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The Jar Healthy Vending Digest: Coke

The idea for this article started when our CEO Iurii called me last week saying that he had an interesting observation for our team. He has made an experiment and stocked some coke in one of our machines to see how well it could sell comparing to healthy options we provide such as lemonades and other soft drinks. He then told me that coke seemed to overperform any other product in our machine by like 50% which made it a great source of revenue. Surely, driving high revenue is an aim of any business but we also thought if that was actually ethical to sell coke in our machines while promoting healthy lifestyle values. Therefore, we’ve decided to dig dipper into the topic of coke and make it clear to ourselves as well as to our readers how bad the nowadays coke actually is and if there could be any benefit from it.

What is coke?

Let’s start from scratch and discuss what actually coke contains. From the parents, you’ve probably heard that it is made of all the worst things in the world. Well, actually list of “these” ingredients is not so long:

  • The base is carbonated water to make it shine and sparkly

  • Of course, some added sugar in the form of sucrose or, depending on the origin of production, high-fructose corn syrup

  • Caffeine to make you even more energized than with just sugars

  • Phosphoric acid v. caramel or, simply said, caramel colour (E150d)

  • And a pinch of natural flavourings including extract of coca leaf

Rumour has it that back to the beginning of the 20th-century coke also had some actual cocaine in it. But no real proof found for that and the company denied all allegations, so we can put it back into the “myths” folder.

What are the pros and cons of coke?


  • No doubt, coke brings you energy due to the caffeine in it. I personally know many people that drink coke instead of morning coffee.

  • Coke is also a mood booster due to the sugar in it. What do sugars have to do with your mood? Sugars or any refined carbs are actually responsible for the release of a “happy hormone” serotonin. Serotonin then helps to enhance your mood as any of the antidepressants would do. Read our “happy hormones vs stress hormones” article to find more on that.


  • Back to sugars. A regular can of Coke contains 39g of sugar. What does it mean for you? Well, to say the least, it means being over NHS recommended added sugar limit by 9g after you had just one soft drink. Drawing the whole picture, a high sugar diet will increase your chances of having heart disease when you get older.

  • Moreover, sugars in coke are not always “the good ones” if you can even say so. Read the labels! Coke that contains sucrose is “your friend”, coke that contains high-fructose corn syrup is “not your friend”. Sucrose is a natural sugar while high-fructose corn syrup is an artificial one made from corn which is mostly genetically modified.

  • Phosphoric acid found in every can of coke is another reason not to choose it as your soft drink. This acid negatively affects both bone density and your kidney. As told by several studies, excessive consumption of it is linked to chronic kidney disease and kidney stones. Furthermore, it decreases your calcium level which is responsible for your healthy teeth.

Does Jar have healthier alternatives to coke?

At the Jar Healthy Vending, we always examine the ingredient lists of all our products. For coke lovers, we also found a much healthier alternative that will leave anyone satisfied. Next time try Karma Cola - the UK-based company producing an all-natural version of your favorite drink. It has only 10g of organic cane sugar in its original version and less than 1g of sugar in the “zero” option.

Wishing you smarter and healthier options:)

The Jar Team

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