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Soda Alternatives To Help Cut Your Cravings (That Taste Just As Good As The Real Thing)

By Dan Scalco • Updated Leave A Comment

SodaStream
  • One of the most convenient soda alternatives.
  • Using their Drops allows you to infuse your sparkling water to make soda at home.
  • They offer dozens of different flavor varieties (including low calorie and diet options).

Pop, fizz…

The satisfyingly sweet and bubbly taste of soda is uniquely delicious and refreshing.

The only problem is that the traditional soda is usually loaded with sugar, not to mention the long list of artificial flavors and other chemicals.

Growing evidence shows that regular soda consumption can have a variety of negative effects on one’s health. This includes heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and more. Unfortunately, diet soda isn’t much better.

What can you do if you enjoy the refreshingly sweet taste of soda but want to avoid all of the negative health issues? Thankfully, you’re in luck. There are many soda alternatives out there that are just as good as the real thing (if not better).

We’ve rounded up the top picks from our own tests to help you find a suitable and delicious alternative to your usual soda. They range from true soda alternatives (meaning they mimic the taste without all the sugar and chemicals) all the way to more creative and fun ways to replace your soda craving.

Soda Alternatives With Classic Flavors

If you enjoy the taste of classic soda flavors such as Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Mountain Dew, but you’d rather drink something that isn’t loaded with sugar and other potentially questionable ingredients, there are some great alternatives available. Below you’ll find some of our favorites…

Olipop

If you’re looking for a true soda alternative that tastes and even looks like the real thing, then Olipop might be for you.

What I found most interesting about Olipop when we first tested them is that their sodas are crafted with ingredients that help support digestive health. They did this by swapping out the high fructose corn syrup most regular sodas use for more natural ingredients such as cassava root, calendula flower, nopal cactus, and more.

One thing worth noting is that, while they got the taste nearly identical to the real thing, I found the fizz of their drinks to be slightly off. This is because Olipop sodas have a bit less carbonation than traditional sodas.

Though, when it comes to flavors, Olipop doesn’t skimp out. They cover all of the popular soda flavors, such as Vintage Cola and Classic Root Beer, as well as more fruity favorites like Orange Squeeze and Classic Grape.

Example Nutritional Info (Vintage Cola):

  • Sugar: 2g
  • Calories: 35
  • Net Carbs: 16g

Where To Buy:

Poppi

Poppi Sodas | Image via DrinkPoppi.com

Poppi, like Olipop, was created as a soda alternative to aid gut health. However, Poppi goes about it in a bit different way.

The key ingredient in Poppi’s sodas is apple cider vinegar (which many of us likely have tucked away in our pantry). You may be surprised to learn that apple cider vinegar has been shown to have a variety of health benefits, such as being packed with natural probiotics.

While apple cider vinegar is a strong taste on its own, Poppi’s sodas balance it pretty well through a blend of sweeter ingredients (such as organic cane sugar and fruit juice).

They feature a mix of soda flavors, many of which are similar to what Olipop offers. This includes Classic Cola, Doc Pop, and Root Beer as well as some fruity flavors, such as Grapefruit, Watermelon, and Orange.

What I like most is that they include caffeine from natural sources (for example, green tea).

Example Nutritional Info (Classic Cola):

  • Sugar: 5g
  • Calories: 25
  • Net Carbs: 7g

Where To Buy:

Zevia

Zevia Cream Soda Flavor

If you crave soda but need to really cut back on sugar, you’ll want to check out Zevia. They are a sugar-free and calorie-free soda company that uses stevia leaf extract to sweeten all of their sodas (hence the name “Zevia”).

Stevia is a unique sugar substitute in that it is 100 to 300 times more sweet than table sugar, without the carbohydrates, calories, or artificial ingredients. I should warn you though, while stevia does have a sweet taste, you may notice a bitter aftertaste.

Zevia offers a great mix of flavors that were crafted to mimic specific sodas—Mountain Zevia (their take on Mountain Dew), Dr. Zevia (their take on Dr. Pepper), Ginger Ale, Cream Soda, and the classic Cola flavor.

