In light of the New York ban and ensuing bruhaha, we must admit: there is no such thing as a completely healthy soda. But there are much healthier alternatives than those BPA-laden cans full of phosphate fizzies pumped full of high fructose corn syrup and caramel coloring.
The ingredients in regular sodas such as Coke and Pepsi cause diabetes and have even been linked to kidney disease, heart attacks, strokes, and, gulp, accelerated aging. Who wants that?
Here's a list of sodas made from natural ingredients, some even certified organic, that you can enjoy the next time you feel a craving for some pungent pop.
For people who really crave that cola flavor, Oogave offers an agave-sweetened alternative. The company also makes sodas in strawberry-rhubarb and mandarin-key lime flavors (for those who prefer lemon-lime sodas like Sprite and 7-Up) and all Oogave sodas are certified organic. Oogave's beverages are all less than 100 calories per bottle and contain half the sugar of regular sodas. Plus, they're vegan, gluten-free, and certified organic by the Department of Agriculture.
Ingredients in Oogave Cola: Purified, carbonated water, organic agave nectar, citric acid, natural flavors, caramel for color.
4. Steaz Green Tea
Maybe you're more into fizz than flavor and are willing to branch out from cola and lemon-lime, or maybe you favorite soda is Orange Crush. Steaz Green Tea is a no calorie soda alternative sweetened with stevia and erythritol, a natural sugar alcohol, that comes in raspberry, black cherry, blueberry pomegranate, and yes, orange. Bonuses: It's got caffeine and B12 to increase energy levels, enhance your mood, and help you focus.
Ingredients in Steaz's Orange flavored pop: Sparkling Filtered Water, Organic Erythritol (Natural Sweetener), Beta Carotene (Vitamin A), Organic Flavor (Brewed Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Ceylon Green Tea, Water, Organic Flavor), Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Rebiana (Stevia Extract, Natural Sweetener), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCl), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
3. Reed's Light Extra Ginger Brew & Virgil's Root Beer
A true ginger ale is not an evil soda, but most companies put out a sugar-saturated facsimile that contains barely or no actual ginger. Not Reed's though. The company's products contain more ginger than any other brand and are sweetened with honey and stevia. How sweet is that? Reed's Light Ginger Brew contains only 55 calories per bottle and the company's got you covered if you're a root beer aficionado with its Virgil's Root Beer. The root beer is microbrewed with herbs and spices, including American molasses, Spanish anise, balsam oil from Peru, and vanilla from Madagascar. At a 160 calories a pop though, make the root beer an occasional treat and stick to the ginger ale.
2. Hot Lips
Okay, okay. This brand may have earned the number two spot due to its name, but it did also win us over with its mantra, "Made to worship the magnificent fruits and berries of the Pacific Northwest," and the fact that the availability of flavors depends on the season. Think apple and pear soda in the fall and berry-flavored sodas in spring and summer. The recipe is simple: pick fruit, cook fruit, add water, add natural sugar, bottle, and carbonate. The company even leaves most of the fibrous pulp in the mix. Hot Lips also forgoes ascorbic and citric acids as preservatives and uses organic lemon juice instead. We like them apples a lot.
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You know you must be doing something right if Coca-Cola makes an offer to take over your company. That's what happened to Bionade, our number one choice. Bionade, German-owned and extremely popular all over Europe, turned down the Big C (Coke, not cancer) and continues producing its own naturally fermented beverages. Made from malt and water, like many beers, Bionade is certified organic, and contains only 14 grams of sugar and 60 calories. Don't expect cola and lime flavored pops though, Bionade is much too urbane for that nonsense. Try flavors like elderberry or lychee instead.
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