Which soda has no high fructose corn syrup?

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has become an increasingly controversial ingredient in sodas and other beverages over the past few decades. As health concerns around added sugars and highly processed ingredients continue to grow, many consumers are looking for sodas without HFCS. But with so many brands and varieties on the market, it can be tricky to know which ones to choose. This article will look at some of the most popular soda brands and flavors and break down which ones contain HFCS and which do not.

What is high fructose corn syrup?

High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener made from corn starch. It consists of fructose and glucose, with a higher fructose content than regular corn syrup. HFCS is an inexpensive sweetener that food manufacturers often use as a sugar substitute in processed foods and beverages.

There are a few different grades of HFCS, with HFCS-55 being the most commonly used in sodas. This contains 55% fructose and 45% glucose. The higher fructose content gives HFCS a sweeter taste than regular sugar (sucrose), which is 50% fructose and 50% glucose.

HFCS came into widespread use in the 1970s and soon replaced sucrose as the main sweetener in sodas produced by big companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. HFCS was cheaper than sucrose due to government subsidies for corn production. It was also easier to mix into beverages as a liquid sweetener.

Why do people want to avoid HFCS?

In recent years, there have been growing concerns about potential health impacts of HFCS:

– HFCS contains more fructose than regular sugar, and high fructose intake has been linked to obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and other chronic health issues. However, there is still debate about whether HFCS is any worse than sucrose.

– The high processing and genetically modified corn used to make HFCS have led some people to see it as an unnatural additive.

– HFCS makes up a high proportion of caloric sweetener intake in the average American diet. Some nutritionists recommend limiting intake of all added sugars, including HFCS.

– While the evidence is mixed, some studies suggest HFCS may influence appetite hormones and increase calorie intake more than regular sugar.

As a result of these concerns, demand for sodas and other beverages without HFCS has been increasing. Major soda companies have responded by introducing some brands and flavors made with sucrose or other natural sweeteners instead.


Regular Sprite

Sprite is a popular lemon-lime flavored soda produced by The Coca-Cola Company. The original, regular Sprite contains HFCS as its main sweetener.

However, Coca-Cola began offering a Throwback version of Sprite sweetened with sugar instead of HFCS in response to consumer demand. Keep reading to learn more about Sprite’s HFCS content and throwback varieties.

Sprite Zero Sugar

In addition to the original, Sprite Zero Sugar was launched in the early 2000s as a diet, zero-calorie version of Sprite. Sprite Zero Sugar is sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame K rather than HFCS.

So if you’re looking for a zero-calorie lemon-lime soda without HFCS, Sprite Zero Sugar is an option. It provides the classic Sprite flavor without any calories or corn syrup.

Sprite Lymonade

Sprite also offers seasonal flavored sodas, like Sprite Lymonade available in the summer. The original Sprite Lymonade contains HFCS like regular Sprite.

But Coca-Cola has produced Sprite Lymonade Throwback sweetened with sugar that lacks HFCS. So if you see Sprite Lymonade Throwback on store shelves during summer months, that version will not have HFCS.

Sprite Cranberry

Sprite Cranberry is another popular seasonal flavor for the holidays. Unfortunately, Sprite Cranberry contains HFCS like regular Sprite and has not been made available as a Throwback version yet. So at this time, Sprite Cranberry has HFCS.

Sprite Tropical Mix

Sprite Tropical Mix is a limited edition flavored Sprite that was introduced in 2019. Like the other flavored Sprites, the original Sprite Tropical Mix contains HFCS as its sweetener.

Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry

Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry is another seasonal fall/winter flavor. It contains orange, cinnamon, and clove flavors along with cranberry. And like regular Sprite and other flavored Sprites, Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry is sweetened with HFCS.

Conclusion on Sprite

To summarize, the only Sprites that do NOT contain HFCS are:

– Sprite Zero Sugar
– Sprite Throwback (original)
– Sprite Lymonade Throwback

All other varieties of Sprite, including the original, flavored Sprites, and seasonal flavors, are sweetened with HFCS.


Fanta is another fruit-flavored soda produced by The Coca-Cola Company. Here is a breakdown of which Fanta flavors contain HFCS vs. cane sugar:

Fanta Regular Orange Soda

The regular Fanta Orange Soda contains HFCS.

