I used to drink a TON of soda a day, and I will be the first to tell you that such behavior is in NO way healthy. I went on a quest about a year ago to find some awesome alternatives to soda that were low in sugar but gave the same feeling of satisfaction that soda gave me. I never really found one. I wanted to switch to tea, but sugar-sweetened tea or sugar-sweetened coffee, juice, or kool-aid, was no better than soda pop.
I have since switched to diet soda and soda-zero, but I still think that I should lower my intake, even of those. While there is no evidence to date that drinking aspertame-sweetened soda in large quantities will harm you even close to the point of drinking only ONE regular sugar-laden soft drink a day, it is best to lower one’s intake of just about everything consumed in excess.
I have tried to find alternatives, but to be honest, many of these sites who try to show alternatives are prudish “natural is king” “down with synthetic chemicals!!!!” types of sites, and a lot of their recommendations really isn’t all that good. They reccomend everything from Spritzers and Sports Drinks, to Stevia and Soymilk. Tea, wine, protein shakes, coconut water. Ignoring that many of these substitutes are still high in nutritionally deficient, fiber-free, added sugars.
Let’s not forget that vanilla and chocolate soymilk (let’s face it, nobody is going to switch from soda to unsweetened soymilk) have added sugars and Calories that rival that of a regular soda. Many people don’t even know what the hell Kombucha is, not even myself, probably because I am not rich enough to shop at Whole Foods.
For me, I tried many things, to no avail. The closest I got was to add Splenda to a combination of soda water mixed with fruit like watermelon, or peaches. But I am a lazy person, and I would rather not prepare all of my drinks before I drink them. I like drinks to be already done. Which is also the reason I don’t drink more coffee or tea, because I like them both cold, and waiting for the fridge to cool them to the point of blissful consumption is one thing I dislike doing.
Also, ignore the bashing of Artificial Sweeteners you see online, or the overabundance of praise that Natural Sweetener Stevia gets. Stevia, to me, tastes like dirt. But if you like it, fine. But also realize that it is also OK to like Splenda or Aspertame as well, as neither are known to cause any adverse effects to human health.
For me, the solution to that has been Sparkling Water. You can buy them in a multitude of flavors, and they taste wonderful when chilled! It is also calorie-free, and made with very few ingredients, if you are skirmish about additives. That is probably the best REAL alternative to soda that you are going to find. Herbal teas and coffee, etc, are great and all, but they are not the same as the sweet bubbly taste of a soda.
It is, however, best to reduce consumption of sugary beverages and add a large variety of drinks to your diet.