Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Is Thums Up Soda Bad For You?

Also Known As: Thums Up cola



Short answer

Regular consumption of Thums Up can be bad for your health due to its high sugar content, which surpasses daily sugar intake recommendations and may contribute to weight gain, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dental issues, and metabolic disturbances. Occasional enjoyment is less likely to lead to severe health outcomes, but consistent or high intakes are linked to significant health risks.



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Long answer

Sugar Content in Thums Up and Its Health Implications

Thums Up, a popular soda brand, is often consumed for its unique taste and carbonation. However, a critical aspect of this beverage that consumers must be aware of is its sugar content. A standard 330 ml can of Thums Up contains approximately 40 grams of sugar, which is a significant amount considering the recommended daily sugar intake.

The American Heart Association suggests that men should consume no more than 36 grams and women no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day. Consuming one can of Thums Up surpasses the daily limit for both men and women, potentially leading to various health issues if consumed regularly.

Regular intake of high sugar content can lead to:

  • Weight gain: Excess sugar translates to excess calories, and without adequate physical activity to burn them, weight gain is inevitable.
  • Increased risk of heart disease: High-sugar diets can increase blood pressure and inflammation, contribute to the buildup of fatty liver disease, and heighten triglyceride levels, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
  • Linked to type 2 diabetes: The excessive intake of sugary drinks has been linked to insulin resistance and an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Dental issues: Sugars found in sodas are a leading cause of cavities and dental decay due to the bacteria in the mouth feeding on these sugars and producing acid that harms tooth enamel.
  • Effects on metabolism: High sugar consumption can create a surge of fructose in the liver, overloading it and causing potential long-term damage to metabolic health.

However, it's essential to balance this knowledge with practical context— occasional consumption in moderation does not typically lead to these severe health outcomes, but regular or excessive consumption can be harmful. It's also critical to consider individual dietary needs and consult healthcare professionals when assessing the impact of added sugars on personal health.

Recent studies have shown the extensive health implications of added sugars in the diet. A study published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, detailed the correlation between sugar-sweetened beverages and the increased risk of heart disease. Another study in The BMJ highlighted the link between sugary drinks and the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

In conclusion, while Thums Up soda can be enjoyed occasionally, its high sugar content poses significant health risks when consumed in large amounts or as part of a regular diet. Awareness and moderation are key to maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Role of Caffeine: Benefits and Drawbacks

Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee, and cacao plants, and it has made its way into a variety of sodas, including Thums Up Soda. Understanding the role of caffeine as it pertains to our health necessitates a balanced look at both its potential benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits of Caffeine

  • Increased Alertness: Caffeine is well known for its ability to combat drowsiness and maintain alertness, a key reason why it's consumed worldwide. A study published in the journal "Psychopharmacology" supports this, suggesting that caffeine can enhance cognitive performance and mood.
  • Improved Physical Performance: Some research, including findings from the "Journal of Applied Physiology," indicates that caffeine can enhance physical performance, mainly by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues and making them available for use as energy.
  • Possible Metabolic Rate Boost: There is also evidence, such as a study in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," demonstrating that caffeine can temporarily boost metabolic rate, potentially aiding in weight management.

Drawbacks of Caffeine

  • Increased Blood Pressure: Consumption of caffeine has been shown to cause a short-term increase in blood pressure, as highlighted by research in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." This can be a concern for individuals with hypertension or cardiovascular issues.
  • Insomnia and Sleep Disturbances: Caffeine, particularly when consumed in large amounts or later in the day, can disrupt sleep patterns. This has been extensively documented in studies, including those in the "Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine," noting the negative impact on sleep quality.
  • Dependence and Withdrawal: Regular intake of caffeine may lead to physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, irritability, and fatigue can occur, as described in "The Journal of Caffeine Research."
  • Increased Risk of Heart Rhythm Disorders: For certain individuals, particularly those with underlying heart conditions, excessive caffeine intake could be associated with heart rhythm disorders, a relationship explored in "The Journal of the American Heart Association."

