Diet Coke. Diet Coke. Diet Coke. I drink a lot of Diet Coke. It wasn't until I was collecting cans for a design project at work that I realized how short of a time it took for the cans to really pile up. When you actually keep around physical evidence and your apartment starts looking like a truck of diet coke cans crashed into your living room, it can be quite alarming how much you've been consuming.
I'm sure we've all heard about how soda and diet soda is harmful. I know I have. But sometimes it's hard to really accept that something that has become so much of a habit in your life and is so refreshing straight out of the vending machine is so bad for you and needs to be cut out. It's like you live in a state of denial.
Without going into any major scientific details (I'm no nutritionist or doctor :) ) the long and short of it is that even diet soda, while we think it's the 'better' option in the soda world, is just as unhealthy as it's regular, non-diet counterpart. From articles I've read about the subject (on sites like Health.com or from Prevention Magazine,) the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas are pulling a fast one over on us. We hear the word 'diet' and think, "Way to go self, making a 'diet-friendly' choice." But really, the sweeteners are tricking our bodies because they are triggering insulin and turning our bodies into 'fat storage mode.' Essentially the ingredients in diet sodas are putting us at risk of diabetes, stroke, heart attacks, tooth errosion and other not fun health probs.
If you want to know more details, here are some postings about the negative effects of diet sodas...
In my quest to kick the can, I decided to check out what other types of beverages are out there and do a little taste test. I bought about 16 different beverage options and tried them all to see what I liked about each and what I didn't. Some are healthier than others and each have different pros and cons to them as far as their nutritional information, such as their calorie counts and whether or not they have any artificial sweeteners. My comparison is more about taste than anything.
WHITE GRAPE SPARKLING WATER / I thought this was pretty tasty. Maybe a little too sweet but I did like the grape flavor. I actually think this would make a great mixer next time I want a cocktail.
SELTZER WATER / I liked this but the first couple drinks of this are a little intense. Talk about carbonation! The first few sips actually made my mouth hurt for a sec. But after the carbonation toned down a little as I drank it, it was more tolerable.
SPARKLING ICE - GRAPEFRUIT / I really liked this. I thought it had the right amount of carbonation and I totally loved the flavor. I think because grapefruit is a little on the tart side that helps it not seem as sweet as some of the other flavored beverages.
SPARKLING ICE - LEMONADE / Okay, I think I got a dud bottle on this one. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be carbonated but mine was flat as a pancake. So really it just tasted like a more chemical version of lemonade.
S. PELLEGRINO / I really like this when it's really cold, straight from the fridge. Even without any flavor to it I think I could definitely make the swap from soda to this. And it would probably be really good with a splash of fresh grapefruit juice if you did want to add a little flavor. I would avoid the flavored versions of S. Pellegrino that they sell because they are very high in sugar. But a little splash of natrual fruit juice like a lemon would be great. What I like about this as opposed to the Seltzer Water I tried is that it's carbonated but not such an intense carbonation where it's hard to drink.
VITA ICE - CUCUMBER LIME / This had a very strong flavor and was a little too sweet for me.
OCEAN SPRAY - SPARKLING CRANBERRY / This also had the right amount of 'sparkle' to it. And while sometimes I think cranberry juices are too tart, I think the tartness worked with the carbonation.
KARMA KOMBUCHA - PINEAPPLE PASSION / I really wanted to like this :( I've heard so much about the benefits of kombucha beverages. They have antioxidants and probiotics that are very helpful in balancing your body and helping with digestion, liver function and immunity. However, no matter how many different brands / flavors I try, I never am totally a fan. I think part of it is that I do not like the smell. Most smell a little on the rancid side to me and it always turns me off. I do like how they are naturally effervescent so it has a little 'carbonated-ness' to it.
PURE LEAF TEA - UNSWEETENED / I was actually surprised that I liked this. I have never been a tea drinker, hot or cold. Often times I feel like tea is a little like watered down flavored dishwater but this actually hit the spot. Part of what I think helped win me over was the milder taste, which was quite nice after trying some other drinks that were way too sweet.
FIJI WATER / We all know this is the best choice health wise! No doubt about it.
SOBE LIFE WATER - FUJI APPLE PEAR / Pretty sweet. I defintely got more of the pear flavor than apple. I don't think I would necessarily ever have the urge to buy it again but I didn't hate it.
VITA COCO - COCONUT WATER WITH PINEAPPLE / This was another one that suprised me, like the tea. I really liked this. In the past I've tried other coconut waters and thought, when it was plain flavored, tasted a little like coconut flavored dirt. But I didn't feel that way with this one. I think the pineapple flavor helped. It was a little like a watered down piña colada, which I liked. I'm acually really glad I liked this one because I have heard a lot of great things about coconut water being really hydrating and having a lot of electrolytes and having other great health benefits.
NAKED - GREEN MACHINE / This is delicious. If you've never had any of these types of drinks before they are a little thicker than the water type drinks but most of the flavors are pretty good and they are jam packed with natural ingredients. It's actually amazing how good they taste when you look at the combination of ingredients that are in each flavor. For example, I would never have thought that a drink that had alfalfa, spinach, kale, parsley and garlic in it (along with other sweeter things) would taste good. But it does.
NAKED - PINEAPPLE MANGO with COCONUT WATER / I definitely liked the Green Machine better but this was also fairly good. Both of these would be great morning drinks. They would not pair well with a dinner in my opinion.
BOLTHOUSE FARMS - GREEN GODDESS / As I would hvae guessed, this was very similar to the Green Machine but a little bit tangier. It was decent but I would probably choose the Naked one over this brand.
ALO - ENLIVEN - REAL ALOE VERA PULP & JUICE / This was my least favorite! The flavor itself is fine, but what is with the creepy jelly particles floating around? Gross. I assume it's the aloe vera pulp. Whatever it is, I'm NOT a fan.
Alrighty, so there's my round up of drinks I tried.
When it comes to satisfying my Diet Coke cravings I think the beverages that would satisfy it the most would be the S. PELLEGRINO and SELTZER WATER. Purely for the carbonation. I think the carbonation of Diet Coke (or any soda for that matter) is what I am most addicted to. Out of all the drinks I tried the only ones I really have an interest in trying to drink more of and use to swap out with my Diet Coke would be the carbonated options.
But of course we all know drinking more water, water, water is the first and foremost route to take :)
Anybody have any other tasty soda alternatives or tips on how they reduced their soda intake? If so, comment below!