High fructose corn syrup and other added sugars have received significant attention lately, and many people have dutifully switched to water.
However, a recent report published by the CDC suggests that not everyone is successful—30 percent of Americans are drinking at least one beverage sweetened with added sugar every day, and only 26 percent of Americans are avoiding sweetened beverages entirely. Whether you’ve already sworn off soda or are looking to switch up your beverage lineup, here are some fun and tasty soda swaps sure to satisfy without any added sugar.
Matcha madness: If you like the idea of a nutritious green drink but don’t have time to brew your beverage, consider keeping matcha green tea powder on hand. Because matcha is made from high-quality tea, and the whole leaves are ingested, it’s a more potent source of nutrients than steeped green tea -- one serving of matcha has the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea. Traditionally matcha is blended with hot water, but you can also serve it over ice or mix with sparkling water for a bright and fizzy treat.
Bubbles to go: For a sparkling juice on-the-go, try a canned option like IZZE Sparkling Apple. A mix of 70 percent pure fruit juice and sparkling water, the drink has no added sugars, no caffeine, and is an easy option to keep around the office or grab on your way out the door. Keep your eyes open for brands that are using the 8-ounce can for instant portion control.
DIY drink: For an easy—and economical—soda alternative, make your own fruit fizz at home. Mix an antioxidant-rich pure fruit juice, like pomegranate juice, with some sparkling water. POM Wonderful 100 % pomegranate juice has no added sugars, offers pomegranate antioxidants and is a good source of potassium, a mineral important for heart health. If you’re a big fan of club soda, consider investing in an at-home carbonation system to cut down on packaging and long-term costs.
Cold brew tonic: Cold-brewed coffee has been popular at trendy brunches for some time. Like the name suggests, no heat is involved in the process and grounds are steeped in water for hours—sometimes overnight. To make a cold brew tonic, mix cold brew coffee with sparkling water, and ice. If you need your buzz on the go, stores are starting to sell ready-to-drink carbonated cold brew beverages, or pick up a concentrate to mix with some soda or tonic water. Look for products that have 10 grams of sugar or less per serving (as a comparison, one 12-ounce can of soda has 33 grams of sugar).
Buggy beverage: You may have heard that certain bacteria and yeasts – called probiotics – are good for your health, especially your digestive system. Now the fermentation front has made its way to the soda aisle with Obi probiotic soda. Made with kefir (a fermented drink) and orange juice, Obi soda has no added sugars or artificial sweeteners and comes in flavors like Meyer Lemon & Lime and Organic Root Beer. Each 12-ounce bottle contains 10-20 calories and 2-5 grams of sugar from organic fruit and agave. It also contains stevia, a natural sugar substitute.
Festive flavors: If you’re not a fan of mineral water, but you enjoy a little flavor with your fizz, check out LaCroix sparkling water. Available in glass bottles, regular and slim cans, the zero calorie line is constantly coming out with new flavors that do not use any sugar or artificial ingredients. Unique options like coconut and apricot will add some fun variety and make it easy to say no to the standard soda fare.
Relationship disclosure: Patricia Bannan has worked with The Wonderful Company, maker of 100% POM Wonderful pomegranate juice.
Patricia Bannan is a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian specializing in nutrition and health communications. She is the author of "Eat Right When Time Is Tight: 150 Slim-Down Strategies and No-Cook Food Fixes." Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.