Diet soda is one of the most popular beverages worldwide, and many people use it as a healthy substitute for sugary drinks. It offers a quick, easy caffeine boost and a nice, bubbly texture.
Many people drink diet soda to cut out sugar without kicking their favorite vice. But drinking too much might not be as healthy as some may think.
We’re diving in to learn more about the health aspects of diet soda and which alternatives might be better options.
Is Diet Soda Healthy?
Nearly all doctors agree that too much sugar is a bad thing. Studies suggest it can lead to weight gain, cause problems with your immune system, and may contribute to heart problems. In fact, the drinks’ inventors created them as an alternative for people with diabetes.
But the ingredients in diet soda aren’t much better. For starters, it can become addictive. The artificial sweeteners trigger your brain’s reward centers. And since it’s low calorie, people drink as much as they want without worrying about the side effects.
Too much carbonation can cause gas problems and trigger acid reflux. Diet sodas also have phosphoric acids linked to tooth decay and problems absorbing calcium. They usually contain caffeine, and too much can cause anxiety, rapid heartbeat, and insomnia. In addition, some of the artificial colors can potentially lead to cancer.
The artificial sweeteners in most diet sodas are controversial. Some studies link them to obesity, while other reports deny that claim. However, companies that make no-calorie sugars fund a lot of the research. Until there’s a more non-biased investigation, it’s hard to know the truth.
Whether it’s fake sugar or something else, evidence shows that diet cola can lead to heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
Pro Tip: Looking to try a unique drink? Find out What Is a Dirty Soda Shop?
5 Healthy Diet Soda Substitutes
If you’re having trouble kicking your habit, we’re here to help. These healthy substitutes to diet soda offer a better option to reach for when you have a craving.
#1 Sparkling Water
For many people, it’s hard to replace the pleasure of a bubbly beverage. Sparkling water can give you the same satisfaction without all the additives you’ll find in your favorite soft drink. Even better, there are countless flavors to explore. Some even have the same taste as diet soda, making them the perfect healthy substitute.
Studies exist that link drinking sparkling water with better hydration. Another benefit is that most of these drinks have zero calories and no added sodium. The only downfall is that they’re still carbonated, so limiting yourself to one or two a day is advisable. Otherwise, you can get painful gas or trigger acid reflux.
Tea has a ton of studies backing up its health benefits. It can boost your immune system, fight off cancer, and reduce inflammation. And tea may be just the thing your body needs if you’ve been drinking soda for years.
Some tea is lightly caffeinated for when you need a little energy boost. But many herbal blends are available that won’t leave you jittery. You can find so many flavors and varieties to try without worrying about the additives in diet soda.
You can also save a lot of money if you switch to tea. Even if you’re choosing a pricier brand, brewing a pot is cheaper than soda.
This alternative to diet soda substitutes the additives for plant-based options. It has a lot of dietary fiber to help digestion and stabilize blood sugar. The fibers they use can also help improve your gut health by feeding your microbiome.
OLIPOP has a naturally sweet flavor from ingredients like stevia and chicory root. Quite a few flavors are available, including vintage cola, if you’re looking for a direct replacement for your bad habit.
Fortunately, this isn’t the only low-calorie health soda on the market. You may want to explore other brands if this one isn’t your thing.
#4 Infused Water or Jeltzer
There are countless ways you can get creative with water. For example, infusions use fresh ingredients like cucumber or watermelon to add a complex flavor without adding many calories. You can even use herbs like basil or mint and spices like cinnamon or ginger.
On the other hand, jeltzer can take it up one notch further. This drink is a mix of one-part juice with three parts seltzer. It makes a tasty, low-calorie drink that’s much healthier than soda. Make sure to choose brands with no additives for the most nutritious concoction.
Thicker juices that are big on flavor work best here. Pomegranate, pineapple, or orange juice are good options to try.
#5 Plain Ol’ H20 (Water)
There’s a healthy substitute for diet soda you can get without leaving home. And if you’re trying to lose weight, this is the best option. Studies show that over one-third of people confuse hunger and thirst and wind up overeating because of it. Many people craving a snack can be satisfied with a big glass of water.
Water also boosts your metabolism, which in turn helps you feel energized. And unlike diet soda, it can prevent kidney problems caused by dehydration.
If you don’t like the water coming out of your tap, consider getting a filter. You may be sensitive to the taste of chlorine.
Pro Tip: Have perfect drinking water no matter where you roam by investing in one of these RV Water Filters: Good, Better & Best.
Satisfaction Without Side Effects
The occasional diet soda isn’t going to hurt you. But making it a daily habit can be problematic, especially when you’re guzzling down drink after drink. When your soda craving hits, consider trying out some of these alternatives for a healthier option.
Fortunately, these days you can find all kinds of healthy substitutes for diet soda without the adverse side effects.
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