Zevia? What the heck is that, you ask? Well, in order to answer that question for you, let me tell you a story…
So back in my freshman year of college, I grew more and more dependent on Diet Pepsi. Since I knew that regular soda was terrible for you and was basically liquid calories, I thought having diet soda instead would prevent any real damage to my health.
Here’s where it gets a little scary. I grew sort of…addicted to diet soda. I mean, the stuff was practically pumping through my veins! I would have it whenever I would feel a sudden craving or wanted to feel full because the flavor was always satisfying to me, and the carbonation of the beverage kept my tummy full. But it got to the point where instead of opting for water, or tea I would always turn to diet soda. And I didn’t realize this at the time, but diet soda, although it is called diet soda, has some serious health risks.
- Kidney damage. A 2009 Nurses’ Health Study of 3,256 women found a 30% drop in level of kidney function for participants who drank 2 or more servings of diet pop daily. This means that those who drank at least 2 cans, bottles or glasses of diet drinks daily had 30% less kidney blood filtering ability than those who drank regular sodas or other drinks. The kidney function decline was noted even when consideration was made of other factors which may have affected participants, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.Why does diet soda harm the kidneys? Evidence is still coming in, but it’s thought that the sweeteners used in diet soda may scar kidney tissue over time.
- Weight Gain. Perhaps surprising, but true: studies have tied diet soda consumption to an increased risk of obesity. In fact, a 2005 University of Texas Health Science Center study found a 57.1% risk of obesity for those drinking more than two daily servings of diet pop.How could a zero-calorie drink raise your risk of obesity? Researchers have a few theories. Some people may feel that drinking diet soda gives them a “free pass” to eat more foods that may not be so low in calories, thereby leading to weight gain. Another theory posits that the sweet taste of diet pop alerts our digestive system that high-calorie foods are coming. When they don’t, our bodies are confused and our appetite increases in anticipation of the food it’s expecting.
- Tooth Enamel Damage. Soda is hard on tooth enamel, with the sugar and acid being the most problematic ingredients. Diet soda eliminates the sugar, but not the acid content of pop. Most of us are familiar enough with acid that we can imagine its impact on our tooth enamel, which is the main barrier our teeth have against decay.Phosphoric acid is found in many diet sodas, and its purpose is to promote carbonation. But it also erodes tooth enamel. Check your favorite diet drink to see whether it contains phosphoric acid; generally, darker colas are more likely to contain it than lighter diet drinks.Citric acid is another ingredient added to many diet sodas in order to preserve carbonation. Like phosphoric acid, it eats away at your tooth enamel. If you can’t give up your diet soda habit, try sipping it through a straw in order to reduce its contact with your teeth.
- Bone Loss. Drinking diet soda can also lead to bone loss. This is because the phosphoric acid in the soda causes calcium in your bloodstream to be excreted more quickly than normal through urine. Your bones then give up some of their calcium in order to keep the bloodstream calcium level constant.(Info courtesy of Fitday.com)
So now that you can see how incredibly harmful diet drinks are to anyone’s well-being. But here is where things get good. While walking around Whole Foods one day I stumbled upon the soda aisle. I’ve been diet soda free since June of last year, and I wasn’t going to take any chances with other sodas, even if they were from Whole Foods. But then I saw the 6-packs of Zevia staring at me from the shelf. I mean, I knew of Stevia, the natural zero-calorie sweetener, but Zevia? What does that mean?
Basically, Zevia is a soda brand that makes their soda calorie AND sugar-free but not with any unnatural chemicals like in diet sodas that cause negative side-effects. Instead, they utilize two natural ingredients that make Zevia just as amazing as any soda you’ve tried: Stevia and Erythritol. Woah…that second one doesn’t sound too natural. But trust me…it is soooo natural. Erythritol is a natural component of fruits and vegetables and is classified as a sugar alcohol, even though it is neither sugar nor alcohol. It is derived from fruits and vegetables through a natural fermentation process, much like that of yogurt and has absolutely no calories and no effect on blood sugar.
And how does it taste…well, you’d have to look at my recyclables bin at my house to see how obsessed with this stuff I am. I LOVE IT! I can finally enjoy the bubbly awesomeness of soda without harmful side-effects. And they come in so many different flavors! (Black Cherry, Caffeine-Free Cola, Cherry Cola, Cola, Cream Soda, Dr. Zevia, Ginger Ale, Ginger Root Beer, Grape, Grapefruit Citrus, Lemon Lime Twist, Lime Cola, Mountain Zevia, Orange, and Strawberry)
Mind you, that Zevia is kind of pricy. For about $6 for a 6-pack it is relatively more expensive than your average soda. But hey, if you want to maintain your health in the long-run and cannot give up your love of the fizzy stuff, Zevia can be your savior!
As always, have a lovely day!