It is imperative to consider both the benefits and risks when assessing the role of caffeine in a beverage like Thums Up Soda. The amount of caffeine in Thums Up is moderate, yet individual tolerance varies, and those with specific health concerns should consult a healthcare professional regarding their intake. Ultimately, moderation is key, and it's essential to understand how your body responds to caffeine to make informed decisions about consumption.

Artificial Additives in Thums Up: What You Need to Know

Thums Up, a popular soda brand, like many carbonated beverages, contains a variety of artificial additives. Understanding these substances and their potential impacts on health is crucial for informed consumption. Let's dive into some of the most common artificial additives found in Thums Up and examine their roles and the concerns associated with them.

1. Caramel Color (Class IV)

Caramel color is widely used for cosmetic purposes, giving Thums Up its characteristic deep brown hue. The specific type used in sodas is often Caramel IV, also known as the "ammonia sulfite process" caramel. According to a study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, this type of caramel color contains 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), a compound that has been found to have carcinogenic potential in animal studies. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies 4-MEI as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" (Group 2B).

2. Phosphoric Acid

Phosphoric acid is commonly added to sodas, including Thums Up, to add tartness and to preserve the beverage's shelf life. Although regarded as safe at low levels, excessive consumption can lead to an increased risk for bone demineralization and osteoporosis, as evidence suggests a negative impact on calcium absorption. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has raised concerns that prolonged exposure to dietary sources of phosphoric acid may contribute to bone density loss.

3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

While not an artificial additive, HFCS is a heavily processed sweetener commonly found in many sodas, including Thums Up. HFCS consumption has been a point of contention among dietary experts, with research linking it to obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. HFCS can also contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as suggested by a study in the Journal of Hepatology. It's important to note that HFCS can lead to more rapid spikes in blood sugar compared to natural sugar.

4. Preservatives (e.g., Sodium Benzoate)

Sodium benzoate is used as a preservative to prevent the growth of microbes in Thums Up. However, when combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), it may form benzene, a known carcinogen. Studies such as one in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry detected low levels of benzene in some soft drinks containing sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid under certain conditions, such as exposure to heat and light.

Ingesting artificial additives is a concern for many health-conscious individuals. The key is moderation and awareness. It is crucial to consider that the presence of these substances in Thums Up does not necessarily equate to an immediate health risk, as they are generally approved at specific levels by regulatory bodies such as the FDA or FSSAI. However, being informed about potential long-term effects encourages a balanced approach to diet and prompts a reassessment of one's consumption habits regarding artificially flavored beverages.

Contribution to Dental Erosion and Cavities

When considering the impact of Thums Up Soda on dental health, it's important to look closely at the contributing factors that might lead to dental erosion and cavities. This widely consumed soda, like many carbonated soft drinks, is associated with negative effects on oral health due to its sugar content and acidity levels.

Firstly, the sugar content in Thums Up, as in many sodas, is a significant contributor to tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugar, metabolizing it into acids that contribute to the demineralization of the tooth surface. This process eventually leads to the formation of cavities. The amount and frequency of sugar intake play critical roles in this mechanism. A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association indicates that the risk of decay increases with both the amount of sugar consumed and the frequency of consumption.

  • High Sugar Content: Feeds oral bacteria leading to cavity-causing acids.
  • Acidity: Carbonated drinks are acidic, which can erode tooth enamel over time.
  • Frequency of Consumption: Repetitive exposure to sugary, acidic drinks exacerbates erosion.

Acidic beverages contribute to the second aspect of dental erosion. Thums Up, with its carbonation, contains carbonic acid. This, along with any other acids used for flavoring, can lower the pH balance inside the mouth, leading to the dissolution of enamel. Research featured in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene links the consumption of acidic drinks to enhanced enamel erosion, which increases teeth's susceptibility to decay.

