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

Is Pepsi Bad For You?

Also Known As: pepsi-cola



Short answer

Pepsi is terrible for you. There is nothing good about it as far as health is concerned and should be avoided by anyone seeking to increase their longevity.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Pepsi is one of the most popular selling drinks with annual revenues worth billions of dollars. With healthy living being on the rise, you may think that such high profits indicate some benefits. As it turns out, Pepsi contains zero benefits apart from a temporary caffeine boost. The fact that Pepsi sells so well may be due to the same reason it gives its boost of energy - the caffeine. Caffeine is an addictive substance and as such when the human body develops tolerance to the amount found in one can, the brain thinks it needs more. Still, it would not be fair to say that Pepsi is addictive along the lines of cigarettes or heroin. However, there are several ingredients to watch out for filling each 12 oz can of Pepsi...

The first is HFCS - or high fructose corn syrup - and yes this is on top of the sugar that is already in the drink. HFCS has been linked to a wide range of both short-term and long-term effects including tooth decay, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and weight gain, among others. The majority of HFCS has also been produced using GMO corn, which although still being studied, may have the potential to introduce illnesses / diseases never seen before.

If you look closer at the ingredients, you will find caramel coloring. Caramel coloring may be especially dangerous for its byproduct: 4-methylimidazone (4-MEL). 4-MEL is carcinogenic and has been shown to be present in Pepsi at levels between four and eight times higher than what is considered "safe" by the State of California. Not only does caramel color pose the risk of cancer, but many studies have also linked the additive to an increase of blood pressure and a decreased count of white blood cells (yes, these are the cells that prevent us from getting sick).

Lastly, there is a rumor online about Pepsi that should be addressed, which may be the only good thing it has going for it. While Pepsi is in no way beneficial to your health, it does not contain kidney cells from aborted human fetuses. HEK-293, the name given to the human embryonic cells that come from the kidney cells of a single fetus aborted in the 1970s, is highly suspected to be used in Research & Development in finding which flavor formula will be best. None of the cells, however, are present in any PepsiCo products.

Possible short-term side effects

  • blood sugar spike

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • decrease of white blood cells
  • high blood pressure diabetes
  • heart disease
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • kidney failure
  • cancer
  • addiction
  • tooth decay
  • metabolic syndrome

Ingredients to be aware of


  • short-term energy boost

Healthier alternatives

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Zevia Zero Calorie Cola

  • No calorie soda
  • Contains natural sweeteners
  • Sugar-free
  • No artificial colors
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

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

Thank you for your feedback!

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

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