Make Your Own Soda

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Photo By PoolieI was having lunch with a good friend last week – an avid runner that eats a nutritious diet based primarily on fresh veg and lean protein.

As the waitress approached, she nervously shuffled her menu and suddenly blurted out, “I have a soda addiction!” I couldn’t help but giggle at her guilty confession, her “dark” sugary secret.

Goodness knows I’ve struggled with soda and sugar addiction myself, so I totally understand how hard it can be to kick it. But beyond the feelings we might attach to soda or sugar habits, let’s take a closer took at the pros and cons of soda.

Some Pretty Big Cons

First off, there’s the equivalent of 14 teaspoons of sugar in a 20-ounce bottle of non-diet soda in the form of high fructose corn syrup – and zero nutrition. That’s a ton of sugar with no other benefits such as vitamins, minerals, or fiber.

Drinking soda daily can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and kidney stones, not to mention setting you up for unwanted weight gain. If you’re sipping soda, chances are you’re not drinking beverages that can really benefit your body like water, unsweetened teas, low fat milk, or even black coffee.

Thinking of getting your fix with the diet drink? Think again. Artificial sweeteners may increase sugar cravings and lead to poorer food choices elsewhere. New studies and health experts say that people who drink one or more diet sodas daily had an increased risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

A Few Valid Pros

Sweet things taste good, and grape soda used to be at the top of my list along with sugary colas and cherry flavored “pop” as we call it in Pittsburgh. Do you love the distinct “crack” of the pull back tab as you open a can of soda, the anticipation of that icy cold sugar blast?

There is no question that soda lovers love the taste, and the sugar rush, but what about the sugar crash after? Well you can avoid both simply by slowly limiting the amount you drink each day or week. You’ll be surprised to see how your craving for sugar will adjust as well as your taste buds. When I taste a soda now, it tastes like a cloying blast that upsets my stomach instead of pleasing my taste buds.

How to Kick the Can

How To Kick SodaSomeone who is really attached to their bubbly will balk at the thought of giving it up, but here’s a beverage that can help you ween yourself off. It has the same fizz without the foul of all that sugar, artificial colorings and sweeteners.

Just take two teaspoons of your favorite 100% juice concentrate and mix with sodium-free seltzer. You can pick your flavor as long as you go for juice concentrate that is made with 100 real fruit, and has no added sugar.

Grape Soda

2 teaspoons concord grape juice concentrate
3/4 cups plain sodium free seltzer water
(21 calories)

Orange

2 teaspoons orange juice concentrate
3/4 cups plain sodium free seltzer water
(18 calories)

Cranberry

2 teaspoons cranberry juice concentrate
3/4 cups plain sodium free seltzer water
(14 calories)

Cherry

2 teaspoons cherry juice concentrate
3/4 cups plain sodium free seltzer water
(18 calories)

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