Carbonated water, caffeine, Yellow 5 (artificial color), citric acid, and high fructose corn syrup are some of the common ingredients in Mountain Dew. Read on to know about these and others.
Available in just one type in 1964, Mountain Dew is available in more than 10 variations today.
Sold under the brand PepsiCo, Mountain dew has been one of the best-selling beverages in the United States. The carbonated drink introduced in the 1960s has come a long way since then. Today, the beverage is made in different formulations that cater to diverse tastes of the consumers. Pepsico has been launching variations of Mountain Dew from time to time to suit different tastes. Whatever be the formulation, Mountain Dew contains some common ingredients. They are discussed below:
Carbonated water is nothing but plain drinking water treated with carbonation, a process in which carbon dioxide under pressure, is passed through plain water, which eventually gets dissolved in it. In simple words, carbonated water is water that contains carbon dioxide.
The feeling of increased alertness that we get from drinking Mountain Dew is due to the presence of caffeine. Caffeine is a known central nervous system stimulant that is known to be improving mental efficacy. A 12-oz serving of Mountain Dew supplies around 54 mg caffeine.
he neon yellow color of Mountain Dew comes from Yellow 5 (tartrazine or E102), a synthetic lemon yellow azo dye. This synthetic water-soluble dye is derived from petroleum (a crude oil product found in diesel and gas) and often used as a coloring agent in a variety of processed foods and beverages. Yellow 5 is an FDA-approved dye, added to color soda drinks. However, Yellow 5 is purportedly one of the harmful ingredients in Mountain Dew. As it is a petroleum-based dye, it may negatively affect health and cause allergic reactions such as asthma, hyperactivity, and concentration problems in children.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
This is a food additive, a commonly added liquid sweetener in a variety of carbonated beverages like Mountain Dew. A sugar substitute, it is obtained from cornstarch. It is essentially a mix of fructose and glucose and generally the amount of fructose present in HFCS is either 42% or 55%. Besides being cheaper than sugar, HFCS also increases the shelf-life of processed foods and soft drinks. However, it has also received a lot of bad press as it is highly processed and its excess intake has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, and hormonal disturbances. Considering the widespread criticism, an HFCS-free version of the beverage, ‘Mountain Dew Throwback’ was launched in 2009. Instead of HFCS, sugar is used to add flavor to the drink.
Erythorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate, and Sodium Benzoate
These are the commonly used food preservatives that help extend the shelf-life of the drink. Using these food additives also helps maintain freshness of the beverage for a longer duration. Sodium citrate and sodium benzoate are also added as flavoring agents that render a tart flavor to drinks.
This is yet another important component of soft drinks like Mountain Dew and primarily acts as a flavoring agent. It is a white crystalline powder that imparts a bit of sour taste and also stabilizes carbonic acid which is added to create a characteristic ‘fizz’ in the drink.
Orange Juice Concentrate
Concentrated orange juice that contains miniscule amounts of water is also added in Mountain Dew to enhance its flavor. The concentrate juice adds a slight citrus flavor to the drink. Apart from this fruit juice concentrate, other natural flavors have also been added to improve the taste.
Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)
BVO primarily added in citrus-flavored beverages like Mountain Dew, acts as an emulsifying agent. The cloudy appearance of Mountain Dew is due to BVO that keeps the citrus flavors remain together and prevents them from dissipating and floating on the surface. Without BVO, it would be difficult to keep the flavors homogenous and suspended in water that give a cloudy look to the drink.
However, BVO as a food additive is not permitted in Europe and Japan as it has been linked to thyroid problems. Also, from preliminary research it is observed that bromine, an active ingredient in BVO, can cause endocrine disruptions, which may lead to organ damage, birth defects, behavioral problems, fertility issues, and growth disorders.
Obtained from the hardened sap of two varieties of the acacia tree, gum arabic is a natural gum and an important additive in Mountain Dew. Also referred to as acacia gum, it is primarily added to lend stability to the soft drink. Its efficacy as a stabilizing agent in the beverage industry is well-known. The stabilizing agent ensures that the ingredients do not get separated in the drink. It helps to keep the ingredients together and ensures that the flavoring agents stay suspended and do not fall at the bottom.
Calcium Disodium EDTA
This chemical is primarily added to promote flavor retention. It essentially preserves the flavor and prevents it from degrading.
On the whole, these are some of the common ingredients that make Mountain Dew. The carbonated beverage is no substitute for plain water, so one should not depend on these soft drinks to fulfill their fluid requirements. While an occasional Mountain Dew is not a cause for concern, too much consumption on a regular basis may be detrimental to health in the long run.