Carbonation in soft drinks

Years (decades) ago, the carbonation in soft drinks was more prominent… The effervescence lasted long after the pour, and “fizzed” every time you took a drink. Now, the carbonation is literally gone within seconds after pouring, leaving nothing but flat sugar water. Is this due to a mere reduction in the amount of CO2 suspended in the drink, or something more complicated, like a change in the formulations causing the CO2 to flash off immediately, irrespective of the amount held in suspension?

Have you changed your brand of soft drinks over the years? I haven’t noticed any change in carobonation to my standard soda (Dr. Pepper) over the past 50 years…

Have you changed locations, where you’re maybe living at different altitudes?

I don’t have a single particular brand in mind. I’m talking about things in general terms… Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, etc.

No. I’ve noticed this nationwide anyway.

I think the tech has changed with the fountain heads in soda dispensers that make the fizz dissipate faster, but I don’t think the formulation has changed in the sodas.

I doubt any sodas contain carob.


My wife claims that Pepsi doesn’t have the same “bite” that it did growing up in the 60’s/70’s. I just attribute it to changing tastes with age, but beyond that, I got nuthin’.

I haven’t noticed any change lately. However, I felt like the opposite happened sometime around the late 1980s or early 1990s. It seemed to me that soda suddenly got a lot fizzier than it had been before. No one I ever talked to about it then or later agreed with me, so I assume it was my perceptions that changed, not the soda.

Well - if it’s different, it may have to do with the container. According to this article, the CO2 from drinks in plastic bottles will leach out over time.

This aligns with my experience - I’ve often thought drinks out of plastic bottles seem less carbonated. And plastic certainly is more common now, at least in my area.

You’re noticing the sensation when it’s poured. Do you notice a change drinking directly from the can/bottle? A lot can cause the drink to “fizz” more and lose carbonation more quickly, from how you pour the drink to the texture of the ice and the glass.

Carbonation is the same in the soda pop when it’s made, regardless of the container it’s going to be bottled in. (It all comes from the same mixing vats.) But the suggested storage time will vary, depending on the container, and it’s permeability to Carbon dioxide. (Unopened, obviously – opened it’s only an hour or two.)

Glass bottles are effectively unlimited. They often don’t even have an expiration date printed on the bottlecap.
Aluminum cans are next best; they generally have a date printed on the bottom.
Plastic bottles are least permanent; the date is generally printed on the edge of the cap.

Storage locations (no temperatures swings, cooler temp, out of direct sunlight) can have an effect, but it’s usually much less than the type of container.

Bottlers generally aim for using plastic containers within 200 days after bottling; aluminum cans in 250 days. But diet drinks should be used within 100 days. (Not because of the carbonation, but the diet ingredients; they can deteriorate and change the taste in that time.) Any of these dates are only about the taste & ‘fizz’; they are still safe to drink for years after this.

I don’t often drink pop straight from the container, but actually no, when consumed thusly I can’t tell any difference. It’d be mighty difficult for anyone to quantify the situation I refer to under this circumstance however.

I’ve considered all the obvious stuff over the years: nucleation points, temperature, agitation of the pour, (and yes, the possibility of age related changes in perspective!). Bottom line: the stuff simply goes “flat” very quickly, and it wasn’t so years ago… Something has changed!

Keep in mind, I’m not referring to a recent change, (here we go with perspectives) I’m talking about something that occurred as I said in the OP decades ago. To be a little more specific, lets say 40 years-ish.

I have noticed that canned Pepsi products go flat very quickly. This started a couple years ago.

My guess is change in sweetener (cane sugar to high frutose corn syrup). My memory isn’t 100%, but I seem to recall that when Classic Coke first came out in 1985 it was less carbonated and sweeter. This was when they switched from cane sugar to corn syrup.

Diet coke with it’s artificial sweeteners are said to work better in creating Coke/Mentos fountains and I’ve read differing opinions whether it’s actually more carbonated than regular Coke or not.

I use a SodaStream to make my own carbonated water for soda and I notice the carbonation with less sweet syrups is more noticeable (though of course it’s the same).