Blog Nutrition Healthy Eating Top 10 Healthy Alternatives to Sodas With Many Flavor and Ingredient Varieties

Top 10 Healthy Alternatives to Sodas With Many Flavor and Ingredient Varieties

Healthy alternatives to sodas are the saviors of hot summer days and quench thirst like nothing else. The sweet, fizzy pleasure of drinking an ice-cold soda on a hot day is unmatched, but you may wonder if there are healthier replacements. Fortunately, you can replace sodas with something better. 

Healthy alternatives to sodas could help you embrace a healthier and longer life while even possibly losing some weight. Regular excessive soda drinking is an epidemic in America(40). That said, let’s show you the best replacements for sodas.

What Is the Healthiest Drink Besides Water?

Some healthy alternatives to sodas include more than water, such as:

  • Club soda (6)
  • Herbal teas (10, 11
  • Sparkling mocktails (26)
  • Kombucha (29)
  • Coconut water (32)
  • Fruit-infused water (36, 27)

Still, let’s get into why soda isn’t good to drink all the time and how to replace it with top alternatives.

Why Are Sodas Unhealthy?

Choosing the healthiest alternatives to sodas requires you to understand why they’re unhealthy. A massive cohort study between ten European countries attempted to determine the connection between mortality and drinking too much soda (4).

Unfortunately, the study of over half a million Europeans confirmed that sugar and artificially sweetened sodas were associated with all-cause mortality. On that note, how does soda impact specific health-related conditions?

One systematic review by the University of Minnesota confirmed an association between regular and artificially sweetened sodas and obesity (37). Additionally, Bangor University reviewed three studies to confirm the association between sweet cravings and sodas (38). 

The review found that healthy individuals who began drinking more soda experienced a taste perception change, which made them desire more sugary foods. Even artificial sweeteners might influence the taste buds, causing you to eat more sugar because you don’t taste the sweetness.

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Drinking too much soda might lead to weight gain and cravings for more sweetened foods because you become insensitive to sweet tastes. 

Additionally, another longitudinal study found that diet soda intake was associated with increased belly fat and waist circumference (24). Furthermore, two smaller studies in New York and Mexico found an association between sodas and diabetes (23, 34). 

Finally, a meta-analysis from Nova Southeastern University found an association between all sugar-sweetened beverages and heart disease (39). The sugar in sodas and sweetened beverages are the main issue, however artificial sweeteners might also be problematic.

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What Is the Healthiest Soda to Drink?

A healthy alternative to sodas begins with a homemade recipe, not diet sodas or regular beverages. Also, the healthiest sodas don’t need to include any beverages you carbonate at home. You can make the beverage from scratch, with healthier ingredients. 

Let’s see what’s inside commercial beverages that you may want to carbonate or think are healthier. The USDA shows a 12 fl. oz. serving of regular soda without caffeine has 151 calories and 39 g of carbs, all of which are from sugars (8). 

Another popular and regular 12 fl. oz. soda contains 95.5 calories and 24.7 g of carbs, of which 23.1 g are from sugars (7). On the other hand, a bottle of diet soda appears to contain no calories, carbs or sugars (22). 

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However, there are fears that the artificial sweetener in diet soda may change how your brain works and how you perceive regular sugar, making you crave more sweet beverages or treats (3, 38). 

That said, what about carbonating store-bought fruit juice? 

The USDA shows 142 calories and 24.6 g of sugar in an 8.45 fl. oz. orange juice box (9). Finally, a single tablespoon of orange cordial contains 29 calories and 6 g of sugar (17). 

No commercial sodas or sugar sweetened beverages feels right to be called “healthy”. 

Instead, the healthiest soda alternatives are raw ingredients at home. Let’s show you some of the best healthy alternatives to soda. 

healthy alternatives to soda  

The Top Healthy Alternatives to Soda

Let’s discover the best healthy alternatives to soda, to help you drink beverages that won’t potentially put you at risk for health issues or weight gain.

What Is the Healthiest Fizzy Drink?

Plain, unsweetened sparkling water is arguably the healthiest fizzy drink, with zero calories or sugar (18). It’s also known as carbonated water. Water is 99.9% water with no sugar or calories (12). Additionally, club soda also has zero calories or sugar for a similar fizzy choice (6). 

Also, you could make sugar-free mocktails with sparkling water. Try a fruity-flavored mocktail by adding sugar-free cherry, lemon, elderflower, or mango syrup to club soda or sparkling water for under 10 calories and no carbs per serving (26). You can also use a bit of the fresh or frozen fruit to flavor your sparkling water instead of the syrup. 

