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Soft Drinks

Soft Drinks vs. Energy Drinks

Praised as the antidote to evil, fattening sodas, functional beverages from vitamin-enhanced waters to happiness tonics have been tearing up the American drinks market this decade. “[Functional] beverages in today’s market [are] certainly driving growth across the board, in all beverage categories,” says Andrew Guard, new products editor at BevNet, a beverage industry news site, describing a market that’s already “functional crazy.” However, the latest drinkable health boom may just be history repeating itself. Most of the sugary sodas functional beverages are replacing have roots as cure-all tonics going back to the 19th century. How do the miracle sodas of yesteryear stack up against today’s snake oil? We took it upon ourselves to compile a decidedly nonscientific roundup (with help from a real scientist).

Sax is a Bloomberg Businessweek contributor and author of The Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue.

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