You know soda’s bad for your teeth—all that sugar, the acidity, the caffeine. You’ve steered your kids to avoid it or to have it only as a special treat. So, you’ve done your job, right? Wrong! Many replacements for soda are just as bad as soda itself. Between the sugar content and the high acidity, you’ll be surprised you were ever grabbing these things at the supermarket. Which soda replacements you should pick up and which should you avoid?
Avoid: Sports Drinks
At first glance, sports drinks might seem like a good replacement for soda, but this is one alternative you should skip. Sports drinks frequently feature high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and salt as their ingredients. The sugar content in these “healthy” drinks is virtually no different than that of conventional sodas—a can of Coca-Cola has 39 grams of sugar, while Gatorade has 34 grams. Not looking so healthy, now are they?
Grab: Seltzer Water
Seltzer water is just carbonated water, so if you love those bubbly drinks, reach for this instead of soda. Some seltzer waters come flavored with fruit juices, like lemon, lime, or even pomegranate and tangerine. Although there is some fruit flavoring in these, the content is much healthier than soda—zero grams of sugar. Seltzer water is a healthy alternative to soda, so grab!
Juices tend to be marketed as healthier than soda, but the truth is that they compete in the sugar world just like sports drinks! Fruits are healthy, fruit juice is not—with none of the fiber to help your body digest it, the sugar in these drinks ends up spiking your blood sugar. Avoid these as much as you can, or mix with seltzer water to cut down on consumption.
Kombucha is a type of fermented tea that’s loaded with healthy enzymes, probiotics, and comes in great flavors with just a little fruit puree added. With supermarkets carrying many different types of kombucha these days, you should grab this healthy beverage. It’s carbonated just like soda, and your kids likely won’t miss the sugar. Give it a try!
Avoid: Energy Drinks
Energy drinks have loads of sugar and caffeine. Not only are these drinks unhealthy, they can be dangerous as they speed up heart rate. These drinks tend to be popular with teens, but you’ll want to pass these by at the store. They’re not worth the “energy” they deliver, and the sugar and acidity of these drinks is terrible for your teeth.
You’ll need to read the labels when grabbing bottled tea at your supermarket, as many of them sneak sugar in there. Buy some unsweetened tea and let your kids flavor with lemon or raspberries at home. Or, introduce your family to flavored hot teas, which can be beneficial and healthful for your body and mind. Strawberry green tea, for instance, tastes fantastic and is shown to increase concentration and memory. Who wouldn’t want that in the afternoon?
These days, you have many options when it comes to choosing alternatives for soda. Forgo the sports drinks, energy drinks, and juice in favor of seltzer water, kombucha, and tea. These positive changes can ensure healthy teeth for you and your family, not to mention healthy bodies!