Do you love soda but know that it’s not a healthy choice? This post has 16 delicious alternatives that’ll have you ditching soda for a healthier, more refreshing drink in no time!
I’ll be honest – I haven’t been a soda drinker for quite some time. But I USED to like soda, right alongside my burgers and fries. And with pizza. And of course, with a bowl of potato chips.
But I’ve long since switched to a cleaner lifestyle as y’all know, and I feel so much better for it! Cuz there are so many foods out there that are way better for you than the processed stuff, not to mention, they taste ah-mazing!
That’s why I decided to write this post on healthy soda alternatives. So you could learn that you don’t need to drink soda to still get that zing and satisfy your thirst. In fact, the options below will have you moving on from sugary sodas in no time!
What’s So Bad About Soda?
One of the main reasons to stay away from soda is that you are basically drinking a sugary beverage that doesn’t offer anything else. Sure, it can seem to quench your thirst and does offer relief to sugar cravings, but really that’s about it.
These are reasons to skip the soda:
- Increased risk of dementia: Sugar-sweetened beverages make your blood sugar spike. And increases in blood sugar are associated with illnesses like dementia.
- Risk of gout: We think of this as a disease of long ago. But it’s not! Excess sugar can increase uric acid levels, leading to inflammation and to gout.
- Danger to dental health: This is a given. We all know how bad sugar is for our teeth. The acids in soda don’t help either.
- Risk of cancer: Yep, it’s true. Studies have shown that cancers like colorectal, pancreatic, and endometrial can be more prevalent in soda drinkers.
- Risk of heart disease: Heart disease is linked to sugar. All kinds of health conditions, high blood pressure being one, can lead to heart trouble.
- Development of diabetes: There are numerous studies linking sugary drinks to type 2 diabetes.
- Belly fat accumulation: Visceral fat is a health danger and sugary drinks can increase your girth. BTW, for tips on how to get rid of belly fat, look here.
- Weight gain: Soda does not fill you up. You’ll drink it when you don’t even want or need it, and the calories add up. Look to a high protein smoothie for a drink that has substance and nutrition to keep you going and ready to tackle your tasks.
- Fatty liver disease: Sugary drinks have a lot of fructose. Fructose can overload the liver and turn into fat, leading to fatty liver disease.
Sugar is also an addictive substance – your brain may seek out the dopamine it’s used to, leading to an increased need for sugar. There is also no nutritional value in soda, which is all the more reason to avoid it, right? You can see there are a LOT of reasons to stay away from soda and other sugary drinks.
Is Diet Soda Better Than Regular Soda?
You may think that you are doing yourself a favor by eliminating sugar in your soda. But the thing is, you are replacing the sugar with chemicals that can be potentially harmful.
But did you know that these chemicals are also related to weight gain in some people? A large scale study showed that the body mass index actually crept up in people who drank soda with artificial sweeteners. To take a short detour – if you want to learn all about sweeteners, read my post for the full scoop!
Is There A Healthy Soda?
My research led me to Zevia, which is a stevia-sweetened drink. Some of the flavors have caffeine, but there is no sugar per se. You’ll see it in a lot of articles on healthy soda alternatives. I’d say it’s the healthiest “soda” out there because drinking one does make you think it’s soda. And there are 14 flavors to choose from, presently!
Will I Lose Weight If I Stop Drinking Soda?
Most definitely! You will lose weight because if you drink a lot of soda, simply quitting that much sugar is going to give you a healthy boost of energy. You will have more get up and go to exercise. And the reduction in sugar means fewer calories, less junk food, and ultimately a healthier lifestyle which leads to losing weight.
You’ll also be relying on healthy soda alternatives like infused water. Drinking water is wonderful for your health. You can also look to tasty sources like watermelon, spinach, and strawberries. See where I’m headed? Healthy food, healthy soda alternatives – they go hand in hand.
And one more thing. When you start to really think about what you are putting in your body, you’ll want to keep going. You’ll want to cook great food from scratch (the blog is full of healthy and easy recipes). It’s all a win-win!
How Do I Wean Myself Off Soda?
You can take 2 approaches to wean yourself off soda.
