What Are the Main Ingredients in Pepsi?

The ingredients in Pepsi are carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sugar, phosphoric acid, caffeine, citric acid and "natural flavor." Pepsi says the "natural flavor" is made from a "fruit or fruit juice, spice, vegetable or herb," but, like main rival Coke, Pepsi does not disclose the actual recipe.

A single serving of Pepsi (one 12-ounce can) has 41 grams of carbohydrates, 30 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein, 38 milligrams of caffeine and 150 calories.

In the 1980s, both Pepsi and Coke switched from all-sugar formulas to high fructose corn syrup, a cheaper sweetener. This wasn't the first time Pepsi changed its formula. In 1931, a new owner, unsatisfied by the taste, changed the recipe to make it sweeter.

For a brief time in 2012, the caramel coloring in Pepsi was manufactured differently in California, containing less 4-methylimidazole, a chemical that the state added to its list of carcinogens. As of 2015, the manufacturing process is the same across the United States.

Caffeine-free Pepsi has the same main ingredients as regular Pepsi minus the caffeine. Dozens of variations on the main recipe have been developed over the years. These formulas include Pepsi flavored with a variety of fruits and spices, clear Crystal Pepsi and Pepsi Throwback, a recipe that removes the high fructose corn syrup, ups the sugar and removes the citric acid.