You’ve heard it before, soda can lead to obesity, but if you don’t consider yourself at-risk for diabetes or excessive weight-gain, is it still ok to drink?
Before I dive-in, I want you to know that I grew up with soda! Not every day or even every week, but it wasn’t something that was off-putting to our family. Passed down from my mom’s traditions of occasional soda consumption, there were some meals that deserved a Coke every now and then. Hers was a cold BOTTLE of Coke (with a straw) and a big bowl of seimen noodles (a local, Hawaiian favorite in the islands). Mine was with extra buttered popcorn at the movies. There was something about the combo of salt and grease that had to be washed down with fizzy bubbles.
Although I didn’t have an addiction, unlike many of today’s youth where parents have to strategically come up with kid-friendly, sugar alternatives, I was getting an extra dose of sugar (and more) that definitely didn’t contribute to a healthy, growing body.
Even if you are not overweight or suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes, you may want to avoid traditional soda altogether and dive into a healthy alternative that not only quenches your thirst, but also provides some nutritional value.
To share a few thoughts, here are my top 5 reasons why I avoid soda:
- SUGAR – An average can of soda has around 8-10 teaspoons of sugar. According to UCLA Health Policy Research, soda is the “#1 source of added sugar in the average American diet.” I’ll pass.
- LINKED TO OSTEOPOROSIS – I’m part asian, where I’m already genetically inclined to get osteoporosis. I don’t need a beverage to heighten my chances.
- CAUSES WEIGHT GAIN – As I get older, I notice it’s easier for me to gain weight. It comes with the territory of being a women, under stress, who enjoys good food. If I were to gain any weight, it will be muscle (not from the extra calories in my soda can).
- CONTAINS CAFFEINE – I’m alert and energetic without caffeine. Besides, it will counter-act with all of the amazing foods that naturally boost me up through the day.
- CAN CAUSE TOOTH DECAY – When I open my mouth (to eat or talk), people are greeted by my teeth. I pay my dentist good money, brush them every morning and every night, and am occasionally reminded of the sacrifice my mom made to afford braces as a single parent. I think I’d prefer to avoid the excess sugar and acids that will break-down my teeth.
Now, you get to choose.
If you still love sparkly bubbles and a tart burst of flavor on a hot, sunny day, try making this simple, healthy soda alternative – featuring lime, lemon, mango and mint. No added sugar, just 1 piece of fruit (mango for the natural sweet) and juice from lemon and lime for the tang.
1 mango, cubed
Zest from 1 lime
Juice from 2 limes
1 lemon, thinly sliced
5 mint leaves, ripped into small pieces
4 cups sparkling water
8-12 ice cubes
- Make a “natural” simple syrup in a blender, by combining the mango cubes, lime zest, and lime juice.
- In a large jar or beverage container, mash the mint with the mango/lime syrup, thin pieces of lemon, and sparkling water. You can use the back of a wooden spoon.
- Pour over ice cubes and serve.
(Feel free to experiment with other seasonal fruit, like strawberries or peaches).