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Soft drink being poured from bottle into glass filled with ice

Dietitians Dish: Soft Drink Substitutes

Whether you call it soda or pop (we’re not picking sides), soft drinks have a way of sneaking into your diet. But when this quick sugar fix becomes a habit, the calories add up fast.

We talked to OhioHealth dietitians to see if the struggle with soft drinks is real for them, and if not, which healthy soft drink alternatives they recommend instead.

“My favorite soda substitutions are carbonated water and unsweetened, flavored teas. If you’re looking for a healthy way to get your sugar fix, you could try a diet soda or just consider drinking soda as a dessert.”

– Jenalee Richner, RD, LDN

Carbonated waters come in so many different flavors these days, even classic soda flavors like root beer, orange and grape. They really help a craving.”

– Brittany Smith, DRD

“I don’t really drink soda, but if I have a craving, I drink the real thing.”

– Ashya Walden, RD

“A regular can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. That’s more than we put in most drinks we make at home, like tea and lemonade, so those can be good substitutes. You can also try putting a splash of fruit juice into water or sparkling water for sweetness, and experiment with herbal teas and zero-calorie flavored water.”

­– Emily Monfiletto, RD, LD, CCMS

“We always keep the sparkling water in our refrigerator. There are a lot of zero-calorie flavors to choose from.” ­

–­ Susannah Schneider, RD


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