Did you know that Americans prefer coffee over bottled water? Well, data shows that in 2016 the average American drank 33.5 gallons of bottled water and a whopping 88.8 gallons of coffee (1). Soda takes an honorable second-favorite place (49 gallons of pop/year). But soda and coffee have one major thing in common – they are both caffeinated. Yet, how much caffeine is in a can of Mountain Dew compared to a cup of coffee?
A regular/diet can of Mountain Dew has around 54 mg of caffeine per 12 oz, while coffee has 160 mg of caffeine per 8 oz.
A can of regular Mountain Dew has 54 mg of caffeine per 12 oz., while a regular 8 oz. cup of black coffee has 95-165 mg of caffeine.
Even the Mountain Dew Amp Original has much less caffeine (142 mg per 16 oz.) than espresso of equal proportions as one 1-oz. shot contains 63 mg of caffeine.
Although no one would drink 16 ounces of espresso, ounce for ounce coffee still contains much more caffeine than any Mountain Dew.
I’ve spent hours researching this topic in great detail and came to the conclusion that coffee contains much more caffeine than popular soft drinks.
Keep reading if you are a fan of coffee and Mountain Dew drinks (and soda in general) as we will list other differences and facts between the two below!
Table of Contents
Caffeine in Coffee vs Soda
Coffee boasts a considerably higher dose of caffeine than soda.
Here’s a comparison:
- Regular cup of coffee – An 8 oz. cup has around 95 – 165 mg of caffeine (depending on the origin, processing, and brewing methods)
- Espresso shot – A typical 1 oz serving has approximately 63 mg of caffeine
- Mocha/latte coffee – Your typical 12-oz serving size will contain between 63 – 126 mg of caffeine
- Decaf coffee – This one has modest amounts of caffeine or only 2 – 5 mg per 8 oz.
- Cola – One 12-oz can has 35 mg of caffeine on average
Note that soft drinks still contain less caffeine than even very diluted coffee drinks such as caffe latte.
Coffee vs Soda: The Health-Oriented Debate
Coffee is definitely a much healthier option than soda.
Coffee and caffeine offer a myriad of potential health benefits such as (2):
- Enhanced physical performance
- Can make you happier
- Increased energy levels
- Contains valuable minerals and B vitamins
- Helps burn fat
If you drink coffee in moderation it will always be much healthier than soda.
Keep in mind that soda is full of sugars and empty calories that make you crave even more sugar.
- Also read: Does dark coffee have more caffeine?
And according to the CDC, sugar-sweetened beverages consumption can lead to a variety of health problems (3).
- Pack of 24, 12 ounces.cans
- 170 calories per can
- Mountain Dew, the original instigator, refreshes...
Mountain Dew is Not that High in Caffeine
However, if we compare Mountain Dew to other soda drinks it contains significantly higher amounts of caffeine (the Coca-Cola Classic has only 34 mg of caffeine per 12 oz).
According to caffeine charts, the different Mountain Dew drinks have the following caffeine content (4):
- Mountain Dew – 54 mg per 12 oz (or 71 mg of caffeine per 20 oz)
- Mountain Dew Amp Original – 142 mg per 16 oz
- Mountain Dew Amp Game Fuel (regular and zero) – 90 mg per 16 oz
- Mountain Dew Kickstart Original – 90 mg per 16 oz (while coffee has 160 mg of caffeine per 8 oz)
Compare this to around 160 of caffeine in a standard 8-oz cup of coffee and you’ll quickly realize although MD boasts a decent amount of caffeine, it’s still quite modest in comparison to java.
34 oz of Mountain Dew contains roughly 150 mg of caffeine but ingesting this much soda is far from healthy due to all the extra sugar.
Mountain Dew Side Effects
Consuming too much MD or soft drinks, in general, comes with several side effects such as:
- Caffeine – Insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, high blood pressure, muscle breakdown, addiction (5)
- Sugar – Tooth decay, liver damage, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity (6)
That’s why you should avoid drinking excessive amounts of both caffeine and sugar to stay healthy.
Note: 54 mg of Caffeine is NOT a Lot
That’s because 54 mg can be considered a small dose of caffeine and this is how much caffeine a regular can of Mountain Dew contains.
A normal dose of caffeine would be between 50 to 200 mg per 12oz.
And anything beyond 400 mg can be considered hardcore and not for everyone.
Extreme Amounts of Caffeine can be Deadly
In 2017 the Washington Post reported that a teenager died of a caffeine overdose (7).
Apparently, the young man named Davis Allen Cripe had a large Mountain Dew, a McDonald’s latte and a 16 oz energy drink within a span of two hours.
- Also read: How to make strong instant coffee?
That’s approximately 730 mg of caffeine in total!
But it was not about the MD, or energy drinks or McDonald’s’ coffee.
The real culprit was the unhealthy amount of caffeine that caused dire consequences.
The Soda with the Highest Caffeine Content
Pepsi One tops the charts with 55.5 mg of caffeine per 12 oz.
But here’s how much caffeine the most popular soda drinks contain, according to the University of Utah (8):
- Pepsi One – 55.5 mg
- Mountain Dew – 55 mg
- Dr. Pepper – 41 mg
- Coca-Cola Classic – 34 mg
The Caffeine Levels in Mountain Dew Aren’t High?
The amount of caffeine in MD isn’t that high, compared to other highly-caffeinated beverages.
It is fairly high for a soft drink, yet not high at all when compared to highly caffeinated drinks like espresso.
Nonetheless, caffeine makes up only about 20% to 75% per 12 oz in most sodas.
People mainly drink Mountain Dew for its caffeine levels, while some of them simply want caffeine without coffee.
Bonus Recipe: Mountain Dew + Espresso
What you’ll need:
- A can of Mountain Dew
- A tall cup of ice
- Pour Mountain Dew over ice
- Add a shot or two of espresso
- Add a squeeze of lemon
So, the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee is significantly higher than a can of Mountain Dew.
And coffee is a lot healthier than any soda as it doesn’t contain high levels of sugars and acids.
So the overall ‘winner’ would be coffee, although it still has to be consumed in moderation.
Now, are you a fan of Mountain Dew?
Have you ever tried the Mountain Dew and espresso cocktail?
Leave your comments below!
Did somebody say coffee? Two shots of espresso for me, thanks. Oh, nevermind – I’m Simon, nice to e-meet you, dear CoffeeLifior! I like to write, drink coffee and I believe in Jesus. Highly-caffeinated drinks are my thing, but you can occasionally see me sip on decaf (my wife never finishes her coffee). Speaking of which, I’m off to grab another cup of caffeinated goodness now, laters!
Last update on 2021-05-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API