‘What is the healthiest soda’ might be a rhetorical question for many. It certainly is for the overly health-conscious people, individuals looking to eliminate each and every single unhealthy dietary food in their lives. Sodas, as you might have known already, have little to show for when it comes to having any nutritional benefits other than just being refreshing and going great with burgers, pizzas or pastas (which themselves aren’t very healthy).
But, as much as it would surprise anybody, there is still a better option amongst the worst and so, we are here to find out: the healthiest soda to drink or the most healthy soda. So, let’s try our hand at the age-old practice of trying to answer rhetorical questions and get satisfying results out of it.
For starters, you need to understand that while sodas might be healthy in some instances, sodas are widely considered inherently unhealthy, because their industrial application in the form of popular soft drinks like Pepsi or Coke contains a lot of sugar, much more higher than an equivalent amount of any other beverage like tea, coffee or the drinks’ sugar-free counterparts.
But that isn’t just the sugar-in-soda that is the point of contention among people looking to keep their waistline in check; no. The fact that it is carbonated poses many other problems; one of the most common of which is the fact that drinking it allows your stomach to be filled with gas, which inhibits a person from eating. Not exactly appetite-suppressant, which could actually eb good for people looking to lose weight, but it could rob you of the required food intake for the day, which could then be problematic.
What is a Soda?
Wasn’t soda the name for sodium bicarbonate? Since when did NaHCO3 contain sugar, and that too in enormous amounts? Well, that’s a different kind of soda we’re talking about. We’re talking about the kind of soda that is more commonly known by the name of pop. Or Coke, Pepsi, Fanta,
Dr Pepper and whatever the heck shelves at the local 7/11 are piled up high with. This is called soda because of the presence of carbonated water in the entire solution of sweetener, flavour and sugar, not to mention the kind of things they dump in to give that funky colour (ah yes, the Baja Blast Dew with the anti-freeze colour). All of these ingredients make up what is commonly known as a soda,
More specifically the soda drink (characterised by the fizzy popping sounds due to the carbonated water being the majority part of the drink). And this is what a soda is: a fizzy drink that is refreshing, contains a lot of calories, even more sugar, and looks and tastes like something straight out of an old person’s fever dream.
Are Sodas Healthy – What is The Healthiest Soda
Aside from the sugar problem, there’s little else that can be pinned on the unhealthy side of sodas. Yes, they contain a lot of what are called ‘empty calories’, but that’s just about it. And calories are no big deal today when you’ve got single-serve burgers that cross the RDA (recommended daily amount) for calories for an adult for a single day. So while we as a people have kind of grown into the calorie problem, there’s still a lot of sugar to get past in soft drinks, and that is just something that will keep bothering us.
Now, here is the case for non-sugar drinks (or sugar-free drinks). If there is a single point of contention for a product that prevents it from getting a green-light from the general public and a ‘healthy’ tag, you can simply remove it and chalk it up to the great virtues of listening to people. And that’s exactly what beverage companies like PepsiCo and The Coca Cola Company did when they started coming out with zero-sugar products:
Coke Zero, Diet Pepsi and the whole shebang of other zero-fied products that had way less sugar than their original iterations. And here’s the shocker: they are actually healthier than regular Coke or Pepsi, and yet people still don’t think they’re healthy enough. And that is all down to perception and what is known as the ‘inherently bad health stats of soft drinks.’
Also Read: Is Yogurt Acidic or Alkaline – Nutrition Effect
Here’s the takeaway: yes, regular soft drinks or sodas contain a lot of sugar, and therefore are not quite healthy. No sugar or zero versions, on the other hand, do not contain sugar, and if that is your benchmark for being healthy, well then, these drinks are then healthy. There are a lot of other problems with sodas, but for the sake of not being pedantic, lets just focus on the sugar here. And it is this very sugar that makes sodas unhealthy.
So, What About Those Diet Sodas?
Down to business. Yes, if we come to sugar, diet sodas are better than your regular soft drinks and sodas. And considering that people only focus on the sugar part, this part could actually be right, that diet sodas are healthy, at least healthier than their non-dietary counterparts. So, about those diet sodas, they are healthy; but only when you put them in comparison with the sugary drinks.
Change the playing field just a little bit and stack up diet sodas against coffee, tea, iced tea or even things like Tang or Kool-Aid, and suddenly you now have diet sodas that are looking bad. Because coffee, tea and some versions of these dehydrated powdered drinks have very low sugar, and if you are habituated of drinking either of these drinks without any sugar at all, well, you’re the reason sales of the diet stuff don’t go up.
Again, the perception element comes in, and because people have kind of associated the names Coke and Pepsi with big sugar, adding a zero before it and extensively marketing it as low sugar wont do any difference.
The Bone of Contention: Sugar in Sodas
11 grams for every 100ml of a soda drink. That’s how much sugar is in a singular and regular serving of any drink around (non-zero). Be it Fanta, which tastes exceedingly sweet, or Sierra Mist, which doesn’t, and yet, the sugar content stays the same.
And that is not the good kind of sugar either; since its been dissolved into a liquid, it will go straight into the bloodstream and be accumulated as untapped reserve of glycogen, which will essentially accelerate the process of there being too much sugar in the blood. Literally the cause of diseases like diabetes mellitus and other complications. Plus, you have to factor in the reality. No one out there who drinks this stuff down only 100mls of this.
We have the small size, which exceeds 350ml, and our regular starts somewhere around the 500ml mark. Do the math yourself and now you know why sodas have become the problem; you down sugar like you were Scarface and this was an 80’s rager. Only instead of feeling elated and having the energy to do anything, you are now fat and bloated. And don’t even think about mentioning the US large, because it clocks in at well above a litre, and that equates to more than 100 grams of sugar going directly into your bloodstream.
