Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Dr Pepper Bad For You?



Short answer

Apart from giving some people a jolt of energy from the caffeine, Dr Pepper is an extremely unhealthy beverage. What is more, many of its ingredients have been linked to several deleterious health effects such as cancer.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Although one person interviewed at the age of 104 has attributed her longevity to decades-long daily consumption of Dr Pepper, it should be noted that some musicians have credited recreational drugs as sources of inspiration. Dr Pepper, which originated in Waco, Texas back in 1885, is loaded with ingredients that have been linked to several serious health complications.

The first ingredient that may cause alarm even to the casual observer is high fructose corn syrup. HFCS has been linked to tooth decay, diabetes, kidney problems, and even colon cancer. Another ingredient found in Dr Pepper that is commonly found in other soda brands is caramel color. Carmel color is an additive that has been linked to stomach and liver problems, hyperactivity, cancer, and most telling of all - reduced white blood cell and lymphocyte counts (white blood cells are involved in fighting off disease). It's pretty unfortunate that caramel color is used for nothing more than aesthetic purposes. Phosphoric acid, like HFCS, has been shown to possibly have a negative effect on the kidneys. Additionally, it may cause calcium loss in bones and lead to osteoporosis. Lastly, we have artificial flavors. To say the least, artificial flavors have been chemically produced in a lab and have been linked to a very broad range of side effects including kidney damage, central nervous system damage, chest pain, and nausea. 

While most of the ingredients found in Dr Pepper are found in other soda brands, there is one factor that sets it apart- its 23 flavors (this is more of a fun fact than anything else). What these flavors are considered a trade secret, there is a list given on the Internet: amaretto, blackberry, almond, black licorice, carrot, clove, cherry, caramel, cola, ginger, juniper, lemon, molasses, nutmeg, orange, prune, plum, pepper, root beer, rum, raspberry, tomato, and vanilla. This list should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as it is noteworthy that at least one ingredient - prune - has been denied by the company as being an ingredient. 

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased blood sugar
  • hyperactivity in children
  • nausea
  • chest pain with excessive amounts

Possible long-term side effects

  • tooth decay
  • osteoporosis
  • diabetes
  • cancer
  • metabolic syndrome
  • lowered white blood cell count
  • lowered lymphocyte count
  • central nervous system damage
  • kidney damage
  • weight gain
  • addiction

Ingredients to be aware of


  • short-term energy

Healthier alternatives

Team-Picked Alternative (what is this?)

OLIPOP Prebiotic Soda

  • Supports gut health
  • Packed with fiber
  • Botanical ingredients
  • Gluten-free & Vegan
  • Non-GMO
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 01-02-2016
Last updated: 11-29-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 01-02-2016
Last updated: 11-29-2023

Random Page

Check These Out!