However, Coca-Cola produced a Throwback version of Fanta Orange sweetened with real sugar for a limited time. When available, Fanta Orange Throwback does not contain HFCS.

Fanta Zero Sugar Orange Soda

Fanta Zero Sugar Orange Soda is a zero-calorie version without HFCS. It is sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame K artificial sweeteners.

Fanta Grape Soda

Fanta Grape Soda contains HFCS like regular Fanta Orange. It does not currently have a Throwback or zero sugar version.

Fanta Strawberry Soda

Fanta Strawberry Soda, like other regular Fanta flavors, is sweetened with HFCS. It does not have a cane sugar or zero calorie version.

Fanta Pineapple Soda

Fanta Pineapple Soda contains HFCS as well. It has not been made available in a Throwback or zero sugar version yet.

Conclusion on Fanta

To recap, here are the Fanta varieties without HFCS:

– Fanta Orange Zero Sugar
– Fanta Orange Throwback (when available)

The regular Fanta Orange, along with other Fanta flavors like Grape, Strawberry, and Pineapple, contain HFCS.

Mountain Dew

Now let’s look at Mountain Dew and its HFCS content. Mountain Dew is produced by PepsiCo.

Regular Mountain Dew

The original, regular Mountain Dew contains HFCS. But PepsiCo has produced limited-time Throwback versions sweetened with real sugar. When available, original Mountain Dew Throwback does not contain HFCS.

Diet Mountain Dew

Diet Mountain Dew is the zero-calorie version of the citrus-flavored soda. It is sweetened with aspartame and has no HFCS.

Mountain Dew Code Red

Mountain Dew Code Red is a cherry-flavored Mountain Dew. Like the original, Code Red contains HFCS in its regular form. It has not been made available as a Throwback.

Mountain Dew Voltage

Mountain Dew Voltage is a raspberry-citrus flavored variety. It contains HFCS like the other regular Mountain Dews. Voltage does not currently have a sugar-sweetened Throwback version.

Mountain Dew LiveWire

Mountain Dew LiveWire is the orange-flavored Mountain Dew. It is sweetened with HFCS and does not have a HFCS-free alternative.

Conclusion on Mountain Dew

In summary:

– Original Mountain Dew Throwback and Diet Mountain Dew have no HFCS
– All other regular Mountain Dew flavors contain HFCS


7UP is a lemon-lime soda originally created by Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. Here is an overview of HFCS in 7UP varieties:

Regular 7UP

Regular 7UP contains HFCS. But Dr. Pepper has produced seasonal Throwback editions of 7UP sweetened with sugar instead of HFCS.

So when you see 7UP Throwback on store shelves, that version will not contain HFCS.

Diet 7UP

Diet 7UP is the zero-calorie version of 7UP. It is sweetened with aspartame and contains no HFCS.

Cherry 7UP

Cherry 7UP flavored soda contains HFCS like regular 7UP. It does not currently have a Throwback or HFCS-free version.

Conclusion on 7UP

To summarize:

– 7UP Throwback and Diet 7UP do NOT contain HFCS
– Regular 7UP and Cherry 7UP contain HFCS


Finally, let’s look at Pepsi sodas and their HFCS content:

Regular Pepsi

Regular Pepsi-Cola contains HFCS. But Pepsi Throwback is sweetened with sugar instead and does not contain HFCS.

Diet Pepsi

Diet Pepsi is the zero-calorie cola option. It is sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame K with no HFCS.

Pepsi Zero Sugar

Pepsi Zero Sugar is also a zero-calorie cola without HFCS. It is sweetened with aspartame.

Cherry Pepsi

Cherry Pepsi flavored cola contains HFCS like regular Pepsi. It does not currently have a Throwback or HFCS-free version.

Pepsi Wild Cherry

Wild Cherry Pepsi contains HFCS as well. It has not been made available in a sugar-sweetened Throwback option yet.

