I get it. Breaking the soda habit is hard. If you’re like me, you grew up on the stuff. It was at every birthday party, ever soccer game and every school cafeteria. America really sets kid up to be soda chugging adults. It’s time to break the habit with the healthiest soda alternatives – which you can skip to below if you don’t care about all the reasons why soda is bad for you.
Seriously. It’s gross.
Soda is just a can of empty calories, filled with sugar that’s most like from genetically modified sugar beets and caramel color – which is carcinogenic. Meaning it’s been shown to cause cancer.
Yes. You might literally be drinking cancer-causing sugar bombs.
Am I being dramatic? Kind of. But not really.
This is the reality of soda. Let’s explore some soda facts.
Soda and cancer.
Caramel color is most notably added to Dr. Pepper, Coke and Pepsi. Johns Hopkins did a study on the caramel color found in these drinks and determined that it is indeed a carcinogen.
“Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes,” says Keeve Nachman, PhD, senior author of the study and director of the Food Production and Public Health Program at the CLF and an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health “This unnecessary exposure poses a threat to public health and raises questions about the continued use of caramel coloring in soda.” Source
Soda and consuming a shit ton of sugar.
“A 20-ounce bottle of soda contains the equivalent of approximately 16 teaspoons of sugar.1 The American Heart Association recommends that Americans consume no more than five to nine teaspoons of sugar per day. ” Source
Soda and diabetes and heart disease.
“…daily consumption of sugary drinks increases fat deposits in the liver by 150 percent, which directly contribute to both
\diabetes and heart disease.15
Individuals who drink one to two sugar-sweetened beverages per day have a 26 percent higher risk for developing type II diabetes.” Source
HEALTHY SODA ALTERNATIVES
Kombucha is a fermented tea that you can make yourself, get at your local farmers market (where I get mine) and pickup at Whole Foods. Whole Foods carries my favorite brand, GT’s. Hex is my favorite brand local to the DC area. Kombucha is low in sugar, as the sugar is fermented. This means it’s rich in probiotics and great for the gut!
La Croix is a sparkling water. I don’t enjoy sparkling water on its own but I know that people go nuts for it. It’s fizzy and flavored, similar to soda but without the added sugar. The only time I enjoy it is when I mix it with other drinks like kombucha – in which case it’s DELICIOUS. So, so good and very soda-like.
Water or Coconut Kefir.
These are also fermented. You can make your own or either up at your local organic type market. Both are rich in probiotics and most are flavored, making it them an excellent replacement for soda.
Jun is a traditionally fermented drink as well. While not as popular, it’s gaining popularity due to the fact that it’s absolutely delicious and incredibly healthy. You can make your own or keep an eye out for it. It’s becoming more popular in co-ops and I’ve even seen it at Whole Foods.
Fruit, herb and veggie water.
I know this sounds weird, but it’s one of my absolutely favorites. Combining these flavors in water, or in sparkling water is SO GOOD. It’s refreshing and insanely delicious. Here are some of my favorite combos to muddle in filtered water mixed with sparkling water:
My favorite combo is watermelon, cucumber and mint muddled in half water, half sparkling water. It’s amazing. And you can even throw in a lil’ organic tequila. You’re welcome.
Seriously. Give it a try.