Beyond flavor variety, I particularly like that their soda alternatives have both caffeinated and caffeine-free versions.

Example Nutritional Info (Orange Cream):

  • Sugar: 0g
  • Calories: 0g
  • Net Carbs: 4g

Where To Buy:

Sparkling Water Soda Alternatives

One of the key elements that makes soda such a delicious and refreshing drink is its carbonation. Without it, soda is mostly just sugar water. That’s why one of my personal favorite ways of replacing my soda habit is with sparkling water. Although plain sparkling water isn’t enough to fully imitate the taste and texture of soda, the sweet flavored twists listed below do an excellent job.

Bubly

Bubly Drinks

Bubly is a flavored sparkling water brand from Pepsi. It contains just enough flavor so you can enjoy fresh hints of fruit, but isn’t as “in your face” powerful as regular soda.

Their collection of flavors tends to be more unique when compared to the others on this list, with fruity options such as Blueberry Pomegranate, Coconut Pineapple, and White Peach Ginger. They do offer more traditional options such as Lime and Mango too.

While they have over a dozen flavors to choose from, reviews have been mixed on taste so you may want to test out a few flavors before buying in bulk.

What I find to be exceptionally cool about Bubly is that you can actually make it at home. That’s right, they sell Bubly drops which can be used to infuse your SodaStream sparkling water with their flavors. FYI, be sure to read to the end because we cover the SodaStream in more depth later on.

Example Nutritional Info (Blackberry):

  • Sugar: 0g
  • Calories: 0g
  • Net Carbs: 0g

Where To Buy:

LaCroix’s Nicola

LaCroix Nicola Flavors

Known for their colorful cans, LaCroix is one of the most popular beverage brands around. While most people are familiar with their sparkling water, LaCroix has an entire line of hybrid sparkling water and soda drinks which they call NiCola.

Compared to the other soda alternatives on this list, their flavor options are a bit limited but also fairly quirky. They include flavors such as Coconut Cola and Coffee Exotica. That being said, they also have their own version of the classic cola, appropriately called “LaCola”. I wouldn’t say the flavor is an exact replica of Coca-Cola or Pepsi but it has garnered some positive reviews.

Example Nutritional Info (LaCola):

  • Sugar: 0g
  • Calories: 0g
  • Net Carbs: 0g

Where To Buy:

AHA Sparkling Water

AHA Sparkling Water | Photo via drinkaha.com

The same way that Bubly is Pepsi’s take on flavored sparkling water, AHA is Coca-Cola’s take on flavored sparkling water. Although, unlike Bubly, AHA focuses on fruit combinations that are bursting with flavor. The best part is each one is sugar and calorie-free.

You’ll find options such as Blackberry + Lemon, Pineapple + Passionfruit, and Peach + Honey. While some of their combinations seem odd, I have to say they did a great job of crafting flavors that match the sweetness of soda without being too overpowering.

What I particularly like is the fact that they include electrolytes in all of the flavors that have caffeine. While many of the other soda alternatives on this list have caffeinated options, no others have electrolytes.

Example Nutritional Info (Line + Watermelon):

  • Sugar: 0g
  • Calories: 0g
  • Net Carbs: 0g

Where To Buy:

Spindrift

Spindrift Drinks

Every wonder how sparkling waters are fruit-flavored if the only two ingredients are natural flavor and water? The added “natural flavoring” is what produces the fruit flavor, and while it’s not necessarily bad for you, it doesn’t hold any nutritional value.

That’s why Spindrift is different than any other sparkling water brand—they use real fruit juice to flavor their drinks (all of which is from non-GMO and locally sourced fruit). In fact, they don’t use any natural flavoring at all, which is hard to come by in flavored drinks. Plus, all of their drinks are naturally sweetened without any added sugar.

They offer a variety fruity flavors such as Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit, and Pineapple.

Example Nutritional Info (Lime):

  • Sugar: 0g
  • Calories: 4g
  • Net Carbs: 1g

Where To Buy:

Bai Bubbles

Bai Bubbles

If you drink soda because you’re looking for an energy kick, Bai Bubbles might be the perfect alternative for you.