Furthermore, lifestyle and drinking habits can affect the degree of oral damage caused by soft drinks. For instance:

  • Sipping on a soda over a prolonged period can cause more harm than drinking it quickly due to prolonged acid exposure.
  • Consuming soda in between meals, when saliva production is lower, may not allow for the neutralizing effect of saliva, thereby increasing potential damage.
  • Drinking through a straw can minimize contact with teeth, potentially reducing the risk of erosion.

It is imperative for individuals concerned with their oral health to consider these factors. Moderation, coupled with proper dental hygiene practices, such as brushing with fluoride toothpaste and regular dental check-ups, are essential in mitigating the risks posed by Thums Up Soda to dental health. Dental professionals can offer individualized advice for those looking to balance the enjoyment of such beverages with the preservation of their dental health.

In summary, while enjoying Thums Up Soda in moderation may not cause significant harm to dental health, it's clear that regular and excessive consumption can contribute to dental erosion and the development of cavities, especially when consumed without proper oral hygiene practices in place.

Link Between Thums Up Consumption and Obesity/Diabetes Risks

Thums Up, a popular cola beverage in India, is often consumed for its unique taste and ability to provide a quick energy boost. However, it is important to scrutinize the implications of its regular consumption, especially in relation to obesity and diabetes, two escalating health concerns worldwide. Epidemiological studies and extensive research into sugary soft drinks, including colas like Thums Up, provide a clearer understanding of these risks.

High Sugar Content: One of the primary concerns with Thums Up is the high level of sugar it contains. A single 300 ml bottle may contain upwards of 30 grams of sugar, which contributes significantly to the daily caloric intake. The American Heart Association suggests that women should consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day, and men no more than 36 grams. Regular consumption of Thums Up can easily exceed these recommendations, potentially leading to weight gain.

Caloric Density and Weight Gain: Beverages like Thums Up are calorically dense and lacking in essential nutrients—a combination that can lead to excessive calorie intake without the satiety that comes with eating whole foods. The caloric surplus, if not offset by physical activity, can lead to obesity. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, there is a strong connection between the consumption of sugary drinks and weight gain in both children and adults.

Insulin Resistance and Diabetes: The high sugar content in Thums Up can also pose a risk for insulin resistance, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis of cohort studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that individuals who consumed 1-2 sugary drinks per day had a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than individuals who had less than one sugary drink per month.

Added Fructose and Liver Function: Thums Up, like many sodas, contains high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or equivalent high levels of fructose, depending on the formulation. Fructose is processed by the liver and in excess amounts can contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is a risk factor for diabetes. A study by the Journal of Hepatology underscores the role of fructose from added sugars in soda in the development of NAFLD.

Artificial Sweeteners: Some varieties of Thums Up contain artificial sweeteners instead of or in addition to sugar. While these sweeteners reduce the caloric value, they may still carry health risks. The relationship between artificial sweeteners and metabolic health is still debated, with some studies suggesting a potential link to increased obesity and diabetes risk, as found in epidemiological research in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

While occasional consumption of Thums Up is unlikely to cause obesity or diabetes on its own, habitual intake can contribute to both conditions. It is pertinent for individuals to be mindful of the cumulative effects of sugary soda consumption on their overall health and make informed choices about their diet.

Recommendation from Health Organizations: Recognizing the impact of sugary sodas on public health, the World Health Organization (WHO) advocates for reduced intake of free sugars throughout the life course. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends limiting added sugars, including those from sweetened beverages, as part of a healthy lifestyle to prevent chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

In light of the evidence, diminishing the consumption of sugary beverages like Thums Up and replacing them with healthier alternatives—such as water, unsweetened tea, or natural juices in moderation—could be a positive step toward better health and reduced risks associated with obesity and diabetes.

Comparing Thums Up to Other Sugary Drinks: A Health Perspective

When looking at Thums Up soda in the context of other sugary drinks, it's essential to consider the sugar content, the type of sweeteners used, and the presence of any additional nutrients—or lack thereof—that could influence its impact on health. Let's break down and compare these factors:

Sugar Content:

Thums Up contains a significant amount of sugar, which is common among sodas and other sweetened beverages. The average can of Thums Up (about 300 ml) generally contains around 40 grams of sugar, similar to that of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. When consumed in excess, such high sugar levels can contribute to various health issues like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and dental caries.