Conclusion on Pepsi

In summary:

– Pepsi Throwback, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi Zero Sugar do NOT contain HFCS
– Regular Pepsi and flavored Pepsis like Cherry Pepsi contain HFCS

Table Summary

Soda Brand No HFCS Contains HFCS
Sprite Sprite Zero Sugar
Sprite Throwback
Original Sprite
Sprite Flavors
Fanta Fanta Zero Sugar
Fanta Orange Throwback
Original Fanta
Fanta Flavors
Mountain Dew Diet Mountain Dew
Mountain Dew Throwback
Original Mountain Dew
Mountain Dew Flavors
7UP Diet 7UP
7UP Throwback
Original 7UP
Cherry 7UP
Pepsi Diet Pepsi
Pepsi Zero Sugar
Pepsi Throwback
Original Pepsi
Pepsi Flavors

Checking Labels to Identify HFCS

Besides looking for the Throwback and diet/zero calorie varieties, you can also check the ingredients labels on soda bottles and cans to identify if they contain HFCS.

HFCS is typically listed under names like “high fructose corn syrup”, “corn syrup”, or “fructose corn syrup” in the ingredients. So if you see any of those terms, the soda contains HFCS.

If sugar or cane sugar is listed instead, then the soda is not sweetened with HFCS. Manufacturers are required to accurately list ingredients, so checking the label is an easy way to verify if HFCS is present or not.

Should You Drink Sodas with HFCS?

Whether you choose to drink soda with or without HFCS comes down to your own dietary preferences and health goals.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar intake to no more than 25g or 6 teaspoons per day for women and 36g or 9 teaspoons per day for men. HFCS contributes to total added sugar intake.

Potential downsides to consuming large amounts of HFCS include:

– Weight gain – HFCS affects appetite hormones and metabolism, potentially promoting overeating and fat storage.

– Diabetes risk – Frequent HFCS intake is linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

– Heart disease risk – High sugar intake from HFCS can raise triglycerides, blood pressure, and other heart disease risk factors.

– Liver damage – Excess fructose from HFCS is processed by the liver and can contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

– Nutrient deficiency – HFCS provides empty calories without vitamins, minerals, fiber, or other nutrients.

– Tooth decay – The sugars in HFCS can interact with oral bacteria to erode tooth enamel.

However, having an occasional soda with HFCS is unlikely to seriously harm your health if you consume it in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet. Ultimately it comes down to your own dietary preferences and tolerance.

Alternatives to HFCS Sodas

If you want to completely avoid HFCS, here are some alternative beverage options:

– Drink plenty of water – Staying hydrated with water is healthiest. Add lemon, lime, or mint for flavor.

– Choose unsweetened teas – Brew plain green, black, oolong, white, or herbal teas. Sweeten with a little honey, if desired.

– Try seltzer or sparkling water – Enjoy the carbonation without sweeteners or calories. Jazz it up with fruit slices.

– Make your own lemonade – Squeeze fresh lemon juice and slowly add sugar or stevia to taste.

– Blend up fruit smoothies – Whip up smoothies using fresh or frozen fruit and ice. Banana, berries, mango, and pineapple work well.

– Drink milk, juices, or coconut water – Opt for beverages with some nutritional value. But watch the calories with juices.

– Enjoy coffee drinks – Caffeinate with plain coffee, lattes, cappuccinos or cold brew. Use cow’s milk or plant-based milks. Add cinnamon for sweetness.

The bottom line is you have many hydrating, refreshing options besides HFCS sodas. Read labels and know your options to find or make drinks that align with your health goals and preferences.


High fructose corn syrup remains a prevalent sweetener in regular varieties of popular sodas like Sprite, Fanta, Mountain Dew, 7UP, and Pepsi. But consumers looking to cut back on HFCS do have some alternative options available.

Diet/zero calorie versions of sodas, limited-time Throwback editions made with sugar, and flavored seltzers provide ways to enjoy soda flavors without HFCS. And checking ingredient labels on cans and bottles allows you to identify which specific drinks contain HFCS or not.

While an occasional HFCS soda may be fine for most people, limiting intake is recommended. Outside of Throwback sodas, the only way to completely avoid HFCS in major soda brands is to choose the diet/zero sugar or unsweetened seltzer varieties. Or replace sodas with other beverages like water, coffee, tea, juices, and smoothies for a healthier balance.

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