On a hot summer day, the first drink that comes to mind after an outing is soda because of its ability to quench thirst and provide a fizzy taste. Ever since the invention of these soft drinks, they have seen a rise in popularity despite the knowledge about their high sugar content.
These carbonated beverages are made from carbonated water, sweetener, and flavoring, both of which can be artificial or natural. Frankly speaking, sodas are not healthy, but finding out which one is the least harmful is crucial.
So, what is the healthiest soda to drink?
The healthiest soda to drink is loosely dependent on the health of the person ingesting it and the amount you take per day. Out of all the old soft drinks, Sierra Mist, Sprite, Seagram’s Ginger Ale, and 7UP are the healthiest soft drinks.
Here, we will discuss which sodas are the healthiest to drink, and we also list the unhealthiest options that you shouldn’t drink daily.
Healthiest Sodas to Drink
Here is our top-down list of healthiest sodas you can drink, but try to keep your drinking in moderation. They are better to drink than other options, but it does not mean they are free of adverse effects when drunk daily.
1. Sierra Mist
This soda wins by a small margin, as it has the nutritional value of 140 calories, 37 g of sugar, and 35 mg of sodium for 12 oz. It is a non-caffeinated drink with a lemon-lime flavor, and the sweetness comes from the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Check out why HFCS is a health concern for you here.
It was introduced to compete against Sprite and 7UP, and it won against them from a nutritional and health point of view. But it does not mean you can chug it down in large quantities.
As you may have guessed, Sprite takes the second spot. It is of the same flavor as Sierra Mist and was developed by Coca-Cola in the early 60s, while Sierra Mist, a slightly better counterpart, came in the late 90s. Like Sierra Mist, it is a non-caffeinated drink with sweetness from HFCS.
Sprite (12 oz.) contains 146 calories, 34 g of sugar, and 34 mg of sodium; while the sodium and sugar content is low, the higher calories come from more carbs in the drink, which marks the slight difference between Sierra Mist and Sprite.
7UP is another similar flavored drink as Sprite and Sierra Mist. It was introduced in the mid-80s, but its concept dates back to 1929. Check out the history of 7UP here.
The nutritional facts (12 oz.) are 140 calories, 38 g of sugar, and 45 mg of sodium, and despite the low-calorie count, the sugar and sodium content is a huge setback for this drink.
4. Seagram’s Ginger Ale
This Seagram product satisfies the requirement of a soda and is possibly the healthiest if not for its high sodium content.
The nutritional facts (12 oz.) are 130 calories, 34 g of sugar, and 40 mg of sodium. It was sold by Seagram first, but now selling rights belong to Coca-Cola.
Unhealthiest Sodas to Drink
The sodas with high sugar, high calories, artificial flavorings, and colors are the unhealthiest. Some of these are as follows:
1. Grape Fanta
Yes, it is not your Coke or Pepsi that takes the top spot for the unhealthiest drink, but it is grape-flavored Fanta.
Nutritional facts of Grape Fanta 12 oz. bottle are 170 calories, 44 g of sugar, and 40 mg of sodium. Leaving aside the high sugar and calorie content, it has artificial colorings that can be harmful to our health.
You can check various food dyes and their health effects here.
Pepsi ranks higher in the unhealthiest drink category than Coke because it contains more sugar and calories.
A 12 oz. Pepsi provides 150 calories, 41 g of sugars, and 30 mg of sodium. That is not all; it is a caffeinated beverage with 38 mg/12 oz. caffeine and artificial food coloring.
3. Coca Cola
Coca-cola, like Pepsi, contains artificial coloring, and this artificial color, also known as caramel coloring, is labeled as a carcinogen and is a cause of concern. Find out more about this food coloring here.
Aside from that fact, Coke wins from a nutritional point of view over Pepsi. It packs 140 calories, 39 g of sugar, 45 mg of sodium, and 34 mg of caffeine in a 12 oz. bottle.
In the last decades, diet sodas have seen more popularity than their original counterparts. The reason behind this popularity is calorie-free and sugar-free drinks. Artificial and natural sweeteners are the reason behind this miracle.
While these sodas may seem the perfect and healthiest drinks to have, these sweeteners are the main reasons why you should avoid them. Aspartame and Saccharin are the base artificial sweeteners in most beverages and pose many health risks.
These sweeteners work by misleading your brain into thinking you are intaking calories, which can result in more calorie intake later on, and in turn, obesity.
With the main focus on health, many companies are shifting towards healthy foods and drinks, where the new healthy sodas come into play.
They may not provide the same punch and fizz as your traditional sodas, but they are free from artificial sweeteners, contain little to no calories, and some even have added probiotics that are really great for gut health.
Some common healthy soda alternatives are:
- Wave: This soda comprises, for the most part, sparkling water (85%) with fruit juice (15%) and some caffeine (42 mg).
- United Sodas: These sodas contain natural sweeteners and are higher in calories than Wave, but they come with more flavor variety.
- Olipop: Another soda with natural sweeteners and comes in six different flavors. But it provides an extra benefit as it comes with probiotics.
Whether you drink diet sodas, Coke, or Sprite, remember that all these drinks erode teeth (it destroys enamel tissue, which can not regenerate). While Coke and Pepsi deteriorate teeth faster than others, it does not mean sprite or diet sodas do not.
Now you understand what is the healthiest soda to drink, and remember, everything works best in moderation. The same goes for soda drinking. By being aware of your health and the health risk of sodas, you can enjoy them occasionally without overdoing them.