Originally, all soda beverages were sweetened with natural sugar. Today the number of sugar sweetened drinks is dramatically lower due to the development of other types of sweeteners. However, some drinks like Jones Soda, still use natural sugar as apposed to the chemical stuff. This makes their product taste great and is much more natural than other substances. However, sugar is sugar and we all know that too much sugar can be bad for you. For example, one can of Jones Soda contains almost 200 calories. Even though this may be natural, it is still a lot of calories.
This type of beverage is by far the most common. Coke, Pepsi, Mtn. Dew, Sprite and tons of others are all sweetened with a chemical known as High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). This is a chemically altered substance created by corn farmers at a time when their business was low. HFCS is sweet, cheap and is more preservable than sugar. However, because it is so chemically altered, it is also much worse for you than beverages sweetened with sugar. HFCS soda contains 10 times more harmful carbonyl compounds which are blamed for causing diabetic complications. Also, studies show that HFCS can actually block the receptors in your brain that tell you when you are full. So you keep guzzling the sodas even after you should have stopped a while ago. This results in consuming loads of excess calories.
Aspartame is the artificial sweetener that is found in most “diet” drinks. It is also a chemically altered compound that was intended to provide sweetening without those pesky calories. However, there have been some troubling findings on this substance as of late. Some studies have shown that aspartame is directly linked with brain tumors, cancer and other forms of disastrous health consequences. Of course, there are also studies that report no such link. However the shady past of this sweetener, and the unpleasant taste that I never grew to like, are enough for me to pass on most diet drinks.
While not nearly as suspicious as aspartame, Splenda is also a chemically altered substance. It is used in new diet drinks like Pepsi One and is rapidly gaining momentum as the next generation of artificial sweetener. However, like aspartame, Splenda is not without it’s side effects. Ultimately, we don’t quite know that much about Splenda right now. Since the jury is still out, I’ll be passing on Splenda until there is a verdict.
I’m sure there are several types of drinks that fall under this category of “natural sodas”, but my favorite is called Izze. It is somewhat hard to find but is worth it if you can. The drink is make from carbonated water and fruit juice. No artificial sugar, no caffeine, just juice. Plus, drinking one bottle of Izze is equal to one serving of fruit. This is definitely a soda that I have no trouble recommending.