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What Can I Drink If I Don’t Drink Sodas?

Try some healthy alternatives to sodas with caffeine if you don’t enjoy fizzy sodas. Sometimes, you may seek caffeine and not sugar. After all, a 12 fl. oz. fast-food cola contains around 20 mg of caffeine (7). Also, diet cola contains 45.6 g of caffeine (21). 

Instead, some caffeine-rich beverages without too many sugars and calories include green tea and unsweetened coffee (21). A cup of regular green tea has 2.45 calories and no sugar (10). Meanwhile, a cup of unsweetened, black coffee has 2 calories and zero sugar (19). 

Opt for low-fat or 1% milk if you want creamer in your coffee. The USDA shows that 20 g of low-fat or 1% milk with added vitamins A and D contains 8.6 calories and 1 g of carbs (30). 

Finally, a 5 fl oz. red wine serving is okay for wine drinkers, with 125 calories and 3.84 g of carbs, less than 1 g being sugar (2). 

Stick to one 5 fl oz. serving or daily for women and two for men (33). Also, a 1 fl oz. shot of 86-proof whiskey has 69.5 calories and under 1 g of carbs (1). Men can have two 1.5 fl oz. servings daily and women one serving daily (33).

Read more: 10 Reasons Why Ice Cream Is Bad for You: Discover the Truth and Healthy Alternatives

Cheap Alternatives to Sodas

The cheapest alternatives to sodas would be from making cordials at home, using sparkling or plain water. Plain, unsweetened sparkling water has zero calories and no sugar, just like regular water (18). It would be better to carbonate the water at home, to avoid possible additives.

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For example, sparkling water from a store may contain other ingredients to increase calories and carbs (28). 

Alternatively, try a soda recipe with fewer calories and carbs. Make mint citrus water, containing only 10 calories and 4 g of carbs per glass (31). The recipe adds sliced lemon, limes, cucumber, and mint for a tasty and refreshing addition to water or sparkling water.  

healthy alternatives to soda

Soda Alternatives for Weight Loss

Choose low-calorie ingredients or soda replacements, perhaps with probiotics, to promote weight loss. A Spanish systematic review showed how probiotics may aid weight loss for obese people (25). Drinking low-calorie, low-carb, probiotic beverages may help you lose weight with a healthy diet. 

An 8 oz. glass of kombucha tea has 30 calories, 7 g of carbs, and only 4 g of sugar (29). The calories and carbs are low enough in moderation. In addition, kombucha is a fermented probiotic tea with healthy antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids (20).

Coconut water is another option for weight loss if you want something different. A cup of coconut water (not milk) contains 45.6 calories and 8.9 g of carbs with 6.26 g of natural sugar (32). Otherwise, you could try hibiscus tea with no calories or carbs in a glass (11). 

Finally, try some healthy fresh juice blends at home, which you can add to water, sparkling water, or club soda. Strawberry mint ranch water only has 78 calories and 3.7 g of carbs for the occasional treat (36). 

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Try ginger lime sparkling water with 19 calories and 5 g of carbs per glass (27). Otherwise, an unusual blend of rosemary, basil, and mint will give you 17 calories and 4 g of carbs (5). Also, try rose petals with chia seeds for 39 calories and 3 g of carbs per glass (35).  

Top 10 Healthy Drinks to Replace Sodas Summarized

Here’s a summary of the top 10 healthiest alternatives to sodas, with the fewest calories and carbs per glass:

  1. Regular water (12)
  2. Sparkling water or club soda (18, 6
  3. Green or hibiscus tea (10, 11
  4. Unsweetened black coffee or unsweetened coffee with low-fat creamer (19, 30)
  5. Sparkling mocktails with mango, elderflower, lemon, or cherry (26)
  6. Sparkling homemade cola tonic, ginger beer, or fruit juice (18, 13, 16, 15)
  7. Kombucha (29)
  8. Coconut water (32)
  9. Fruit-infused water with strawberry and mint, ginger and lime, basil, rosemary, and mint, or rose and chia seeds (36, 27, 5)
  10. Red wine or 86-proof whiskey in moderation (2, 1)

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For more drinkable pleasures:

healthy alternatives to soda  


  • What Tastes Like Sodas But Is Healthy?

Flavored sparkling water tastes like a heat-bashing soda on a hot day. Meanwhile, a 12 fl. oz. glass of raspberry-flavored sparkling water contains zero calories or carbohydrates (14). 

  • Is Healthy Soda Possible?

