Diet soda is free of calories, and big on sweet flavor. But are you really helping your body by swigging these cravable cans? Sometimes once, twice or three times a day??
Experts are unsure if habitual diet soda drinkers are actually losing or maintaining their weight. And all those confusing chemical sweeteners can leave you feeling less than ‘natural’. Sure there are new plant-sourced zero calorie sweeteners on the market from plants like stevia. But if you are looking to kick your diet soda habit all together, I have a few healthy ideas for you..
Diet Soda: Five Healthy Alternatives
1. Coconut Water. Coconut water has been getting a lot of buzz over the past few years and celebrities and health gurus everywhere swear by the stuff. I personally adore coconut water. It is relatively low in calories and high in electrolytes like potassium and manganese. Coconut water is the liquid endosperm that comes from inside a whole young coconut. (It’s not white like coconut milk, it’s clear). It has a fresh almost salty-sweet flavor. Coconut water has only 60 calories per 11 ounces. And more potassium than a banana. More on coconut water. Tip: always drink coconut water well-chilled for the best flavor.
2. Kombucha. Kombucha is another buzzed-about bevie in the wellness world. Kombucha is a fermented beverage. So you’ll get all the sweet fizzy bubbles you crave in diet soda, without all the chemicals. Kombucha is rich in electrolytes, enzymes and probiotics. And kombucha has a wide variety of health claims (none of which are truly verified) but kombucha drinkers are quite loyal to this fizzy lifting drink. Kombucha is generally low in calories, only about 30 calories per 8 ounces. More about kombucha.
3. Essence-Infused Water. You may have seen these calorie free, flavored waters on store shelves. They are not sweet, but do offer a nice accent of a wide variety of flavors: watermelon, mint, berry, lime and more. It’s the pure, hydrating refreshment of calorie-free water, without the blandness you may not crave.
4. At-Home Mint/Lemon Water. One of my favorite recipes for calorie free water is to take a large chilled pitcher of either flat or sparkling water, a few ice cubes and add plentiful amounts of fresh chopped mint and fresh chopped lemons. The results are quite dreamy, tasty and calorie free.
5. Fruit Juice. Huh? Sugary fruit juice is healthier than diet soda? Sort’ve. True, most fruit juices are high in calories, but some like cranberry, concord grape, pomegranate and blueberry juices are rich in heart-healthy antioxidants called flavenoids. New studies are discussing the healthy-heart benefits of drinking dark red and purple juices in place of red wine. Mayo Clinic. In order to get the fruit juice benefits without all the calories, try doing half water, half juice. This may get a little taking used to (since sweet is what diet soda drinkers crave) but in the end you might acquire a healthy habit worth embracing. If you crave ‘fizzy’ – do half sparkling water and half juice.