WHAT CAN I DRINK IN PLACE OF JUICE AND SODA?

If you’re trying to kick a soda or juice habit, quitting cold turkey may prove to be difficult. Nutrition Expert Kim Denkhaus shares these lighter, refreshing options you can opt for instead!

Hydration is an important component to good health. Often, we confuse thirst for hunger, so consuming enough water throughout the day can aid in weight management. The human body is made up of about 60% water, so drinking enough water every day is important to help your body function at its best!

Many are aware that drinking soda and other sugary beverages is not beneficial for good health. Sodas contain artificial sweeteners, cane sugar, or high fructose corn syrup providing calories but no nutrients. Some believe that drinking diet soda is a healthier alternative; however, diet soda contains artificial sweeteners.  

Although it serves as a low-calorie option, recent studies in mice have linked them to increased cravings for sweets and overeating.

It is important to keep in mind that just because something is “calorie free,” doesn’t mean it is “free” from causing adverse effects on your health. Current research appears to clearly support the idea that drinking soda does not aid in weight loss, but rather weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region. Additionally studies suggests that diet soda consumption may increase risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  

American Heart Association recommends limiting intake of added sugar to no more than 150 calories for men and 100 calories for women. One tablespoon of sugar contains approximately 48 calories and 12 grams of sugar, and one teaspoon contains approximately 16 calories and 4 grams of sugar. Cutting out soda can be difficult for some, so slowly decreasing your consumption over a period of a few weeks may work better than trying to go cold turkey.  

While smoothies and juice may seem like a healthy alternative, they can still be loaded with calories and sugar.

It’s easy to over do it when drinking smoothies and juice, and you may end up devouring more servings of fruits and vegetables than your body needs by easily gulping down 200 to 300 calories in just one serving. In particular, pressed juices contain very little fiber, which can leave us feeling unsatisfied and can lead to spikes in blood sugar. Green juices comprised of mostly vegetables may be a nice low calorie option, but be aware that vegetables contain naturally occurring sugar as well.

Make drinking water fun with these 3 healthy alternatives to soda!

1. FRUIT-INFUSED

Fruit-infused water is a great way to spice up regular drinking water. Try adding fresh or frozen fruit like lemons, limes, berries, or herbs like mint, basil, or rosemary. Want to get even more creative? Try making fruit infused ice cubes!  Simply freeze your favorite fruit with water in an ice cube tray and you’ll have a fun fruit flavored treat readily available to cool your beverage and boost flavor.

2. SPARKLE & FIZZ

Look for plain or flavored sparkling water. Flavored with a fruity essence, sparkling water is a nice option for those looking for a carbonated fizzy feel similar to soda.

Health tip: check the label and pay attention to the listed ingredients. Try to avoid carbonated drinks with added-sugar or artificial sweeteners.

3. TEA TIME

Drinking tea is a great alternative to soda.  A daily ritual of teatime is a good way to get in a little more water and stay hydrated throughout the day. If you’re sensitive to caffeine you may want to stick with herbal tea.

Herbal Teas pack medicinal benefits that are calming and healing. Peppermint, chamomile, lavender, and ginger are popular herbal tea flavors. Try making a pot of herbal tea and leave it in your refrigerator for a soothing pick me up.   

Watch out for added sugars in bottled teas! Many companies are trying to take advantage of the tea trend, and adding sugar to their tea blends, which significantly increase the caloric intake, quickly making tea another sugary choice.

Happy sipping!

Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: LUKAS BLAZEK

Kim Denkhaus, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist in private practice in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. She has been in the health and wellness industry for over 8 years, and is passionate about helping individuals reconnect with food in a sustainable, healthier way that will help them appreciate where their food comes from and empower them to use use whole foods to fuel and nourish their bodies.

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