- Slowly taper your intake: For some, this is the only way to do it. You drink a little less each day until you are down to next to no soda daily. Then you stop. Kinda like when I quit sugar. I cut it out in various ways and gradually got rid of it – mind you, I still use sugar alternatives like pure maple syrup.
- Go cold turkey: It’s a faster method but you could have withdrawal symptoms like fatigue and headaches.
Either way, drinking the healthy soda alternatives I’ll list below while you are in the weaning process will help.
What Is A Healthier Alternative To Soda?
A healthier soda alternative will have little to no sugar, no additives, no artificial stuff like coloring and flavoring. There are many excellent options and we’ll look at those below.
A little bit of incentive: a study recorded that giving up one sugary drink a day (and replacing it with something equally tasty like tea or coffee) can reduce the risk of diabetes. And giving up soda will have an effect on your waist circumference, too. That’s another bonus.
16 Healthy Soda Alternatives
Of course, when you start drinking healthy soda alternatives, you’ll look to healthier food choices too. Let’s get you informed on the choices:
1. Infused water: I’m a big fan of water infused with flavors like watermelon, cucumber, mint, and more. For easy and delicious recipes, take a look at these recipes.
2. Coconut water: Coconut water comes from the middle of the young and green coconut. It’s a great potassium source and really refreshing.
3. Mineral water: Mineral water brands like San Pellegrino offer the fizz that soda drinkers like. To boot, no sugar here!
4. Coffee: If you are looking for a cold drink, coffee can work! I’ve got a great coffee smoothie that’ll do the trick. And while we’re on the topic of cutting out sugar, when you are having a morning cup of joe, switch out traditional sugary creamers for healthy homemade creamer.
5. Milk or milk alternatives: Here me out – I know, soda versus milk? But if you try a nice glass of cold milk or almond, cashew, or coconut milk. Think healthy fats (so good for you and can help you lose weight) and protein to fill you up, and keep you away from snacks like chips and cookies.
6. Kombucha: Fermented food is awesome. Kombucha is a great source of probiotics. Some say the flavor takes a little getting used to, but I think it’s super tasty. Try HUMM Zero Sugar Kombucha on for size.
7. Fresh veggies, juiced: You’ll need a juicer for this one. But drinking vegetables as opposed to fruit means that you’ll really cut down on sugar. If you want to drink premade, store-bought juice such as tomato, just be aware of the sodium content.
8. Red wine: I’m not saying to start drinking alcohol if you are not already someone who has a drink now and then. And I’m also not saying to up your intake! Drinking wine in moderation is the only way. So if you usually watch your favorite show with chips and a soda, change to one glass of wine and a nice slice of cheese.
9. Sparkling water and lime: Most people who try this add a dash of stevia (a little goes a long way, remember!) and it’s refreshing and fizzy.
10. Green tea: I love iced green tea. And did you know that green tea has benefits like fighting cancer and burning fat? You betcha!
11. Juice and seltzer: Opt for a juice like pomegranate or grape to add a few benefits to this mix. Don’t go overboard as there is sugar in the juice, but grapes, for instance, may offer benefits to the heart and pomegranate juice may help your memory.
12. Lemonade: Make lemonade with a healthy sugar like stevia (or even pure maple syrup for a unique taste).
13. Maple water: Maple water made from pure maple syrup has polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. It tastes good too!
14. Sparkling water: Sparkling water is just water that’s been carbonated. So, no harmful stuff there! Aura Bora has yummy flavors like Basil Berry!
15. Homemade soda: Yes, you can make your own soda! I’ve done it and it tastes SO good! Flavors like strawberry, orange, and even blackberry give you sweet and delicious healthy soda alternatives. Find the recipes in my post How to Make Homemade Soda.
16. Store-bought soda-like drinks: There are TONS of these out there, but if you don’t read the label, you can still fall into the trap of drinking sugar and additives. A few brands I’ve seen out there that don’t have oodles of caffeine or sugar are:
- OLIPOP Vintage Cola – 2 grams of sugar with stevia
- Spindrift – 1 gram of sugar and real squeezed fruit
- Zevia – 0 sugar using stevia
- Bubly – 0 sugar and 12 flavors
- Polar Seltzer – No sweeteners and lots of flavors
- La Croix – Bubbly and light, 0 grams of sugar
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