(WellnessPursuits.com) – Delightfully fizzy, irresistibly sweet and oh-so refreshing, soda has long been an obsession for Americans, who consume more soda than anyone else in the world. On average, we consume 165 liters per capita (or person) each year, a habit that has majorly contributed to our expanding waistbands. While no soda is healthy, some are far worse than others. Let’s take a look at some of the least healthy sodas on the market.
5 Worst Regular Sodas
- Fanta Grape – This soda contains 180 calories and a whopping 48 grams of sugar, but that’s not all. Fanta’s grape-flavored soda also contains Red 40, which has been found to be contaminated with carcinogens.
- Stewart’s Black Cherry Wishniak – With 43 grams of sugar, 44 grams of carbs and 180 calories, Stewart’s fountain classic possesses controversial caramel coloring made with sugar and ammonia. Caramel coloring is known to increase cancer risk in some individuals.
- Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry – Although it has more sugar than Stewart’s, coming in at 45 grams, Dr. Brown’s does not contain caramel coloring. It does, however, contain Red 40.
- A&W Cream Soda – A&W Cream Soda has fewer calories than those mentioned above (170 calories), but it contains 46 grams of carbs and 45 grams of sugar. It also contains loads of artificial colors and flavors, as well as caramel coloring.
- Mug Cream Soda – This cream soda has more calories, sugar and carbs than A&W, coming in at 180, 47 grams and 47 grams, respectively. However, it does not contain as many artificial colors and flavors.
How do your favorites rank? Mountain Dew ranks #7. Surge ranks #11. Barq’s Root Beer comes in at #14. Pepsi ranks #23. Classic Coke ranks #27. The least unhealthy regular soda award goes to Coca-Cola Life, which contains 90 calories and 24 grams of sugar.
5 Worst Diet Sodas
Diet sodas have less sugar and fewer calories, but don’t let it fool you. These sodas are far from healthy. Many contain vast amounts of sodium and dangerous artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, which have been linked to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Diet Mountain Dew – This popular diet drink only has 10 calories, 1 gram of sugar and 1 gram of carbs, but it contains 85 milligrams of sodium, as well as sucralose, aspartame and bromine, a patented flame retardant for plastics.
- TaB – Coming in at 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar, TaB contains saccharin, which has been linked to bladder cancer and weight gain.
- Fresca Original Citrus – In addition to containing dangerous artificial sweeteners, this 0-calorie drink also has wood resin in it. The resin helps blend the fruit-flavored oils.
- Pepsi True – While it does contain calories, about 100 of them, Pepsi True is considered a diet drink because it contains artificial sweeteners. However, it still contains some natural sugars, including 27 grams of sugar and Stevia Leaf extract.
- RC Ten – RC Ten only contains 10 calories and 3 grams of sugar, which may sound good — until you consider that a few of the dangerous ingredients include aspartame, sucralose and caramel coloring.
How about the rest? Coming in at #10 is 7up Ten. Pepsi Zero comes in at #11. Barq’s Diet Root Beer ranks #16. Diet Dr. Pepper comes in at #21. Diet Coke ranks #26. Diet Pepsi is in the #28 position. The least unhealthy diet soda is Bai5 Bubbles Bolivia Black Cherry.
Alternatives to Unhealthy Sodas
If you’re trying to kick an unhealthy soda habit, you may have more success if you try to substitute soda with satisfying, flavorful drinks rather than just plain water. For example, you can add fruit flavors to water or infuse fruit juice with seltzer. Flavored seltzers are also a great alternative. If you’re looking for a caffeine fix, coffee and tea are great options, as long as you don’t sugar them up too much or go over your personal caffeine limits.
There’s no doubt about it — you can make great strides toward better health by changing your soda habits. Instead of gulping soda as your main beverage, sip it every now and then as a decadent treat. Reducing your soda intake can have a powerful impact on your health, as well as the numbers that appear on the scale.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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