Each drink contains 45mg of caffeine derived from coffee fruit and white tea extract. That level is about the same as the caffeine content in a cup of green tea. And because they use white tea extract, Bai Bubbles are packed with antioxidants too.

Bursting with sweetness, each drink contains no more than 1g of sugar and is sweetened with stevia leaf extract, erythritol, and fruit and vegetable juice. While flavor options aren’t as extensive as some of the other options on this list, they do offer some eclectic options. Their flavors include Lambari Watermelon Lime, Jamaica Blood Orange, Gimbi Pink Grapefruit, and more.

Example Nutritional Info (Lambari Watermelon Lime):

  • Sugar: 1g
  • Calories: 5g
  • Net Carbs: 8g

Where To Buy:

Polar Seltzer

Polar Seltzer

Polar Seltzer is one of the OGs of sparkling waters, having been around since 1882.

What sets Polar Seltzers apart from the others on this list is its diverse selection of flavors. You can find fruity favorites, like Ruby Red Grapefruit and Georgia Peach, and other unique flavors like Orange Vanilla, Toasted Coconut, and Ginger Lime Mule. They do a great job of covering a variety of different taste preferences—from super sweet soda alternatives to more subdued flavor options.

The best part is that every flavor they carry is both zero-calorie and sugar-free!

Example Nutritional Info (Toasted Coconut):

  • Sugar: 0g
  • Calories: 0g
  • Net Carbs: 0g

Where To Buy:

IZZE

IZZE Sparkling Mango

IZZE’s fruity drinks are the closest in fizzy carbonation to traditional sodas than any of the other options I’ve tried.

While not low on sugar (they have around 18g to 21g per can), their drinks don’t have any added sugar, like most traditional sodas do.

One of my personal favorite aspects of IZZE’s drinks is that they’re naturally sweetened with 70% real fruit juice. That’s actually why their sugar content is a bit higher than most other options on this list. That being said, it’s still less sugar than a can of soda, which, on average has around 40g of added sugar.

They have some fun flavors like Blackberry Lemonade, Cherry Lime, and Peach. But they also have more original flavors like Peach, Mango, and Grapefruit.

What I found to be the coolest part of IZZE’s drinks is that you can get them in cans or glass bottles. I always find glass bottles do the best job of retaining the carbonation of the soda.

Example Nutritional Info (Grapefruit):

  • Sugar: 21g
  • Calories: 90
  • Net Carbs: 22g

Where To Buy:

Perrier Flavored Sparkling Water

Perrier Flavors

Perrier is one of the most popular mineral-infused sparkling water brands around. So, chances are you’ve seen them at your local grocery or convenience store.

Back when they first started out, in 1863, Perrier was sought after for its therapeutic properties thanks to using mineral water. While a lot has changed since then, Perrier still uses mineral water to create their sparkling water blends.

They now offer a few different ranges of soda alternatives, including caffeinated and real fruit juice blends. If you’re looking for a spark of energy, Perrier Energize drinks are naturally fruit-flavored and contain organic extracts of Yerba Mate and Green Coffee. All of their original sparkling water flavors are zero-calorie and sugar-free, while the real fruit Fusions are naturally sweetened without any added sugars.

One downside is that they don’t have as many flavors to choose from as some of the other options on this list. Their regular Perrier flavors include Pineapple, Peach, Watermelon, Strawberry, Lime, Pink Grapefruit, L’Orange, and Lemon. Also worth noting, Perrier uses natural flavors as an ingredient whereas many other options on this list use real fruit juice.

Example Nutritional Info (Pink Grapefruit):

  • Sugar: 0g
  • Calories: 0g
  • Net Carbs: 0g

Where To Buy:

Aura Bora Herbal Sparkling Water

Aura Bora Flavors

If you’re looking for a clean, simple ingredient carbonated beverage that will cut your soda cravings, then Aura Bora might be for you.

