It used to be that you only had one “healthy” soda option: diet. We are now learning diet soda may be just as bad as the regular stuff. Now how is one to get their soda craving filled without hindering health? Healthy soda is the answer!
Yes, there are healthy soda options out there that fill the needs of even the pickiest of soda aficionados—and we’re not just talking about still alternatives like coconut water.
If you want to sip on a cold soda, there are healthy sodas for you. To find them, you just need to know what to look for. Here is a cheat sheet that shows exactly what you want to be left out of your soda and what you want added in.
Cut the (Artificial) Sugar
The worst thing about a traditional soda like Coca-Cola is its sugar content. One can of traditional soda has over the daily recommendation of sugar for most people. With ten teaspoons in one can, as well as 40 grams of carbs, it's no wonder soda leaves people feeling sluggish after the caffeine wears off. All that sugar can affect dental health, heart health, metabolic health and can cause weight gain or even obesity.
Healthy soda options are not full of sugars and certainly do not use ingredients like aspartame. Aspartame is a chemically made sweetener that, when broken down and digested, can be turned into methanol and may be broken down further into formaldehyde, which is extremely toxic.
We’re not saying soda can’t be sweet, but healthy sodas use better ingredients that add sweetness to your life without all the negative side effects.
If you are looking for a natural sweetener option, our team at VINA knows that organic stevia is the clear winner. Made from the leaves of the stevia plant, this sweetener is up to 400 times sweeter than regular sugar, which means a little goes a long way.
Stevia reduces calories and may benefit metabolic function, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. Stevia is also a known antioxidant that helps fight against free radicals and oxidative stress, unlike the high fructose corn syrup or aspartame used in other traditional sodas, which can increase free radicals.
Another option for sweetness in a healthy soda is agave nectar. Agave nectar has a very low glycemic index, which makes it a better option for metabolic health.
One thing to note is agave nectar does have sugar, so you’re not exactly getting away from sugar here. You also want to look for organic agave nectar on the ingredient list to deter from high levels of pesticides.
Organic Cane Sugar
For some, cutting all sugar out of their diet isn’t the goal, but greatly reducing it is. Sodas that use organic cane sugar in small amounts might be considered healthy sodas by some.
While organic cane sugar does not bring much in the way of added benefits, it is at least made without chemicals, unlike the high fructose corn syrup in most mainstream sodas. That said, high sugar intake still increases your risk of diabetes.
Say No to Artificial Flavor and Dyes
The next time you are looking for a soda, look for one that does not contain artificial dyes or colors. For example, if you are craving an ice-cold ginger ale, look for a healthy soda with real ginger so that you can take advantage of its many benefits.
The same goes for color. Does it really matter if your lemon-lime soda is yellow or green? There is no flavor enhancement in Yellow No. 5 or Blue No. 1. They are simply chemicals that change the color of your drink.
Instead of artificial colors and dyes, healthy soda uses natural ingredients, like real fruit, to enhance the flavor and colors of the soda. Natural fruit juices from lime, lemon, orange, cherry, apple, and pomegranate pack a big pop of flavor.
Other ingredients like botanicals, such as mint, basil, and natural vanilla, are all great flavor enhancers found in healthy sodas. By using natural ingredients, you will reap the health benefits of each of the different ingredients.
Today’s healthy soda alternatives are full of functional ingredients. Besides the added benefits of adding real ingredients and cutting down sugar, many sodas have added prebiotics or probiotics for gut health and added minerals to make your fizzy pop extra healthy.
Gut Health Ingredients
We are understanding the importance of gut health more and more these days, and with gut health comes overall health benefits.
Finding sodas that have prebiotic or probiotic benefits help support the gut. Probiotics are live, healthy bacteria that live in the gut, and they show up in products like kombucha.
Prebiotic sodas have special plant fibers that feed the good bacteria in the gut. A healthy gut supported by probiotics and prebiotics benefits immune health, brain health, heart health, and mental health.
A healthy diet is the best way to boost the vitamins and minerals in the body, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Drinking a refreshing soda with added major minerals or trace minerals can help you reach your daily mineral goals.
Minerals are essential for many functions of the body, from cell, hormone, and enzyme development, to brain, heart, and gut health.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Adding apple cider vinegar (ACV) to water has been a popular health trend in the last few years. People rave about the effects of ACV for weight management, digestive health, and immune health.
What better way to get a dose of ACV than to enjoy it in a delicious soda? You can get the benefits of ACV with the fizzy fun of pop.
Watch the Caffeine Content
Finally, when choosing a healthy soda alternative, look for options with a low caffeine level. High levels of caffeine can cause issues with sleeping, focus, and mental health.
Drinks like sparkling water, root beer, and ginger ale are all naturally caffeine-free. There are many soda companies out there that are making all three of these options with healthy ingredients.
Yes, healthy sodas are possible! Sodas with low sugar and free from artificial ingredients are important for lowering free radicals.
Adding real fruits to sodas add flavor, not including artificial sweeteners, and including a bonus of vitamins and minerals can change a fizzy drink from fine to amazing. Many companies are adding functional ingredients to sodas like prebiotics, probiotics, minerals, and apple cider vinegar to make your soda drinking experience more than about taste but to boost your health.
There has never been a better time for beverage enthusiasts than now! No longer are we stuck with unhealthy options to give us that satisfying pop. Healthy sodas with only three grams of sugar, like VINA Prebiotic Soda, are here to stay.
Sources:Sugar and diabetes | Eating with diabetes