Healthy Alternatives to Soda
Soda is one of the most frequently consumed beverages in the United States.
And the soda-drinking statistics are pretty shocking:
According to soocial.com
- 48% of American adults drink at least one glass of soda every day.
- 52% of Americans claim they don’t normally drink soda.
- 52% of men in the US drink soda regularly.
- More than half of American adults aged 30 to 49 regularly drink soda.
- More American adults drink regular soda than diet soda.
There are a lot of people drinking soda, and the reason it matters is how it affects our health.
According to the CDC:
“Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) or sugary drinks are leading sources of added sugars in the American diet. Frequently drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities, and gout, a type of arthritis.1-4 Limiting sugary drink intake can help individuals maintain a healthy weight and have healthy dietary patterns.”
Here in the south drinking sugary drinks like soda or tea, is likely part of the reason the south has one of the highest rates of obesity in the U.S.
This is why I think it’s a great idea for regular soda drinkers to stop drinking soda.
And the answer isn’t to switch to diet, as I’ve written before diet sodas can be equally harmful to your health, but not for the same reasons.
If a person with a soda habit can successfully kick it and go in a healthier direction the benefits to their quality of life as well as the increase in their life expectancy can shift dramatically.
But, I know it’s not easy for many people to kick the soda habit, which is why I wanted to write about how a soda lover can make the transition to a “non-soda life” and not feel like they’ve sacrificed anything.
Try These Healthy Soda Alternatives On For Size
The diet soda craze began quite a long time ago but reached its heyday in the late 80s and 90s
People knew as early as the 50s and 60s that the sugar in sodas might have adverse effects on health.
But diet sodas are not necessarily the answer to solving a soda crisis. At least not diet sodas the way we’ve been taught to think about them (meaning sodas that use artificial ingredients and sweeteners).
In this article, I’m going to focus on healthy alternatives.
These alternatives are all branded, meaning they aren’t a class of soda alternatives, but brands you would want to turn to that can help you get your soda fix in a healthy way.
1 - Zevia:
Zevias are arguably the most well-known healthy soda alternative.
Founded in 2007, Zevia offers soda drinkers 100% natural ingredients and very compelling taste profiles that match popular sodas on the market.
While they won’t taste the same as a Coke or a Pepsi, they deliver excellent flavor with 0 calories and without the use of artificial sweeteners.
Zevias use natural flavorings as well as the 0-calorie plant-based sweetener stevia, which comes from the stevia rebiana plant.
If you start drinking Zevia you’ll be impressed by the flavor, and because they don’t use addictive ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup you’ll also discover your cravings for soda will diminish.
2 - LaCroix:
For many ex-soda drinkers, LaCroix helped guide them out of sodaland.
LaCroix is one of the largest sparkling water brands and put these seltzers on the map in the early 2010s.
Since becoming so popular the sparkling water industry has exploded with competitors.
As of now, LaCroix is king, and part of the reason for that is the number of flavors they offer.
Now, no one is going to pretend LaCroix tastes like soda. LaCroix only uses naturally essenced flavor in their water and doesn’t sweeten their drinks.
But for many soda drinkers, the ritual of popping a top and drinking something fizzy is all they crave and LaCroix delivers this in spades
3 - BAI:
Bai is a brand of fruity waters sweetened with monk fruit or erythritol.
Their beverages aren’t sugar-free as they use natural fruit juice as well as naturally low-calorie sweeteners.
They have a ton of interesting and creative flavors that are fun to drink.
Some of their drinks contain caffeine which is an added perk for those soda drinkers who want the kick of caffeine.
4 - OliPop:
Olipops are a new kind of sparkling beverage that doesn’t just deliver soda-like flavor, they also deliver gut-healthy nutrients.
From probiotics to fiber, Olipops are way better than soda.
They are low in sugar, not 0-calorie, but many of those calories come from the nutrients inside and not sugar.
Best of all they have a ton of soda-like flavors, so for those of you transitioning to non-soda you can get your flavor kick, without the harmful ingredients.
5 - Soda Stream:
Soda Streams are awesome because they give you the convenience of making a soda at home with price-reducing technology.
All of these alternative sodas ring in at a higher price per serving than traditional soda, and if you’re a sodaholic that can weigh on your wallet.
Soda Stream requires a simple 1-time investment in the soda-stream device and then subsequently you buy refills and flavors, but the nice thing is it makes replacing soda cheaper.
They also have organic and low-sugar options that help you switch from soda to your homemade version of soda. A $7.00 bottle will make anywhere from 13-20 drinks depending on how sweet you want them to be.
There are a ton of brands of kombucha, so I guess this is the one part of this article that is not branded.
But, the reason I’d write about kombucha is that it delivers that zing that soda drinkers want while also imparting a ton of health-boosting benefits.
Of the dozens and dozens of kombucha brands out there, all of them offer probiotics as they are all made from fermented tea.
There are all kinds of flavors available, including many soda flavors, and generally, they are low in sugar, though some brands have added more sugar over the years so it’s important to check the label.
Kombuchas are a great soda substitute.
There Are So Many More!
The truth is there are so many more substitutes for soda out there.
Things like stevia-based water drops, teas, Kefir, and more.
If I wrote about all of them it would take me 100+ pages
The biggest imperative here is to know that sodas aren’t healthy and are arguably one of the worst food products on the planet.
If you drink them you should stop (even in moderation) and switch to something that’s good for you.