Coca-Cola Rumors That Left a Bad Taste in Our Mouths

These rumors never held any water — or Coca-Cola in this case!

Published Feb. 26, 2024

SHENZHEN, GUANGDONG, CHINA - 2020/10/05: Cans of Coca-Cola drinks seen in a supermarket. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SHENZHEN, GUANGDONG, CHINA - 2020/10/05: Cans of Coca-Cola drinks seen in a supermarket. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Coca-Cola was officially introduced to the world in 1886, and for more than a century now, the world-famous beverage company has been going strong with no signs of slowing down. During that time, the company has branched out into different directions with products that complement their original concoction—sometimes successfully (we're looking at you, Diet Coke) and sometimes not so successfully (RIP New Coke). 

Over the years, some pretty wild rumors have circulated about Coke and its numerous products. While some of these ended up being true, others were nothing more than tall tales. Today, we're taking a look at some of the most noteworthy Coke rumors that have been popularized both online and in pre-internet days and breaking down the facts from fiction. 

Let's get started! 

Should Coke Always Be Poured on Wheels When Traveling Alone?

Rating: False

A February 2022 online headline ominously announced that a person should always pour Coke on their wheels when traveling alone. On the internet, there is no shortage of alleged subtle actions people should take to stay safe when traveling alone, but this is one of the most bizarre, as it’s never fully explained how this would keep you safe (or even be noticeable at all). Instead, the headline linked to an article that simply said Coke is a good product for cleaning your tires. 

Do Yellow Caps on Coke Bottles Have a Special Meaning?

Rating: True

Although many people might not ever encounter one in the wild, Coke bottles with yellow caps do exist and do indeed have a special meaning. These bottles are sold during the Jewish holiday Passover and contain no corn syrup, making them kosher. Coke first began producing kosher drinks in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the yellow caps first appeared. 

Did Cristiano Ronaldo's Coca-Cola Snub Cost the Company Billions?

Rating: Mixture

During a 2021 news conference, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo snubbed Coke by moving two bottles out of view and instead opting for a bottle of water. Some online sources alleged that this move cost the company billions of dollars. While the company did see a temporary dip in stock prices after the news conference, it didn’t cause any lasting damage, and Coca-Cola saw overall growth in its stock prices in 2021. 

Can Substituting Diet Coke for Regular Coca-Cola in a Popular Ham Recipe Cause an Explosion?

Rating: False

Since the early 2000s, slow cooker recipes involving braising a ham in Coke have been circulating on the internet. However, some sources claim that substituting Diet Coke will actually cause the ham to explode. While making this substitution might affect the overall taste of the dish, there is no actual evidence that using Diet Coke will cause a dangerous reaction. In fact, Coca-Cola actually promotes several recipes that use their zero-calorie drink.

Does Coca-Cola Coax Worms Out of Pork?

Rating: False

While parasites in pork are a somewhat understandable concern, cases of trichinosis have been dropping since the mid-20th century and can be avoided by cooking pork to a proper internal temperature. However, rumors have circulated that submerging pork in Coke will actually cause these worms to crawl out of the meat, thanks to the caustic ingredients in the drink. This has never been proven to work, and the specific chemicals that cause the alleged reaction have never been named. 

Did a Stranger Sell Coca-Cola on the Idea to Bottle The Drink?

Rating: False

According to legend, Coca-Cola started bottling drinks after a stranger sold the company on the idea. However, according to records, the idea of bottling Coke was already on the company’s mind shortly after its release. They held off on implementing the idea for several years, though, due to health and taste concerns that were common (and understandable) during the early era of bottling products.

Is Coca-Cola Lying About Diet Coke Being Zero Calories?

Rating: False

According to one early internet rumor, Diet Coke (and other similar diet sodas) actually contain upwards of 40 calories. In order to advertise Diet Coke as zero calories, the company supposedly pays the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a yearly fine that costs less than the potential sales lost from accurately advertising the drink. However, according to U.S. regulations, it is illegal for companies to list inaccurate calorie accounts, and while they might be fined for these errors, paying the fine does not allow them to continue the false advertisements.

Did a Student Die from Drinking Too Many Cokes?

Rating: False

Rumors of a student dying due to drinking too many Cokes first began cropping up around the turn of the 21st century. According to many of the accounts, the carbon dioxide present in Coke dropped the student’s blood-oxygen levels dangerously low. While exposure to high levels of carbon dioxide can cause asphyxiation, ingesting small amounts, as are found in Coke, has been proven to be harmless. 

Can Coca-Cola Dissolve Teeth?

Rating: False

According to one longstanding rumor, a human tooth will dissolve if left in a cup of Coke for long enough. This rumor was even repeated in the U.S. House of Representatives during testimony by researcher Clive M. McCay in 1950. While the sugar and phosphoric acid in Coke can eat away at teeth over time, this outcome is mitigated by the fact that no one is leaving Coke in their mouths for days on end—the corrosive agents are washed away by the saliva in our mouths. 

Do Acids in Coca-Cola Make It Harmful to Drink?

Rating: False

The fact that some people use Coke as a cleaning product often leads to the misconception that, if it’s strong enough to clean household objects, it’s dangerous to drink. Many times, people point specifically to the carbonic acid in Coke being the offending ingredient. While Coke does contain carbonic acid, it’s not particularly strong or dangerous. In fact, carbonic acid is considerably weaker than the gastric acid present in the stomach. 

Can Coca-Cola Prevent Pregnancy?

Rating: False

According to a 1985 news report, Harvard researchers discovered that both Coke and Diet Coke functioned as a surprisingly effective spermicide. However, these results have never been able to be replicated by other scientists. In response to news of the research, Coca-Cola put out a public statement that it doesn't recommend its products for any kind of medical use. 

Do Mormons Own the Coca-Cola Company?

Rating: False

Besides the fact that the Coca-Cola Company is a publicly traded corporation, it is simply too massive for any one person or group to own (a mere 1% holding would be worth billions of dollars). As such, its list of owners is quite extensive, but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not appear anywhere on that list. 

Was Coca-Cola Originally Green?

Rating: False

While Coke has, at times, been bottled in green glass bottles, the drink itself has never been any other color than the familiar brown shade we all know. The brown color comes from the presence of caramel and was ideal for hiding any impurities present in the earliest formulations of the drink. 

Was Coca-Cola Carbonated by Accident?

Rating: False

According to legend, Coke syrup was originally intended to be mixed with flat water, not soda water, but thanks to a mix-up at a soda counter, we got the carbonated drink we all still know today. However, according to records, Coke’s creator, John Pemberton, always planned to mix it with soda water, as evidenced by the fact that he sent an assistant to fetch some when there was none in the laboratory. 

Do Only 2 Coca-Cola Executives Know Coke's Formula, and Each of Them Knows Only Half of It?

Rating: False

While this idea makes for great marketing on Coke’s part, the idea that only two executives each know half the recipe isn’t exactly true. While only two executives do know the formula, they each know the entire thing. On top of that, there’s no real danger in more people knowing the recipe, as legal obstacles would prevent anyone from attempting to compete with Coke’s formula. 

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