Yes, choose the right soda so you are drinking healthier options. For example, a 12 fl. oz. can of club soda contains zero carbs or calories (6). Try ginger beer cordial with 7 calories and 2 g of carbs per tablespoon (16).   

  • Is Coke Zero the Healthiest Soda?

Diet cola may contain no carbs or sugars (22). However, there is a fear that the artificial sweeteners in diet cola may change how your tastebuds and brain perceive sweetness, causing you to ultimately want more sugar (3, 38).

  • What Can I Replace Coca-Cola With?

A healthy alternative to Diet Coke might be a tablespoon of cola tonic in a glass of sparkling water. One tablespoon of cola tonic contains 4 calories and 1 g of carbs, whereas sparkling water contains zero calories or carbs (13, 18). Go for two tablespoons if it’s too weak. 

The Bottom Line

Our top healthy alternatives to sodas give you plenty of choices, whether you wish to cut down on sugar, lose weight, or simply lead a healthier lifestyle. Choose your tonic, fresh juice, caffeine fix, or raw fruit blends, and make a tasty but healthy alternative today. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Alcoholic Beverage, Distilled, Whiskey, 86-Proof (2019,
  2. Alcoholic Beverage, Wine, Table, Red (2019,
  3. Altered Processing of Sweet Taste in the Brain of Diet Soda Drinkers (2012,
  4. Association Between Soft Drink Consumption and Mortality in 10 European Countries (2019,
  5. Basil, Rosemary, and Mint Drink for Weight Loss Recipe (2023,
  6. Beverages, Carbonated, Club Soda (2019,
  7. Beverages, Carbonated, Cola, Fast-Food Cola (2019,
  8. Beverages, Carbonated, Cola, Without Caffeine (2019,
  9. Beverages, Orange Juice Drink (2019,
  10. Beverages, Tea, Green, Brewed, Regular (2019,
  11. Beverages, Tea, Hibiscus, Brewed (2019,
  12. Beverages, Water, Tap, Well (2019,
  13. Calories in Cordial Kola Tonic 750 ml by Rose’s and Nutrition Facts (n.d.,
  14. Calories in Flavored Sparkling Water, Raspberry From Nice! (n.d.,
  15. Calories in Fruit Cordial by Juicee and Nutrition Facts (n.d.,
  16. Calories in Ginger Beer Flavored Cordial by Bickford’s and Nutrition Facts (n.d.,
  17. Calories in Orange Cordial by Shweppes and Nutrition Facts (n.d.,
  18. Carbonated Water, Unsweetened (2020,
  19. Carbs in Coffee Black No Sugar (n.d.,
  20. Chemical Profile and Antioxidant Activity of the Kombucha Beverage Derived from White, Green, Black, and Red Tea (2020,
  21. Coffee, Tea, Soft Drinks – Caffeine Content (n.d.,
  22. Diet Coke Bottle, 12 fl oz (2020,
  23. Diet Soda and Sugar-Sweetened Soda Consumption in Relation to Incident Diabetes in the Northern Manhattan Study (2018,
  24. Diet Soda Intake is Associated With Long-Term Increases in Waist Circumference in a Bi-Ethnic Cohort of Older Adults: The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (2015,
  25. Effects of Probiotics and Synbiotics on Weight Loss in Subjects with Overweight or Obesity: A Systematic Review (2021,
  26. Fruity Flavored Sparkling Water – Skinny Mixes (n.d.,
  27. Ginger Lime Sparkling Water (n.d.,
  28. [Historical Record]: Ice Sparkling Water (2019,
  29. Kombucha: Is it Good for You? (2022,
  30. Milk, Low-Fat, Fluid, 1% Milkfat, With Added Vitamin A and Vitamin D (2019,
  31. Mint Citrus Water Recipe (2023,
  32. Nuts, Coconut Water (Liquid From Coconuts) (2019,
  33. Red Wine and Resveratrol: Good for Your Heart? (2023,
  34. Regular Consumption of Soft Drinks is Associated With Type 2 Diabetes Incidence in Mexican Adults: Findings From a Prospective Cohort Study (2020,
  35. Rose and Chia Seed Detox Treatment for Weight Loss Recipe (2024,
  36. Strawberry Mint Ranch Water Recipe (n.d.,
  37. Sugar and Artificially Sweetened Beverages Linked to Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2017,
  38. Taste Perception and Implicit Attitude Toward Sweet Related to Body Mass Index and Soft Drink Supplementation (2011,
  39. The Impacts of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB) on Cardiovascular Health (2022,
  40. Trends in Beverage Consumption Among Children and Adults, 2003-2014 (2017,