The single largest source of calories in the American diet is carbonated beverages, with a total of 7% of our calories coming from carbonated drinks. The number goes up to 9% when you include other sugary beverages. For teenagers the number is 13%.
Thirty years ago, our greatest concern for people drinking too much soda was probably for their teeth. Now we have reason to believe the sugar in these drinks is enough to harm your mental well being, your gut bacteria, increase inflammation, damage your DNA, alongside a slew of other negative effects.
Now the recommended amount of added sugar in your diet is 25g grams per day, for a full grown adult. You'll run through that in one soda, or a sugary coffee. Or any candy bar.
But water is boring! Right?
I guzzle cold water and love every minute of it, but I can see what you're saying. Luckily though, we live in the age of a thousand choices. If you're looking for a new habit that doesn't wreak as much havoc on your body, Team NeuroGum has put together a list of options to help you ditch soda without getting too bored.
The benefits of tea are plentiful, and it's the reason we include one of its active ingredients in NeuroGum. Among them include antioxidants which help your body remove free radicals, which damage your DNA and make you age.
It also has zero calories if you can manage to leave it unsweetened, and comes with a nice caffeine kick. If you're mostly a soda drinker for the caffeine, tea or iced tea are great options to still get a boost of energy while losing the sugar.
Kombucha has gotten progressively more popular over the years for its probiotic benefits. It's easy to find in stores and comes in a variety of flavors, though I have to warn you to steer clear of anything with much added sugar, as sugars kill off the very bacteria you're attempting to help nourish.
Probiotics ease digestion by helping to grow the types of gut bacteria that aid your body in breaking down and utilizing the food you intake. Many kinds of kombucha also offer antioxidants that help protect your cells from the aging process.
Coconut water, unsweetened of course, is the source of electrolytes I'd recommend over Gatorade or Powerade any day of the week.
I mention this to everyone who doesn't get much plant matter in their diet, and can't mention it enough: potassium can be very difficult to get enough of in your diet, and it's super important for your body.
Coconut water has plenty of potassium, and as such, is a great way to stay hydrated, and rehydrate.
I am an addict. Carbonated water is like water, but with bubbles and some natural flavorings. Zero calories and available in a variety of flavors for super cheap, carbonated water offers all the benefits of water.
You need water. Like a lot of water. And because this replacement offers the fun fizziness of soda, it works great as an option for those who really just like cold carbonated beverages.
Let's be honest. Some of you are getting those sugars in the form of beer, not just soda. I was a huge daily beer fan for a long time, until I started becoming more aware of the types of carbohydrates and sugars I put into my body.
If you really don't want to ditch having a drink at the end of the day, or a few times a week, make the switch to red wine.
Red wine can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. It's good for your cholesterol. According to TIME, it has also been shown to help reduce the risk of diabetes and improve sleep quality.
Those are some of the healthiest soda alternatives we enjoy around the office at Team NeuroGum, sound off in the comments below if you have options of your own to share!