Soft Drinks: Help for Soda Lovers (cont.)

4. Stock Up on Alternatives. Keep plenty of tasty non-soda drinks on hand to make giving up soda as convenient as possible.

What Are Some Soda Alternatives?

Here is a list of non-soda beverage possibilities to consider. You'll notice the drinks that contain calories also contribute important nutrients like calcium or vitamin C.

  1. Give Soy Milk a Chance. If you'd like to work in a serving of soy a day, give soy milk a try. Lots of brands and flavors are available. If calories are an issue, try one of the lower-calorie options.
  2. Don't Skimp on Skim Milk. Skim milk is a great way to boost your intake of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients. One cup of skim milk has only around 85 calories. The Beverage Guidance Panel recommends up to two servings a day of nonfat or 1% milk and fortified soy beverages.
  3. Pimp Your Water. To an avid soda drinker, water can seem a little unexciting. One of the best ways around that is to add noncaloric flavors to your water. A sprig of mint or a slice of lemon or lemon will do wonders. If you like subtler flavors, try a slice or two of cucumber or a frozen strawberry.
  4. Make Green or Black Tea Your New Drink Habit. Popkin says tea is a healthy alternative to water for people who prefer flavored beverages. Tea is calorie free and contains powerful phytochemicals like the antioxidant in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Great-tasting green and black teas abound in supermarkets and specialty stores. If you're cutting back on caffeine, look for caffeine-free teas.
  5. Think Outside the Juice Box. Although 100% fruit or vegetable juice contains important nutrients, the Beverage Guidance Panel recommends having no more than one serving a day because they can also contain plenty of calories (about 100 in 1 cup of fresh orange or carrot juice). One way to cut those calories is by making a homemade juice spritzer: Combine one or two parts seltzer, mineral water, or club soda with one part 100% fruit juice (try fresh orange juice). Or try the new vegetable juice flavors in your supermarket, as well as fruit and vegetable juice blends. While they're not super low in calories, each serving contains a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetable.
  6. Discover the Coffee Cure. For java lovers, coffee can be a calorie-free, flavorful alternative to soda. And you can easily find lower-caffeine coffees in coffee shops and supermarkets. But to keep coffee low-calorie, be sure to keep it simple -- skip the syrups, whipped cream, and whole milk.
  7. Make Good Old H2O Convenient. The Beverage Guidance Panel recommends at least 4 servings a day of water for women and at least 6 servings for men. When you need to quench thirst or hydrate your body, nothing does it better than water. If cold, refreshing water was more convenient, and if we were reminded to drink it during our day, a lot more people would reach this daily goal. So keep water bottles ready to go in your refrigerator, and every time you leave the house, take a bottle with you. If chilled water is sitting in your car or on your desk at work, you'll be more likely to get into the water-drinking habit.

Published November 19, 2007.


SOURCES: Center for Science in the Public Interest web site: "Food Additives." Paul Rozin, PhD, professor of psychology, University of Pennsylvania. Barry Popkin, PhD, director, UNC Interdisciplinary Obesity Program, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Michael Jacobson, PhD, executive director, Center for Science in the Public Interest; author, 6 Arguments for a Greener Diet. Tracey Halliday, director of communications, American Beverage Association. Popkin B.M. et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006; vol 83: pp 529-42. Nielsen, S.J., et al., American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2004; vol 27: pp 205-210. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Publication No. D291, September 2005: "Herbs At a Glance-Cranberry." WebMD Medical News: "Soft Drinks Up Calorie Counts."

©2007 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.



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