Nutrition Tips, Product, Quick Tips, Reviews

Soda Alternatives- Tried, Tested & Reviewed by an Ex Soda Addict

soda alternatives

Growing up I was never allowed to drink soda. My parents drilled it into my head that soda was one of the worst things you could put into your body and it stuck.

I honestly don’t think I even had my first soda until I was in high school and hated everything about it. However, I am the 1% of the population who dislikes soda.

Most people love soda. They love soda so much they drink multiple cans a day. I have friends who even go through an entire 2-liter of soda in a day! It’s an addiction.

So what is it about soda that makes it so bad for you?

1 word = SUGAR!!!!!!!

Now here’s something interesting…have you ever read a nutrition label and looked at the amount of sugar in a product? It’s always written in grams! In my opinion this is done because most people have no idea what a gram of sugar looks like and if they did they probably would not be consuming that product.

Let’s break it down,

1 can of Coke = 39 g of sugar

Almost 10 teaspoons of sugar in a single can of Coke. EW!!! Small amounts of sugar are fine in your diet but when you start consuming excessive amounts of sugar that your body does not need it begins to store that extra sugar as fat.

And nobody wants that!

Cue the question about Diet Soda. Yes, diet soda seems like a dream come true…0 calories and 0 sugar…perfect. However artificial sweeteners have the same awful affect on our bodies as real sugar they trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and ultimately leads to weight gain. Even more troubling is that artificial sweeteners are SO MUCH sweeter than regular sugar so they can cause even more intense sugar cravings.

I honestly think using just a little bit of real sugar is WAY better than the artificial crap.

So if soda is so bad for me what is an alternative?

To help answer this question I went to a professional, my boyfriend Bryce. Bryce is a recovering soda addict who seriously use to wake up first thing in the morning and chug a soda just to get the day started.

Since I don’t even like soda to begin with I felt like Bryce would be a better taste tester of some potential soda alternatives I picked out.

I chose products that were very low in sugar and that could be found at a generic grocery store- so off to Ralph’s I went. Like my “10 Healthy Snacks For Lazy People Who Want To Eat Healthy” post I didn’t want people to have to go on a mission to a crazy health store to find these soda alternatives.

I’ve been recommending these alternatives for years when I worked in weight loss but had never actually tried them myself (guilty). So I was excited to see if these products actually stood up to the challenge of replacing soda.

Let’s just say Bryce defiantly liked some of these products more than others HAHA!


Before we started taste testing potential soda alternatives I asked Bryce a few questions about soda.

Why do you think people love soda so much?

  • “Because it tastes good and the bubbles feel good passing through your throat. Plus I do think your body has a chemical response to the sugar that makes you feel euphoric.”

How many sodas did you use to drink a day?

  • “Easily 5-6 soda’s a day.”

Did you drink water in addition to all that soda?

  • “No- I drank soda instead of water- I hated water!”

What was the hardest part about giving up soda?

  • “Breaking the habit- when you drink that much soda it’s habit forming- you feel like your forgetting something. I didn’t think there even was a soda replacement?”

Do you feel more energized now that you have decreased your soda drinking?

  • “Yes- I do feel more energized. But I don’t know if it’s because I lost 60lbs or gave up soda this past year.”

What is the most important ting to you in a potential soda replacement?

  • Probably the fizz!

Just so you all can see how much Bryce has transformed over the past 6 months check this picture out. The one on the left was May 2015 and the one on the right was November 2015!

He gave up soda, decreased alcohol consumption, started exercising regularly and lives with me (a crazy, psycho, health obsessed foodie) who helped clean up his diet.



Now let’s explore some Soda Alternatives

Please remember the only question I am asking Bryce about these products is how well (in his opinion) they compare to traditional soda. This post is not sponsored and all opinions are our own.

Sparkling Ice Lemonade:

soda alternatives

  • Bryce’s Initial reaction: ” It’s fizzy with a lot of really sweet flavor”
  • Pro: It had the same fizz and syrupy texture as soda.
  • Con: It Looks silly and is way too sweet.

Bryce only had 2-3 sips of this product before concluding that it was way too sweet. I tried it as well and thought the first sip was delicious but the after taste was way too sweet for me as well.


