Healthy Alternatives to Drinking Soda
So you are concerned about your health. You take vitamins daily, you exercise regularly, and you follow a balanced diet. All the hoopla and then you wash down dinner with a can of soda. What is wrong with this picture?
Soft drinks are everywhere. Most of us have been raised with soda available at local grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores, sporting events, live shows, and bars. Soda vending machines have found their way into schools, places of business, and almost every street corner. Soft drink companies place their logos on billboards, T-shirts, commercials, movies, and even sponsor major sporting events. Whether we like it or not, soda is part of our world and society. Because it does not have immediate effects on the human body, people inadvertently use these sugary beverages as a means of hydrating their bodies. What they are really doing is pumping their bodies full of chemicals, sugar, and caffeine.
We were made to drink H20
Before mankind even knew what chemistry was, our Homo genus species was simply another form of life living on planet earth. Like many species on earth, humans require an adequate supply of water for hydration. So how did water get replaced with a bubbly science experiment that society fell in love with? Somewhere in the evolution of man, humans went from drinking water, to drinking milk, to drinking soda.
Water accounts for approximately 60% of an adult person's body weight. Depending how much a person weighs determines how much water they should consume per day. A person weighing 165 lbs. should consume approximately 82.5 ounces of water per day. Other factors will require people to consume more water like fever/sweating, heavy exercise, being in a warm climate, dehydration/vomiting, drinking caffeinated beverages, and pregnancy/breast feeding.
So what exactly is soda?
So what is so bad about drinking soda? Drinking fluids was meant to hydrate our bodies and keep our cells healthy. Now, many people exchange this daily water consumption for the drinking of a chemical cola concoction. Not only does this rob the person of their daily water intake, it loads the drinking participant full of empty calories, sugar, caffeine, artificial colors, artificial flavors, Phosphoric Acid, preservatives, and more. In average, there are approximately 70 different chemicals in soda, many of which are not listed on the label.
Diet sodas are not any better. Although they do not have the high sugar content, they are replaced with an artificial sweetener called Aspartame (also called Equal). Along with Aspartame come all the other chemicals that are listed above and found in regular sodas.
Why do we drink soda and what can I do about it?
A lot of people drink soda simply out of custom. Many have drank soda since their youth and may not have taken the time to stop and think about what type of adverse effects it could be having on their body in the long term. Drinking soda is a way of life they never thought about separating from.
Some people are simply addicted to the caffeine in soda. Like coffee, the caffeine found in soft drinks have kept people hooked on beverage company's sugary beverages for a lifetime. As the beverage companies fatten their pockets, humans are becoming more unhealthy.
If you are a soda drinker, remember that soda is water mixed with a whole lot of chemicals. It is unwanted calories and a whole lot of sugar (or Aspartame in diet soda, another chemical) that gets immediately stored as fat and used for stored energy. If you are an avid soda drinker, of three or more soft drinks/day, chances are you could loose 10-15 lbs. by just cutting the soda out of your diet alone.
The only real benefit of soda is water. Humans are the only species, on planet earth, intelligent enough to chemically enhance water to the level in which is currently represented. Our bodies were meant to drink water. Do you really need the extra 70 chemicals, added calories, and high sugar?
So you know that drinking soda is bad but you do not like the taste of plain water. Here are some safe alternatives that also have taste.
When Thirst Hits, Toss the Pop and Grab One of These
The following list of beverages is recommendations that I found on Everyday Health's website. These are great alternatives if you want to replace the chemicals without skipping the flavor.
Water with spunk
This is simple and very easy. By simply taking a glass of cold tap water, adding some ice cubes and your favorite fruit to it will add flavor and added nutrients. You can also add sparkling water to get an added bubbly taste. Ahhhh!
"Go Green" with Green Tea
There are so many health benefits associated with green tea. Not only is green tea calorie-free, it has a good taste and is said to reduce the risk of several cancers, kidney stones, heart disease, hypertension, and possibly even cavities. Green Tea is also a natural antioxidant and can be drunk cold or hot. Giddy up in a cup!
Juice + Seltzer = YUMMY
There are many of options when it comes to choosing a juice. Pomegranate, Grape, or Cranberry are all great choices when it comes to mixing a fruit juice with seltzer. It is best to get 100% juice and not something heavy with additives. Mixed juices are also not a good idea because they do not tend to mix well with seltzer. This drink adds a health value and is cheaper than buying soda. Mix one part juice and three parts seltzer for this bubbly concoction.
Sweet Stevia Anyone?
Stevia is a sweet herb with no carbs or calories. Stevia is only available in the US in powder form. It was once banned in the United States because of a lack of research on this holistic and organic sweetener. Now, professionals have documented research showing that Stevia may be beneficial in managing obesity and glucose intolerance. Stevia is growing in popularity and can be a great alternative to drinking soda. SCORE!!
Tonic and Lime....minus the Gin
Gin and Tonics have been a popular drink for generations. This drink wouldn't be popular, for as long as it has been, if this was simply a mediocre drink. So why not just mix the tonic with a splash of lime? This drink will have you thinking it's the real thing only without the calories and hangover that a regular gin and tonic can give. Yeah buddy!
Everything is fine with Red Wine
In moderation, red wine is actually healthy for the human body. It is said that wine reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and Alzheimer's Disease. Not only does this aged fruit benefit a persons health, it taste great and is nice to drink with dinner or at the end of the day. There are organic versions, available on the market today, that eliminate sulfates from the wine. Sulfates can cause headaches and allergic reactions.
Don't forget the vegetables
With a lack of vegetables consumed in most people's regular diets, what a great way to drink your vegetables and also eliminate soda. Vegetables have no calories but provide essential vitamins and minerals in the human body that is necessary for growth and proper nourishment. Not only is there tomato juice but carrot juice is also preferred by many. Add some tabasco sauce to fire it up some. Smokin!
Moo..ve Over Milk - It's time for Soy
This is a good one for anyone that is lactose intolerant or who does not consume dairy. Soy milk is also available in flavors like vanilla and almond for an added boost of flavor. Soy is a great source of protein and may reduce a persons risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. If you are drinking soy milk as an alternative for real milk, look for the soy milk that is fortified with vitamin D and calcium.
Gotta Respect the Tea Infuser
Loose tea provides taste with low calories and no preservatives. Simply place your favorite loose tea in the pictured infuser and add water. The tea leaves, when mixed with the water, will dissipate the tea's flavor through the mesh chambers and add a unique and healthy refreshing drink.
When thinking about healthy alternatives to soda, one cannot forget about coffee. There are so many flavors available on the market and coffee is almost just as prevalent as soda is. Although coffee has some health benefits like lowering a person's risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers, one should not intoxicate themselves with coffee to replace their addiction to soda. Soda has caffeine and should be taken in moderation because it is a diuretic and can also leave people jittery and anxious. Coffee, without cream or sugar has little calories.