After This American Life revealed that it found a copy of Coca-Cola's secret recipe inside a 1979 issue of the Atlantic Journal-Constitution, the world —at long last—learned that "fluid extract of coca," citric acid, caffeine, sugar, water, lime juice, vanilla, and caramel were among Coke's carefully guarded ingredients.
But we more surprised to learn that a combination of alcohol, orange oil, lemon oil, nutmeg oil, coriander, neroli and cinnamon (known as "Merchandise 7X") is what gives Coke its signature flavor, smell and probably overall charm. MyDaily: Eating Disorders And Facebook: What's Really Going On?
And it made us wonder, could these specific ingredients actual toy with our emotions?
Smell and taste expert Dr. Alan Hirsch—whose last study showed that the smells that turn women on vary by where you live (coffee in NYC, grass in Minnesota)—explained that some of the soft drink's ingredients actually can affect how you feel inside.
Vanilla and caramel, he says, make us feel secure and comfortable, while orange and lemon oils, as well as cinnamon, make you feel awake.
"So when you look at the combination of scents involved in [Coke], they induce some people to feel safe and secure, but also some people to be awake and alert," Dr. Hirsch tells MyDaily. "All this may contribute to Coca-Cola's popularity."
In other words, according to ingredients alone, Coke is Four Loko and a security blanket rolled into one alluring red package. But then you also have to factor in brand identity. MyDaily: It's February: Is It Okay To Quit My Diet Now?
Because of Coke's long history, Hirsch speculates that our feelings toward the cola could be Proustian in nature—in other words, each time you drink it, it brings back memories of what you felt like when you popped the tab and took that first sip.
"Coca-Cola is so ubiquitous in our society," he says. "It could be that it is so many things to so many different people. And when you drink it in certain situations or with family or whatever, it makes you feel happy or more comfortable."
But there is one specific—and documented—effect that Cola-like smells do have on men.
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