Sodas are among the most popular drinks out there. A few well-known examples include Coca-Cola, Sprite, Pepsi, and Fanta. But out of all these types of soda, which are the healthiest sodas? Can a soda even be healthy at all? Read on and find out.
What Exactly Is a Soda?
A soda, otherwise known as a soft drink, is any type of drink containing water, a sweetener, and flavoring. Both the sweetener and the flavoring may be either natural or artificial. The water is often carbonated but doesn’t have to be.
Another important part of what makes a soda is that it has to be non-alcoholic. Because a different name for alcoholic drinks is “hard drinks,” these ones are “soft” by contrast.
Is Soda Healthy?
The straightforward answer is that generally speaking, soda is not healthy. And there is a simple reason — most sodas contain a lot of sugar. It comes as no surprise that consuming too much sugar can lead to a variety of conditions. Some examples are obesity, type 2 diabetes, and several heart diseases.
What About Diet Soda?
You may know of another type of soda, however, called diet soda. Diet soda is very similar to regular soda but contains almost no sugar. Instead, it commonly uses artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin or aspartame, for its sweet taste.
Unfortunately, just because a type of soda contains no sugar doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy. A lot of artificial sweeteners come with their own problems. Aspartame, for example, has been linked with an increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Are Natural Sweeteners the Solution?
Other than artificial sweeteners, natural ones also exist. You most certainly know one of them — honey. Some other examples include stevia, maple syrup, and agave nectar. These natural sweeteners are generally considered healthy. This would imply that the healthiest soda is simply one that contains a natural sweetener.
But there is still at least one problem they cannot get around. These sweeteners trick your brain. Due to the taste of sweetness on your tongue, the brain assumes there are calories incoming. When that doesn’t happen, it may prompt you to consume more sweetness to get the calories it expects. All in all, using sweeteners to avoid weight gain may just end up having the opposite effect.
Does the Healthiest Soda Even Exist?
What you’ve read so far clearly paints a very negative picture of soda. Considering all these problems with sweeteners, it’s not possible for a soda to be healthy. In that case, should you drink it at all?
Well, that really depends on your own health and on how much of it you drink. In the first place, you don’t drink soda to stay healthy; you do so to satisfy your thirst and because it tastes good. Thus, the question of what is the healthiest soda is not technically correct. The important part is to find out which soda is the least unhealthy.
The Healthiest Sodas
It’s time to finally get to the bottom of this. Without further ado, here are the healthiest sodas.
1. Sierra Mist
Sierra Mist is a lemon-lime flavored soda that was originally introduced in 1999 by PepsiCo. Its purpose is to compete with Keurig Dr Pepper’s 7Up as well as the Coca-Cola Company’s Sprite. As it turns out, it certainly wins in terms of healthiness.
Sierra Mist is the healthiest soda. A single can of Sierra Mist Lemon-lime soda contains 140 calories, 37 g of carbs, and 35 mg of sodium, which allows it to place slightly better than its closest competitor. Of course, you should still take care not to drink too much despite that.
As already stated, Sprite was created by the Coca-Cola Company, introduced under this brand name in 1961. It’s a lemon-lime soda as well.
As research shows, Sprite is close to being the healthiest soda but doesn’t manage to win against Sierra Mist. With 146 calories, 37 g of carbs, and 33 mg of sodium in one can, the difference is small. Still, for your purposes, it’s likely safe to say that whether you drink one or the other is just a matter of preference.
It may look like an odd addition to this list at first glance, but ginger ale is indeed a soda. It was originally created and sold by The Seagram Company, until the latter was forced to cease operation. Nowadays, all rights belong to the Coca-Cola Company.
But there is no doubt that the ginger ale they created is one of the healthiest sodas. A single can actually contains only 130 calories and 34g of carbs. Unfortunately, the sodium content is a little high at 40 mg. Since too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, you should be careful, especially if you are in any way predisposed.
The Least Healthy Sodas
You should know quite a bit now about the healthiest soda and its closest competitors. In that case, let us take a brief look at the opposite side. Namely, what are the least healthy sodas that we should be aware of?
Pepsi is a carbonated soda created by PepsiCo. Its original name in 1893 was Brad’s drink, given to it by its creator Caleb Bradham. Its name changed to Pepsi-Cola in 1898 and finally to just Pepsi in 1961.
Unfortunately, Pepsi is not a very healthy soda. There are 150 calories in a single can, not to mention 41mg of carbs and 30mg of sodium. Another point of note is that Pepsi contains caffeine, which may be concerning for some people.
One of the most well-known and popular sodas, Coca-Cola, or Coke, was invented in 1886. Throughout the 20th century, Coca-Cola essentially dominated the soda market thanks to its advertising strategies.
But as tasty as Coke may be, it is not healthy. A can only contain 140 calories, which doesn’t seem bad at all. But this first impression changes once you look at 39g of carbs and 45mg of sodium. The original Coke also contains caffeine.
Hopefully, you now understand what the healthiest soda is. And despite that, it’s still important to keep in mind that no soda is ever actually healthy. But as long as you keep your own health in mind, it’s not a problem to drink some soda every now and then. Just make sure not to overdo it.