Bai- 5 Calorie Drink:

soda alternative

  • Bryce’s Initial reaction: “I don’t like this at all…EW…I hate that”
  • Pro: No pros.
  • Con: There was no carbonation and it tasted like a fake juice.

Personally, I love Bai! But that’s exactly why Bryce is doing the taste testing not me. I love super healthy drinks.


Zevia- Ginger Root Beer:


  • Bryce’s Initial reaction: “It tastes like a mildly flattend root beer….actually it does taste like root beer…why couldn’t they just put a little more carbonation in it?” “Woah and it’s clear- no carmel color…weird”
  • Pro: This was very soda like. It sounded like a soda when I opened it and the can was the right size. There was slight carbonation and it actually smelled like root beer.
  • Con: The carbonation was not at soda level and just wasn’t quite fizzy enough but overall it was pretty good.

We both loved this option as a soda replacement. It was refreshing and tasted almost exactly like soda.


Kevita- Sparkling Probiotic Drink:


  • Bryce’s Initial reaction:“This tastes like Vick’s Vapor Rub”
  • Pro: There were no pros, nothing…OMG I couldn’t even drink that.
  • Con: It was totally gross but I think I just really didn’t like the flavor.

Personally I’m obsessed with Kevita. I think it’s refreshing and has a great bubbly texture but hey to each their own.


Hi*Ball Energy:

soda alternative

  • Bryce’s Initial Reaction: “This is actually pretty good, but you can tell it’s sparkling purified water.”
  • Pro: It felt like a soda in my hand and had the right amount of fizz.
  • Con: It wasn’t syrupy at all and I could definitely could tell it was sparkling water. The flavor was a little too mild- it kind of tasted like air with a citrus undertone.

Bryce ended of drinking this entire can and kept commenting that the fizz felt so good on his throat. I loved this too because it wasn’t too sweet and just had the right amount of fizz to make it an exciting drink.


Perrier Lime:

soda alternative

  • Bryce’s initial reaction: “OMG I love this- this water actually has flavor and bubbles.”
  • Pro: It had a great texture and just the right amount of carbonation. Perrier’s water is mineral water and that with the lime gave it a ton of flavor.
  • Con: I don’t really like the idea of drinking this out of a glass bottle.

You can buy Perrier in cans and plastic bottles as well. I’m obsessed with Perrier and seriously go through multiple cases a week from Costco.


Clearly Kombucha:

soda alternative

  • Bryce’s initial reaction: “WOAH…what is this?”
  • Pro: It had a really great fizz to it and the flavor was pretty good.
  • Con: It tasted a little bit like vinegar. It wasn’t bad but I don’t know if I’d want that again.

I recently just tried Kombucha for the first time and HATED my first couple sips but about half way through the bottle it grew on me. I love it now and really love how it makes my body feel.


Crystal Geyser Sparkling Water:

soda alternatives

  • Bryce’s initial reaction: “I love this. There’s not much flavor but awesome carbonation”
  • Pro: There was just the right amount of carbonation but it kind of seemed artificially carbonated if that makes sense?
  • Con: The bottle is too big and it doesn’t have that soda flavor at all. It’s just a mild undertone of flavor which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I love any kind of sparkling water and Bryce and I both agreed that this one seemed extra fizzy!


In conclusion,

I asked Bryce a couple post taste testing questions:

Out of all the potential soda replacements we tried today which do you think best replaces soda:

  • “The Perrier for sure! I also really liked the Zevia Root Beer, Hi*Ball and Crystal Geyser sparkling water.”

Which would you never drink again?

  • “That Kevita drink.”

In conclusion how to you feel these soda replacements compare to actual soda:

  • “They failed for the most part. It’s really hard to fully replace soda but I did really enjoy some of the options.”

If you were to give advice to a manufacturer about creating a better soda replacement what would you tell them?

  • “Get the fizz right and add just a little bit more flavor that isn’t overwhelmingly just sweet.”

What advice do you have for someone wanting to quit drinking soda?

  • “It’s really just getting out of a bad habit. Gradually decrease your soda intake and try a Perrier or something in place of just 1 of your sodas per day.”


