The lemon-lime flavored 7 Up soda pop was created in St. Louis in 1929. Like many early sodas, 7 Up was originally pitched as a patent medicine, though perhaps with more reason than some. The pop’s original name was “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.” Until 1950, it contained the mood-stabilizing drug lithium citrate.
Early in the 1970s, high-fructose corn syrup began appearing in soda pops. By 1984, it was in virtually all of them. HFCS is a sweetener made from processed corn starch. Many do not like the fact that it is now so pervasive in all our foods since it has negative health consequences but manufacturers point out it is easier to handle than granulated sugar and is more cost-effective.
Regardless of where you come down on HFCS, about 10 years ago soda manufacturers began producing more pops sweetened with natural sugar. One of those is 7 Up Retro, which is bottled in glass and is sweetened with cane sugar.
7 Up’s formula has been changed several times since it was launched in 1929. In 2006, 7 Up reformulated the pop by removing chemical ingredients and then began calling their pop “100% Natural.” However, like most of the big brands, it was sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. After public health advocacy groups complained, the next year, a lawsuit was threatened so 7 Up switched to the “Naturally Flavored Soda” description.
This retro version actually is 100% natural but is still referred to on the label as “naturally flavored” like the regular 7 Up.