42 grams of sugar per can.  High fructose corn syrup can lead to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and several other problems (click here for more information).  Further, a known carcinogen found in Cherry Coke, as well as in many other dark-colored sodas, is caramel color. Not only has caramel color been linked to cancer, but it has also been shown to increase blood pressure and decrease white blood cell count (yes, these are the cells that keep you from getting sick). The worst part is this ingredient is only present in Cherry Coke for aesthetic purposes. 

Forget about losing weight while drinking Cherry Coke.  With its 42 grams of sugar and 150 calories per can, cherry coke increases the risk of weight gain significantly.  Low in electrolytes and lacking both proteins and fats (which includes helpful fats), drinking cherry coke while working out can be dangerous - not only due to dehydration, but also because of the fact that the energy obtained is at the cost of a spike in blood sugar and thus increases risk of type 2 diabetes.

If you like the taste of Cherry Coke, that's fine - having a can every now and then probably won't cause any lasting damage.  However, be aware that long-term continuous consumption may lead to some very serious health problems.

Possible short-term side effects

  • frequent urination
  • dehydration
  • blood sugar spike
  • allergic reaction to caramel color

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • eroded tooth enamel
  • metabolic syndrome
  • decreased immunity

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Virgil’s Zero Sugar Soda

  • Zero calorie drink
  • Keto-friendly
  • No sugar added
  • Rich black cherry flavor
  • Convenient 12-pack
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 01-18-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 01-18-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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