Over the course of the last century or more, many Americans have developed the habit of picking up a soda whenever they decide they’re thirsty. While that reliance on sugary soda seems to be waning somewhat in recent years, a lot more people – especially the health-conscious of us – should be looking for alternatives to soda to quench their thirst.
Soda Has Become a Habit, and Not a Healthy One
There seems to be a scientific consensus that drinking soda is bad for a person’s overall health. According to a recent medical study, soda has been linked to a much higher risk of stroke, colorectal cancer and heart disease, as well as an overall higher risk of death from all causes.
Drinking soda is also linked to higher levels of morbid obesity, according to a number of medical studies. Despite all the potential health risks, and studies showing that sodas have pretty much no nutritional value, people still drink them frequently, without thought to what they may be doing to their bodies.
Looking to Break the Cycle
There are some signs these days that the soda craze seems to be on the wane, to a limited degree. According to a 2013-2014 survey, more than 60 percent of children and 50 percent of adults reported drinking at least one soda daily, which seems high, but it’s down from 80 percent and 62 percent in a similar survey taken in 2003-2004.
More and more soda drinkers seem to be aware that all that sugar intake is bad for the body. A recent study in a journal about diabetes found that just eliminating one soda per day with coffee, tea or water could cut the risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes by as much as 25 percent.
Who’s Hurt Most by Drinking Soda?
Recent studies have shown that heavy soda drinkers also have other bad habits, many of which actually exacerbate the negative effects of sodas on the body and overall health. That is probably why an increasing number of soda drinkers are looking to reform.
There are a lot of choices available to replace soda in a person’s diet. Plenty of refreshing beverages exist to serve as a replacement for your soda habit. That said, however, it’s important to consider the ingredients in your soda replacement, to see if you are actually gaining health benefits.
It starts with sugar. Substituting drinks that are low in sugar, like unsweetened iced tea or iced coffee =can simultaneously cut your sugar intake while increasing your intake of antioxidants. Some scientists have suggested that low-fat milk is another option, by replacing sugar with valuable nutrients like calcium, as well as vitamins and minerals.
Healthy Alternatives to Soda
Here are some other drinks that can favorably serve as soda alternatives:
These days, flavpred waters seem to be everywhere. The one thing to pay attention to, however, is whether they contain artificial flavorings, sugar or chemical sweeteners. A healthier choice to those would be to flavor the water yourself, naturally.
You can add slices of your favorite fruits, like oranges, lemons, limes, or watermelon, or you can add freshly picked mint, or your favorite vegetable, like cucumber.
Another possibility might be to add chopped fruit to your ice cube tray, and freeze them. You can add these ice cubes to water and add a lot of color and flavor without increasing your sugar or sweet chemical intake.
Hot or Iced Green Tea
There has been a lot of research regarding the health benefits of green tea these days. That research has suggested that green tea could be important in reducing he risk of obesity, as well as Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, and a number of cancers.
Green tea naturally has no calories, as long as you don’t add milk or sugar, and it is very high in antioxidants. Drink it hot or cold, and if you think it needs a little something, a little honey supposedly makes it amazing.
The healthiest possible substitute for soda is plain, old water. However, a number of experts have suggested that the switch from soda to plain water is a very difficult switch to make. One way to make the switch easier to take is to switch to seltzer.
This way, they get the hydration they get with plain water, while also getting the tingle they like from the carbonation. And since no chemicals or sugars are added, they get the benefit of water without any of the negative health effects of the sugars and artificial sweeteners.
Many ex-soda drinkers have taken to adding fruit juice to the seltzer to make “jeltzer.” It’s certainly cheaper than either sodas or those so-called waters jam-packed with vitamins (and calories), and when you add your favorite flavor juice to the seltzer, the result can be quite satisfying.