Eat Smart · Get Well

The Guinea Pig: I try, you buy

by Amanda Waltz, blogger

Soda is connected with so many of the good moments in life. When you’re a kid, it’s your first Happy Meal, birthday parties and going to the movies. When you’re an adult, it’s in the mixed drinks you get during your first night at a bar. That’s probably why we drink so much of it. It’s an old pal, a chum, a buddy who makes the sweet things even sweeter.

The average American drinks around 50 gallons of soda per year, more than coffee, tea and other beverages combined. Besides the obvious weight gain that can come from drinking that amount, soda also contains unhealthy ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, artificial colors/flavors and preservatives. And don’t think that diet sodas are better for you – they have been linked to an increased risk of stroke and diabetes, and are thought to exacerbate asthma symptoms.

No matter how you view it, drinking soda all the time is not good for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t have it in moderation. But how can one indulge in a little fizzy goodness without also taking in harmful chemicals? For your drinking pleasure, I reviewed a brand of all-natural soda made with natural ingredients. Click ahead to read my reviews!

Zevia, Cola, $5-7 for a 6-pack

Made with stevia, an all-natural no-calorie sweetener, Zevia is a safe diet drink. That’s right —no sugar, no calories, and all without making your asthma go haywire. The brand comes in a variety of flavors, but I thought I’d go with the standard dark cola. So I sat myself down with a cold can, a few slices of pizza and a movie.

The cola definitely has a nice flavor with a clean finish. I often put Truvia, another stevia product, in my coffee and find that it tastes a little fake, more like Sweet and Low than real sugar, so I was half expecting this to taste the same. But if it came down to a blind taste test, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this and Coke. I think I actually prefer it, as I find Coke syrupy and Pepsi too synthetic. But if you’re a die-hard fan of either, you won’t be missing out with this— it’s cola through and through.

The only downside (or upside, when it comes to exercising moderation) is that drinking too much could possibly cause stomach upset. But honestly, if you’re sitting around throwing back can after can of soda, you got problems. Seriously, drink some water.

The Verdict: If you want to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, buy the world a Zevia, and keep it company.

Since I mentioned pizza earlier, why don’t I review that for next week? Sound good? Awesome.