Your turn,

What is your favorite soda alternative?

How much soda do you typically drink in a day?

What advice would you give to someone who wants to quit drinking soda?

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  • Reply Kellen January 27, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I don’t drink soda at all but I used to love Dr. Pepper in high school. I gave it up for Lent my sophomore year and I’ve never gone back. I just love water but I also love adding Nuun to my water every now and then to get some flavor and a bit of bubbles 🙂
    Kellen recently posted…Super Bowl Snacks RoundupMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker January 27, 2016 at 8:14 am

      That’s awesome you never went back to soda, I bet you couldn’t even drink one now if you wanted to! Nuun is my absolute favorite! Have you tried Nuun Energy yet? It’s so perfect for a little afternoon pick me up.

  • Reply Margaret @ youngandrungry January 27, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I’m obsessed with this post! It’s so entertaining, but also so smart and informative! Who doesn’t love a weight-loss story mixed with product reviews? You’re speaking to all of my blogger loves. My boy friend loves soda too although he would never drink 5-6 a day (that’s amazing). I’ve turned him onto La Croix along with everyone else in my family who was unsure about it at first, but now love it. It’s easy to get so consumed in this blogging world of people who are all enthusiastic about a healthy lifestyle and I forget that most people don’t actually like all the food and drinks that we are crazy for! Again, such a great post! I’m going to keep sharing it.
    Margaret @ youngandrungry recently posted…Currently in My Marge WorldMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker January 27, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Thank you so much!!!! I’m excited to try La Croix (and have Bryce try it too). I recently got inspired by friends/ family asking for simple health tips/ tricks to do some posts for the general population who doesn’t really even know where to begin with living a healthier lifestyle 🙂

  • Reply Amanda @ Exploring Life & Things January 27, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Okay I love this! It’s hilarious (I can picture my boyfriend saying the exact same things. He despised KeVita too haha) and informative. I tried Kevita for the first time the other day and I’m not sure how I feel. I got the mango coconut flavor and I can’t say I’m a fan. I’ll need to try a different flavor because I do like how fizzy it is. I was never huge on drinking pop/soda (we call it pop in the midwest haha) but I would order it at restaurants. I don’t know when I necessarily gave it up, but I never drink it anymore and it just never appeals to me. Again, love this!

    • Reply Diana Becker January 27, 2016 at 11:38 am

      Thank for such positive feedback on this post. It was so much fun to create! Kevita pomegranate is really really good 🙂

  • Reply Jess @hellotofit January 30, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Those hi-ball drinks are so good, haha! I love the lime one.

    • Reply Diana Becker January 30, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      I need to try that ASAP! I loved the one I tried and it gave me a perfect energy burst without a crash after.

  • Reply Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me January 31, 2016 at 9:38 am

    I love this post! I’ve been trying to get rid of my soda habit, and I’m going to look into these! Thank you for doing this. 🙂
    Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me recently posted…Link Love: January 31st, 2015My Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker January 31, 2016 at 10:02 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it Julia. Let me know which soda alternative you like best…I’m probably going to be doing a part 2 for this post because so many readers have given me incredible suggestions 🙂

  • Reply Kate February 7, 2016 at 5:36 am

    This was a fun read! I think I agree with Bryce that lots of carbonation is crucial! I love soda water with lime at restaurants. I’m not a regular soda drinker, but a diet soda drinker. The sugar isn’t the issue, but I still don’t need all the chemicals. I would drink Zevia all the time if it was in my budget.
    Kate recently posted…Dark chocolate fudge dipMy Profile

  • Reply Stephanie February 13, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Great post! I grew up drinking regular soda and then made the switch to diet soda in college when I thought I hit the jackpot of no calories but same bubbles and great taste. WRONG! I always had to be eating something with it or shortly after, and it was usually something sugary. Sparkling water is my jam now. Also love iced green teas. I’ll have to try some of these other drinks you recommended 🙂
    Stephanie recently posted…How to Quit Diet Soda…And Other Bad HabitsMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker February 14, 2016 at 8:06 am

      Thank you! Yes sparkling water and iced unsweetened green tea from Starbucks are my favorite. Let me know how you like some of the soda alternatives 🙂

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