It's Time to Ditch the Unhealthy Sodas for These 16 Alternatives
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Giving up soda can be a tough task, especially when you're used to having it every day. What else will you drink with that burger and fries? Or pizza? Or even your sad desk lunch?
But while saying goodbye to soda is rough, when you think about how much sugar and artificial ingredients are lurking inside that can or bottle, it might make you want to cut back on that habit. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, there are 4.2 grams of sugar in a single teaspoon, and a typical can of soda has about seven to 10 teaspoons. Just picture that amount of sugar in a glass.The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends you limit added sugar to no more than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake, which is about 12 teaspoons on a 2000-calorie diet.
Per the CDC, drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities, and gout.
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Now that you know about the scary downsides of soda and want to limit your intake, you might be wondering where to start. Well, if you like the tingles of carbonation, the Mayo Clinic suggests trying club soda, seltzer, or sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice or adding a slice of lemon or lime to your water. Luckily, there are so many different varieties of seltzer and soda water out there that will still give you the fizziness and flavor of soda without the crazy amounts of sugar. Plain old water is always the best choice of beverage, but when that doesn't sound exciting to you, fizzy water would be a good go-to. Just make sure to read the labels before buying to check for added sugar levels and artificial ingredients.
And if you're wondering what carbonated drinks do your teeth, the American Dental Association says that sparkling water is generally fine for your teeth, according to research. The Association cautions that some seltzers have higher acid levels, like citrus-flavored ones, that can increase the risk of damage to your enamel. They suggest consuming in one sitting instead of sipping throughout the day.
Take a look at some of our favorite healthy carbonated beverages below:
Spindrift is a favorite for a lot of our editors. There's no sugar added in each can; it's made with fresh juices, and its ingredients list isn't very long (which is a good sign).
Bubly has a lot of flavors including lime, grapefruit, blackberry, peach, and apple. Plus, it contains zero calories and zero sugars.
Kombucha also gives you that bubbly taste—not to mention it also contains probiotics, which might help with your gut health. One of our favorite brands is Health-Ade (and my personal favorite flavor is Pink Lady Apple). Of course, with kombucha you'll be getting a little bit more sugar (seven grams) and calories (40), but the levels aren't sky-high.
We're already big fans of Kin Euphorics' High Rhode offering which contains de-stressing nootropics. The Kin Spritz is a great alternative to your normal cocktail—it has adaptogens to help with stress; nootropics to help with mood; and botanics that just make the drink taste so good. It's safe to consume if you're 18 or older.
Poppi's beverages contain natural prebiotics (probiotics can't function without them) and apple cider vinegar, so you know it's good for gut health. It has has real fruit juice, organic cane sugar, stevia, so one can nets out to 5 grams of sugar and 20 calories. There are also some really fun flavor offerings to choose from, like strawberry lemon, blueberry, peach tea, and pineapple mango.
If you're used to drink colas for caffeine, you might get a little boost from these sparkling teas. Each can has less than 45mg of natural caffeine. It's unsweetened, calorie-free, and it's compatible with paleo, keto, and Whole30 diets.
San Pellegrino is a classic. This one has a hint of lemon flavor, which can help if you miss lemon-lime soda. There are also other delicious-sounding flavors like tangerine and wild strawberry and dark Morello cherry and pomegranate. Each can has zero calories and 50 milligrams of calcium.
Another mainstay, Perrier is a great-tasting carbonated alternative to soda. We like lime the best, but there's also grapefruit, peach, strawberry, watermelon, and orange. One can has zero calories and zero sugars.
Health-Ade Booch Pop
Health-Ade also has a new offering, Booch Pop, which is a blend of kombucha, real fruit juice, and gut-healthy superfoods. Think: If soda and kombucha had a baby. Flavors include lemon-lime, ginger fizz, and pom berry.
Olipop is another new favorite with our editors. The sparkling tonic contains ingredients that experts believe can support digestion and gut health. Some ingredients you'll find are marshmallow root, which herbalists believe can relieve mild digestive discomfort; Nopal cactus, which is high in fiber, antioxidants, and carotenoids; and Kudzu root, which acts as a prebiotic. This drink contains a lot more ingredients than the seltzers and has 30 calories and two grams of sugar per can.
Polar Seltzer has its own following of mega-fans, too. With plenty of flavors, like pomegranate, black cherry, cranberry clementine, and Georgia peach, there's something for every palate. It contains zero calories and zero sugars.
Sparkling water is taken to the next level here. Recess's beverages include hemp extract and adaptogens to promote calmness. Other ingredients include ginseng, L-theanine, and lemon balm. Flavors include coconut lime, blood orange, black cherry, peach ginger, pomegranate hibiscus, and blackberry chai.
Revive Sparkling Kombucha
Revive's sparkling version is like if kombucha married sparkling water. You get the best of both worlds—probiotics and a bubbly sip. There are a few different flavors: Mango orange, cherry hibiscus, strawberry lemon, and citrus ginger. Each can has five grams of sugar and 20 calories.
Sweet Reason is another sparkling water that contains hemp extracts to calm the mind and help you focus. It has zero calories, sugars, and sweeteners.
Providing just a "hint" (get it?) of flavoring, this sparkling water is another option. Like many of the other seltzers on this list, a bottle of Hint contains no sugars or calories.
Okay, okay, you might be thinking, This is just plain; it has zero flavor. How is that supposed to be a soda alternative? Hear us out: You can customize plain sparkling water with whatever you want. Think of it as drinker's choice. Put your own citrus, berry, cucumber, etc., in to create a flavor you like. Honestly, though, we could drink classic Topo Chico as-is every single day.
Next up: Is Kombucha Really That Good for You? We Investigated
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
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