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,
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.
KEEP IT UP BRYCE!!!
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:
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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!
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.”
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?