You probably never thought you’d hear “soda” and “healthy” in the same sentence, unless there was “not” sandwiched between. But we’re not talking about a 12-oz Coca-Cola clocking 39 g sugar. You can drop-kick that right out of your fridge, because the latest beverage revolution is riding the coattails of healthified junk foods. Brands are prioritizing health and wellness, creating healthier sodas and sparkling beverages with less than 6 g sugar and added benefits like probiotics and adaptogens. If you’re someone who can’t cut out soda altogether from your diet, these options highlighted below are way more virtuous and dare we say even tastier.
But before we dive into those, let’s be real for a minute: Obesity and diabetes are major health concerns in the U.S., and there’s no question our diet and lifestyle play major roles in both diseases. One major contributor is excessive caloric intake in the form of added sugars found in a lot of processed foods. From 2017 to 2018, the average intake of added sugars for adults aged 20 years and older was 17 teaspoons (68 g sugar), according to the CDC. Adults should limit their added sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons (24 g sugar) each day, per the American Heart Association.
One major contributor of those added sugars in the diet are soft drinks and sugar-sweetened beverages. You shouldn’t be drinking majority of your calories anyway, so this is an easy way to dial in your nutrition.
Jordan Mazur, M.S., R.D., is the director of nutrition for the San Francisco 49ers
9 Healthier Sodas and Sparkling Beverages to Sip On
Olipop is a new-age fizzy tonic that boasts prebiotics, plant fiber, and botanicals that not only taste great but also help your digestive health. The best part is its lineup of flavors only contain between 2 to 5 g sugar and 45 calories per can.
Poppi is a better-for-you prebiotic soda great for gut health and an extra immunity boost. Each can has real, clean ingredients and boasts fewer than 25 calories and 5 g sugar. All contain the brand’s star ingredient: pure, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. With classic and fruit flavors, and 90 percent less sugar than other sodas, Poppi can quench your thirst and then some.
3. Wave Soda
Wave is a new take on healthy soda—comprising 85 percent sparkling water, 15 percent fruit juice, and 42 mg natural caffeine. Each can has just 15 to 25 calories and 2 to 6 g sugar, depending on the flavor. They all have natural ingredients and are entirely void of added sugars and sweeteners.
4. United Sodas of America
United Sodas is a modern soda brand that tastes as good as it looks. It’s reminiscent of your favorite sparkling water due to its lightly carbonated fizz and low sugar, but comes in surprising flavors such as Blackberry Jam, Pear Elderflower, and Toasted Coconut. Each drink clocks in under 30 calories, contains no artificial ingredients, and is organically sweetened, making it the perfect alternative for health-conscious soda lovers.
5. Kin Spritz
Kin Spritz is a sparkling bev with ingredients intended to rouse your mind and invigorate energy levels. It’s crafted with fresh citrus, warm spice, hibiscus, ginger, and caffeine plus adaptogens like rhodiola rosea and nootropics like GABA, which work in tandem to get you through your morning or afternoon slump.
6. Live Sodas
Live Sodas are naturally sweetened with monk fruit and loaded with probiotics to help your waistline and gut health. Its lineup of five flavors are caffeine-free and contain zero added sugars or dyes.
7. Corsa Co.
Corsa may look retro, but it’s soda formulated for the 21st century. Botanicals sourced directly from farmers ensure high-quality flavors: Kola packs all the flavor of the West African nut plus citrus and spice. Its 5 g sugar is derived from beets. If you want lighter alternatives, opt for its floral and citrus Spritz or bitter and botanical Cays. They all have 350 mg hydrating minerals, so you get the added benefit of electrolytes.
8. Culture Pop Sodas
Culture Pop sodas are made with only organic juices, spices, and probiotics, making this soda functional, not just delicious. They have unique flavors like Orange Mango Chili & Lime, Wild Berries Basil & Lime, and Pink Grapefruit Ginger & Juniper.
This sparkling beverage helps calm the mind and lift your mood with a functional blend of magnesium, ginseng, L-theanine, lemon balm, and active B6. Made with natural ingredients and sweetened with real fruit, each can has 5g natural sugar and fewer than 20 calories. They also make a CBD-infused line if you’re looking for calm and clarity.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!