Why is all this sugar in there? Because regular soda water and flavouring won’t go down any easy, we might as well consider this an acquired taste. Secondly, sugar simply makes things taste better. Need proof? Donuts, candies, chocolates, pies. These are some of the items that are sugary and are thus a part of our life, simply because they taste good. Ever wonder why dessert after dinner became a thing? Exactly.
Could Natural Sweeteners Be The Better Option?
Well, lets look at it this way. Many consider sugar to be a natural sweetener in itself, considering it is essentially the by-product of sugarcane. But facts will be facts; popular sodas and drinks use manufactured sugar to give their drinks the taste people have grown accustomed to. Natural sweeteners include honey, coconut sugar, unrefined sugar, maple syrup, molasses and nectar of certain plants and flowers.
Now, we can’t expect a modern corporation like Coke or Pepsi to start messing around with these ingredients, and they themselves have industry standards that disallow the use of some of these items, which means that for the time being, we will have to make do with sodas that are full of sugar, and well, to be frank, it tastes kind of good. Maybe it’s the other way around and we all need to hit the jogging track or gym.
Yes, natural sweeteners are the better option, but you will not find them in a can of coke or a bottle of that good Baja Blast. You could maybe try and integrate natural sweeteners in drinks and beverages like coffee and tea, because then you can actually do so and get these in a drink. For a packaged product, there will always be product restrictions and more and more artificial things are being introduced in the whole manufacturing process.
Are Some Sodas Good For You?
The only ‘some’ sodas that we ought to include in this list of ‘sodas that are healthy’ are the diet versions of Coke, Pepsi, Sprite or whatever is your favourite. Since they are still considered sodas, those low-sugar or no-sugar-at-all are your best choice at getting a healthy soda. But since this point has already been belaboured a lot, lets look at some regular sodas that might be healthy considering their weight in sugar might be less than some of the other offerings on the market.
Prior to 2013, you might think of Sierra Mist as just another Sprite wannabe with new clothes on and the same sugar stuff, but now, the Mist seems to be in tune with the health-conscious times. Because in 2014, the formulae for Sierra Mist changed, and the regular old sugar was substituted for sweeteners; more specifically, stevia and sucrose, which, as we are told, are far more better than just processed sugar in there and are less likely to get you fat. So, here’s the first in a healthier soda.
A question asked on Google had a reply that scared away many fitness freaks and made the people in the process of slimming down a lot more apprehensive; per serving, the Fido-Dido branded drink will run you 140 calories and 38mgs of sugar, which is a lot, considering a single serving will not do your thirst any good. Double the serving, double the sugar, and bring on the diabetes.
The third clear soda on this list, Sprite benefits from its positioning and market branding as a sporty drink to market it to athletes, who are essentially people most looking out for their waist. But here’s the kicker: for 100 ml of Sprite, you get 9 grams of sugar, which is high but still low enough than many of its direct competitors. This is because Sprite relies more on the fizz and the lemon and lime flavouring; and less on the sugar stuff. As you might have noticed, it isn’t as sweet as Coke or Pepsi or Fanta, and a big part of the reason is this.
Seagram’s Ginger Ale:
Despite root beers and ginger ales being positioned as somewhat healthier alternatives to soda and pop drinks, Seagram’s Ginger Ale seems to stand out from the crowd, because with this ginger ale, you get 34 grams of sugar per serving, which is basically Pepsi and Coca-Cola territory in terms of sugar. So much for being the ‘healthier and with less sugar than any other drink out in the market’.
What Are The Least Healthy Sodas Out There?
A quick search will reveal the worst offender for getting you fat and, surprise, surprise, its Fanta. One of the most sweetest drinks out there. More specifically, the flavour in question is the grape-flavoured Fanta. With 180 calories per serving, it is described as containing so much sugar that ‘liquefy an entire bag of Skittles and you will still need to add another 6g to match up to how much there is in a single serving of Fanta grape.
The Classic Coke isn’t too much of an offender, mind you, but the amount is still astronomical. Per each 100ml of the good old stuff, you get 10.5 grams of sugar. Which isn’t much, at first, before you realise that the least serving a person drinks in the real world is over 300ml, which amounts to more than 30 grams of sugar. And for reference, 35 grams of sugar is equal to about 7 teaspoons of sugar. Let us see you try and gulp down seven teaspoons of that crystal white stuff. Bet you can’t.
Nearly 40 grams per 350ml; that’s how much sugar is in Pepsi. Again, for reference, we have 10 tablespoons now or 18 packets of sugar. And that’s not Coke paying us to show that Pepsi has more sugar, that’s just plain, basic facts and figures. Drink responsibly.
Sodas are notorious for their sugar content, and with good reason. With a 10:1 ratio of drink to sugar, these sodas and drinks are some of the world’s most sugary products. In the olden days, we wrongfully targeted fats and lipids for getting us fat; now we do know that the more significant role is played by sugar in fattening you up.
List of Commonly Asked Questions and Answers on a Website About Topics “What Is The Healthiest Soda”
Q1. What is The Best Soda to Drink?
The best soda to drink would be a diet one, because it will have less sugar and would become less of a reason that you fatten up.
Q2. Is There Any Soda That is Healthy?
Basically, all healthy sodas are the ones which have less sugar in them, and those are the ones with ‘diet’ or ‘zero’ in their names and dark packaging.
Q3. What Soda is Lowest in Sugar?
The lowest number of sugar in any regular soda drink would be 7Up, with 37 grams of sugar per 350ml.