Type of Sweeteners Used:

The sweetening agent in Thums Up is usually high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or sugar (sucrose), depending on the region of manufacture. HFCS is known for being linked to obesity and insulin resistance more significantly than cane sugar, partially due to how it's metabolized by the body. Other beverages might use artificial sweeteners, which can reduce calorie intake but have been associated with other health concerns and a potential for increased appetite.

Additional Nutrients:

Aside from carbonated water, sugar, and flavorings, Thums Up lacks meaningful amounts of vitamins, minerals, or fiber. This is consistent with most carbonated sodas. Sports and energy drinks, on the other hand, may contain electrolytes or vitamins but often come with a similar sugar load. Some fruit juices contain natural sugars along with vitamins and antioxidants, but can still contribute to excessive calorie intake when consumed in large amounts.

Caloric Comparison:

  • Thums Up (300 ml) - around 120 calories
  • Coca-Cola (300 ml) - around 120 calories
  • Pepsi (300 ml) - around 150 calories
  • Sports Drink (300 ml) - 60-90 calories
  • Fruit Juice (100% juice, 300 ml) - 120-180 calories

It is important to underscore that while some sugary drinks may seem healthier due to the presence of vitamins or electrolytes, their high sugar content may still offset these potential benefits. Studies, such as one by Malik et al. (2010) in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," have shown a positive association between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain and obesity in both children and adults.

Additionally, considering the World Health Organization's recommendation of reducing free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake, one can of Thums Up could nearly reach (or exceed) this daily limit for many individuals. Similar can be said for an equivalent serving of most sugary drinks.

Ultimately, the regular consumption of Thums Up and similar sugary beverages can be detrimental to one's health, primarily due to their high sugar content and lack of nutritional benefits. Moderation is key, and choosing drinks with lower sugar content or better nutritional profiles is advisable for maintaining good health.

Frequently asked questions

Preservatives such as sodium benzoate are used in Thums Up to prevent the growth of microbes, and they are generally recognized as safe by regulatory bodies at certain levels. However, when combined with vitamin C (ascorbic acid), there is a risk it could form benzene, a known carcinogen. While typically found in low levels, it is still important for consumers to be conscious of potential long-term effects and consume such beverages in moderation.

Yes, Thums Up can contribute to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) due to its high fructose content, typically from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Fructose is metabolized by the liver, and excessive consumption can lead to a buildup of fat in the liver cells, potentially resulting in NAFLD.

The carbonation in Thums Up introduces carbonic acid into the drink, which along with other added acids can lower the mouth's pH level. This can lead to enamel dissolution, making teeth more susceptible to decay. To mitigate these effects, it is recommended to limit intake, use a straw, rinse the mouth with water after consumption, and maintain good oral hygiene practices.

Thums Up has a sugar content and calorie level comparable to other popular sodas like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Therefore, it isn't necessarily worse for your health than other sodas when consumed in similar quantities. The health effects are largely due to high sugar and calorie content, which are common across many soft drink brands. Moderation is essential regardless of the brand to minimize health risks.

Ask a question about Thums Up Soda and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • spike in blood sugar
  • increased blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • short-term increases in alertness and physical performance
  • temporary metabolic rate boost
  • dental erosion
  • acidic ph impact on enamel

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • increased risk of heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • dental issues
  • metabolic health damage
  • bone density loss
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • physical dependence on caffeine
  • heart rhythm disorders
  • obesity

Ingredients to be aware of


  • enhanced cognitive performance
  • mood improvement
  • physical performance enhancement
  • metabolic rate boost

Healthier alternatives

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

OLIPOP Classics Pack

  • Aids digestive health
  • Rich in plant fiber
  • Low-calorie choice
  • Low-sugar content
  • Healthier soda alternative
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Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 03-21-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 03-21-2024

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