Giving up artificially sweetened drinks may be one of the most beneficial changes on the path to a healthier you. You’re probably grumbling: “Another thing I have to give up?” Or: “I thought I WAS making the healthier choice in opting for sugar-free drinks?” “Ugh!”
We understand. But mounting evidence of the dangers and negative side effects of artificial sweeteners can’t be ignored — particularly aspartame.
Claims have been made that aspartame is a culprit in ailments from headaches and dizziness, to digestive issues, mood swings and even much more serious diseases, including Alzheimer’s and some types of cancer.
Giving up artificial sweeteners is easy in theory, but it’s tougher if you don’t have a plan and alternatives. Here are five easy swaps you can make for your diet soda.
1) Sparkling water: This option allows you to keep the fizz while nixing added sweeteners and colors. Adding flavor is as easy as a squeeze of lemon, lime, or fresh grapefruit.
2) Green or herbal teas: Green tea provides myriad health benefits, and there are plenty of options when it comes to decaffeinated and flavored varieties of teas.
3) Water: Water can be jazzed up in a number of healthy ways — add some fruit, mint, rosemary, cucumber, or even red peppers to give it some pep. Check out this article on how to supercharge your water and boost its anti-inflammatory benefits here.
4.) Zevia: Zevia is a calorie-free soda is sweetened with Stevia. And there’s some good news on this front: Zevia recently removed caramel color — a potential carcinogen in regular sodas — from its product. Now Zevia cola is clear.
5) Coconut water: It’s not calorie free, but it’s good and refreshing. It also comes in a variety of flavors, just make sure the brand you choose isn’t sneaking in any artificially sweetened ingredients to add flavor. Another plus? Coconut water comes in box form, rather than from a plastic bottle — a plus since we’re all aiming to reduce our carbon footprint.