By Carrie Havranek
We all know that soda is not a health drink. Loaded with sugar, with virtually no vitamins, minerals, or fiber, it’s the definition of empty calories. Here’s the thing, though: Diet soda is also not a health drink. Although it’s devoid of calories, it’s associated with weight gain, insulin resistance, and diabetes. At the very least, it can confuse your taste buds, leaving you reaching for foods that are higher in fat and sugar.
But there’s good news for soda and diet soda enthusiasts alike. Today’s canned beverage aisle is bursting with healthy soda alternatives that are both delicious and good for you. We’ve done the hard work of drinking our way through a slew of fizzy beverages, from energy drinks to sparkling teas to soda-tea hybrids and more. We found three we can really get behind.
1. The Best Alternative to Diet Soda: Olipop
What if you could kick your diet soda habit for good — and get some good-for-your-gut benefits in while you’re at it? Enter Olipop, a delicious new drink that combines prebiotics, plant fiber, and botanicals to create better-for-you sodas in classic flavors like cola, cherry vanilla, root beer, and orange squeeze. With just 2 to 5 grams of sugar per can and 9 grams of fiber, this is cutting-edge nutrition in a can.
Buy It: 6-Flavor Variety, Pack of 6, $24
2. The Best Soda-Kombucha Hybrid: Health-Ade Pop
You might know Health-Ade for its seemingly endless array of organic kombucha flavors. Their latest innovation, Pop, is kombucha meets soda — and it’s delicious. Lemon-Lime and Ginger Fizz are clear bids to appeal to lovers of lemon-lime sodas and ginger ale; Pom-Berry, is the sweetest of the three, but it’s also pleasantly tart. Made with organic ingredients and cold-pressed juices, all deliver a fizzier, slightly-sweeter version of kombucha that you can still feel good about.
Buy It: Health-Ade Pop Classic Variety Pack, 12-Pack Case, $30
3. The Best Sophisticated Soda: Sparkling Botanicals
Rishi makes some beautiful organic teas, so it’s no surprise that their line of Sparkling Botanicals is the most sophisticated healthy soda alternative we tasted. And, with absolutely no sugar added and organic, ethically sourced herbs, these all-natural drinks are about as pure as you can get. Flavors include Black Lemon; Dandelion Ginger; Grapefruit Quince; Turmeric Saffron; Patagonia Maqui; and Schisandra Berry. Turmeric Saffron, which is somehow earthy and spicy, tastes like nothing you’ve likely had in a sparkling beverage before.
Buy It: Turmeric Saffron Sparkling Botanicals, Pack of 12, $40