Like many others on this list, they’re zero calorie and sugar free. Though, where they differ from most is that they use real plant extracts over additives such as natural flavors or citric acid.

In keeping with their clean yet fun brand, they also take steps to protect the environment by giving back to organizations that help protect wildlife.

Their flavors are definitely more diverse than the usually fruity or soda “knock-off” flavors other brands offer. They include options like Basil Berry, Lemongrass Coconut, and Elderflower Grapefruit.

Example Nutritional Info (Cactus Rose):

  • Sugar: 0g
  • Calories: 0
  • Net Carbs: 0g

Where To Buy:

Unique & Creative Soda Alternatives

If the options above haven’t satisfied your search for a soda alternative, that’s okay. There are some other fun and interesting options out there that might. These range from do-it-yourself style soda makers to sweet tea-infused soda alternatives.

SodaStream

SodaStream & Bubly Drops

If you would like to take the art of soda making into your own hands, you may want to consider getting a SodaStream.

SodaStream is an ingenious countertop contraption that infuses water with carbonation so you can create soda in the comfort of your own home. You simply screw on a tank of CO2 into the SodaStream device, fill the provided bottle with water, attach it to the SodaStream, and press down to start the carbonation process (which takes about 5 seconds).

One of the most fascinating aspects of using SodaStream is that you can customize your soda experience with their Drops. These are different flavors you can buy to add to your water before carbonating it.

They have a wide variety of both classic and unique flavoring options including Cola, Root Beer, Dr. Pete (Dr. Pepper flavor), Ginger Ale, and more. Different brands now make their own version of SodaStream flavors. I briefly mentioned before that Bubly has a partnership with SodaStream but other brands like Soda Press do too.

In terms of variety and versatility, SodaStream is the best option to consider, as there are so many soda and sparkling water concoctions you can create. We have one sitting on our kitchen counter at all times because we use it daily.

Example Nutritional Info (Cola):

  • Sugar: 10g
  • Calories: 40
  • Net Carbs: 11g

Where To Buy:

Health-Ade Pop

Health-Ade Pop

Health-Ade markets themselves as a “functional soda alternative” but they’re a bit more than meets the eye. What sets them apart from the other soda alternatives you’ll see on this list is the fact that they’re part soda and part kombucha.

Kombucha is a fermented drink that is said to help with gut health, due to the fact that it has natural probiotics in it. Though, the jury is still out on what other benefits it may provide.

While they aren’t zero calorie or zero sugar like some of the other options listed, they don’t use any artificial flavors or additives. Each beverage is naturally sweetened with organic cold pressed fruit juice and organic cane sugar.

There are a few different variations of Health-Ade but if you’re looking for the one that best imitates traditional soda, I recommend going for Health-Ade Pop. They feature flavors such as Strawberry Vanilla, Ginger Fizz, Apple Snap, and many other fruity varieties.

Example Nutritional Info (Lemon Lime):

  • Sugar: 5g
  • Calories: 35
  • Net Carbs: 8g

Where To Buy:

Hella Bitters

Hella Bitters & Soda

If you’re into making cocktails and you want a tasty soda alternative to use, then check out Hella Bitters & Soda. They make a unique beverage that is made up of medicinal herb extracts, carbonated water, and fruit juice. Each drink is designed to be enjoyed as is, or mixed into your favorite cocktail.

Every Hella Bitters is crafted with their own bitters blend, which includes Jamaican allspice, black peppercorns, caraway, cinnamon sticks, cloves, rose hips, angelica root, gentian root, Chinese star anise, and chamomile. The majority of their drinks are also non-GMO and sugar-free.

They don’t have a huge variety of flavors like some of the other soda alternative options on this list do. However, the flavors they do have are packed with a taste that is herbal and fruity but isn’t overly sweet. These include options like Ginger Turmeric, Lemon Lime, and Grapefruit.

Example Nutritional Info (Lemon Lime):

  • Sugar: 0g
  • Calories: 10
  • Net Carbs: 1g

Where To Buy:

Minna Lightly Brewed Sparkling Tea

Minna Sparkling Tea | Photo via drinkminna.com

If you’re a fan of carbonated drinks and cold iced tea, then you’ll want to check out Minna. They offer a refreshingly carbonated light tea that has bright, fruity flavors.

