Soda is not good for our health. We know that. Studies show that diet sodas contribute to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes. Some say that regular soda is preferable despite the increase in calories because it doesn't contain the artificial sweeteners. There are many health warnings about aspartame, the sweetener in Diet Coke and many other diet sodas. It is believed to cause side effects like headaches, dizziness, mood changes, loss of memory, and skin reactions. In addition, soda consumption has been linked to lower bone density, since it can block your bones' absorption of calcium.
We may kick the soda habit for health reasons, but it doesn't mean we don't miss the caffeinated, fizzy, sweet pop every now and then. Here are four healthy alternatives.
1. Unsweetened iced tea. Two good choices are Tejava and Trader Joe's Green & White Tea with Mint. Both are unsweetened with no artificial flavors, and are great plain or with a squeeze of lemon. For those that like the caffeinated jolt of soda, iced tea fits the bill since it contains caffeine.
2. Sparkling water with lemon, lime, or orange slices. For those that like the fizz of soda, the sparkling water gives the drink a little extra something.
3. Sparkling water with a touch of pure fruit juice, like cranberry juice. For those that like the sweetness of soda, the addition of fruit flavors does the trick.
4. Fruit and vegetable flavored water. Add fresh cucumbers, strawberries, mangoes, or lemons, and let them naturally flavor the water.
Being healthy doesn't have to mean depriving yourself of the tastes you like. It just means being creative and finding healthier alternatives. When the urge for a soda strikes, try one of the ideas above and see if it fits the bill.
Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at firstname.lastname@example.org