12 Healthy Soda Alternatives to Have When You Crave a Bubbly Drink
Soda is a favorite go-to drink for many people, but most of us know that can of Pepsi or that bottle of Coca-Cola isn’t the best for health. In fact, drinking one sugary soda per day can cause up to five pounds of weight gain in a year, according to Harvard Health. If you crave a bubbly, sweet, caffeine-containing drink, it’s best to stick with healthy alternatives to soda.
So, first, what are the nutritional facts for a regular can or bottle of soda? According to MedlinePlus, a 12-ounce soda has between 135 and 180 calories. (And forget about trading soda for an energy drink, which has calorie counts in the 200s!)
Since sodas are just carbonated water and sugar, all of those calories are “empty,” meaning they provide no nutritional value.
Also, the caffeine content of a 12-ounce soda can range from 22 to 69 milligrams (mg).
Below are some of the best options to turn to instead of standard soda.
Is Diet Soda Healthy?
To avoid sugar, you might consider choosing the diet version of your favorite soft drink. However, keep in mind that artificial sweeteners don’t equal health. Research has shown they might change how your brain reacts to sweetness, cause weight gain, and increase blood glucose and insulin levels.
While diet soda has benefits over sugary soda, your best bet is to look for healthier soda alternatives.
Some Basic, Healthy Alternatives to Soda
Most of our suggestions will be soda-adjacent or actual soda products that are healthier for you. But here are a few non-soda alternatives if you want to skip the carbonation altogether.
1. Iced Tea
There’s little more refreshing on a hot day than a glass of iced tea. Unsweetened iced tea provides hydration plus a little caffeine without sugar or additives.
2. Hot or Iced Black Coffee
A simple cup of coffee or iced coffee provides natural caffeine without added sugar. Not into your coffee black? Add some non-dairy milk and stevia drops to make it tastier.
3. Plain Ol' Water
You can’t go wrong with water in terms of hydration. Staying hydrated helps you feel more energetic, full longer, and less in the mood for something unhealthy. If you can, drink filtered water.
No-Sugar, No-Caffeine Healthy Soda Drinks
Want to skip the sugar and the caffeine in soda? Here are some worthy options.
4. Live Soda
Live Sodas combine all the good things about soda, minus the sugar and GMOs, plus probiotics for gut health. They’re also sweetened with erythritol and monk fruit, both no-sugar options. The Doctor flavor mimics Dr. Pepper, the Root Beer mimics Root Beer, and the Lemon Lime… well, you get the picture.
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that provides friendly bacteria for your gut plus the fizziness we all love in sodas. It’s a wonderful healthy alternative to soda drinks.
6. Sparkling Water
Many people are familiar with La Croix sparkling waters, but if that's not your bag, there are other good options like Nixie and Hint. You can even make your own by combining club soda with some fresh-squeezed fruit juice.
Healthy Alternatives to Soda That Contain Caffeine
If you enjoy the boost you get from caffeine in sodas, you can still get your fix without the junk. Here are some no-sugar-added sodas that still provide caffeine.
7. Olipop Vintage Soda
Olipop sodas have natural caffeine from green tea plus added prebiotic fibers. Prebiotics are types of fiber that support digestive health in many ways. For the best soda flavor alternative, try Olipop Vintage.
Is Olipop Actually Healthy?
Since Olipop is an actual soda, you might wonder if it’s okay to drink regularly. The truth is, Olipop gets rid of the bad ingredients in traditional soda while adding benefits like prebiotics. It’s a healthy option for those who want the taste of soda without the downsides.
8. Zevia Soda
Zevia soda is another option that gets rid of the unsavory ingredients while keeping good taste. Zevias are stevia-sweetened and come in both caffeine and non-caffeine varieties. Try a Dr Zevia or Mountain Zevia (which mimics the taste of Mountain Dew).
Is Stevia Soda Healthy?
Major health organizations generally agree that stevia is a safe sweetener. So, yes, it’s healthy if you use it as a substitute for your usual soda!
9. New Wave Soda
New Wave Soda uses fruit juice as a sweetener instead of cane sugar or corn syrup. It also contains natural caffeine and has only six grams of fruit sugar per can. Instead of standard soda flavors, you can enjoy fruity options like blueberry, mango, tangerine, and grapefruit.
Healthier Sugar-Sweetened Soda Options
Sometimes, you just want the sweetness of a good soft drink. If you haven’t quite gotten on board the stevia or monk fruit train for sodas, you can still upgrade your habits with more natural sodas.
10. Blue Sky Sodas
Most Blue Sky sodas are sweetened with natural cane sugar and free of unnecessary ingredients like additives, sodium, or gluten. They’re also caffeine-free and have zero-sugar varieties, too. Try the cola, root beer, ginger ale, cream soda, or cherry vanilla cream flavors.
11. Cannonborough raspberry mint soda
Another fun and unique option with cane sugar is Cannonborough. The raspberry mint soda flavor contains just five ingredients: water, cane sugar, lime juice, raspberries, and mint.
12. Natural Brew
Natural Brew provides non-alcoholic, microbrew sodas created one batch at a time. They contain 160 calories per bottle and focus on quality ingredients. For example, the vanilla creme soda flavor contains bourbon vanilla extract.
And, there you have it. Who ever said you need sugar and additives to enjoy a good soda? These healthy sodas prove that you can do much better. Give them a try, and get ready to discover your favorite!
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