What I enjoy most about Minna’s teas is that you get the sweetness and caffeine kick of a soda mixed with the nutritional benefits of a green or black tea. Also, their teas are lightly brewed so the taste isn’t overpowering.

Minna’s flavor options are a bit more diverse than many of the other soda alternatives we’ve covered so far. Some of their top flavors include Cherry Cacao Green Tea, Pineapple Passion Fruit Green Tea, and Lime Hibiscus Rooibos Tea.

Every drink is USDA-certified organic, Fair Trade Certified, zero calories, and sugar-free. Now that’s a soda alternative you can feel good about drinking.

Example Nutritional Info (Lime Hibiscus Rooibos Tea):

  • Sugar: 0g
  • Calories: 0
  • Net Carbs: 0g

Where To Buy:

Our Top Pick

Based on overall value, our top pick is the SodaStream. Not only does this little device allow you to create nearly any variation of soda you want—from Coca-Cola inspired sodas to their diet alternatives—it’s also way more convenient than buying in bulk.

I purchased a SodaStream for my wife years ago as a birthday present and it’s been used nearly every day since. One of the main reasons why is because we both like our sodas and sparkling water to be different levels of “fizzy” (she likes hers less and I like mine more). The SodaStream allows it so that we can vary the carbonation levels. Plus, the biggest benefit is we can have fresh and fizzy soda or sparkling water any time we want with the push of a button.

While it’s convenient and customizable, there are a few drawbacks you should be aware of before you consider purchasing. First, you have to purchase CO2 tanks. These tanks are available at big retailers like Target and some local grocery stores but may be hard to come by in more rural towns. You can trade in your empty tanks for a full one at a discounted rate.

Another drawback is that the SodaStream device is not exactly cheap. We got ours for around $100 but you can check the current pricing here. There are a few different variations and sizes so be sure to find the one that best fits your needs and budget.

The Science Behind Soda/Sugar Cravings

People look to cut their soda habits for a variety of different reasons. For some it comes down to wanting to lose weight and for others it may be for specific health reasons. Whatever your reason for wanting to cut back on traditional sodas by switching to an alternative, you may, at some point, find yourself craving the real thing.

Why?

Most traditional sodas are jam-packed with sugar. Take, for example, a can of regular Coca-Cola, which has 39 grams of sugar. That’s nearly 8 teaspoons of sugar!

When eating sugar, our brain releases dopamine, a pleasure chemical. It makes us feel good in an effort to reinforce behaviors, such as when we learn, sleep, move and more. It’s the reason why regular exercise can make us feel joy.

However, since the sugar in soda spikes our brain with dopamine, we end up getting used to the immediate gratification. Couple this with the high caffeine content in most sodas (which is already addictive) and you have a drink that is hard to say no to.

How To Fight Soda Cravings

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re craving a real soda but don’t want to give into the temptation. First, take a deep breath and know there are a few different ways you can deal with these cravings.

As we learned before, when you’re craving soda, what your body is really after is a dopamine hit from the sugar and caffeine in soda.

In the short term, one way to ease these cravings is by eating a sweet fruit—preferably a juicy orange, strawberries, or even blueberries.

The reason it’s helpful to reach for a sweet fruit is because it’s packed with natural sugars and balanced by the fiber in the fruit. This allows you to ease your craving in a way that’s better than downing a soda packed with sugar.

Over the long term, you’ll want to work on modifying your lifestyle so that the cravings fade away on their own. This includes the following:

  • Eating a more nutritionally balanced diet. The more sugar you eat in your day-to-day meals, the more your body will crave it in the form of soda.
  • Avoid or reduce excess stress. Studies show that added stress can increase food cravings.
  • Get enough sleep. As with stress, not getting enough sleep can cause sugar cravings as well.

Have a question about any of the drinks listed above? Have you tried a better soda alternative? Let us know in the comments below!

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