Keep the flavor and ditch the carbonation

 
By Mina Radman • Published: September 17th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Pop the can, take a sip and savor the flavor. Soda has become an impenetrable part of our society, and some people can’t think of anything as refreshing as a cold glass of Pepsi on a hot day. Even though we constantly hear about all of soda’s negative side effects, it’s hard for people to kick the can-a-day habit.

What’s so bad about soda? Filled with empty calories, soda fails to satisfy hunger and causes you to consume more total calories at meals, which can lead to weight gain. Soda is also filled with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, which causes a spike in blood sugar and insulin. This leads to insulin resistance and inflammation. This can increase your risk for stroke, heart disease and cancer.

If you’re ready to ditch the soda habit, there are plenty of low-sugar, low-calorie alternatives that taste just as good.

Spruce up your water with a slice of lemon, lime, frozen strawberries or oranges for a flavorful, natural drink. You can also put chopped-up fruit into an ice tray, add water and freeze for ice cubes that will add flavor and color to your beverage.

If you crave the carbonation of soda, mix seltzer with 100 percent juice for a flavorful, bubbly drink. Cranberry juice can protect against urinary tract infections and kidney stones and offers a great tart flavor to mix with seltzer. Mix one part juice to three parts seltzer for a semisweet treat.

Some people find it difficult to ditch soda because they are addicted to the caffeine. If that’s the case, you can get your caffeine fix from a cup of hot or iced coffee, which is low in calories and contains natural antioxidants. Skip the fancy syrups, cream and whole milk to keep coffee healthy and refreshing.

It’s tough to kick a soda addiction, but these flavorful, healthier alternatives may help.