New No-Calorie Soda Made with Natural Sweetener
I admit it. I like soda. I’m not a fanatic, but an occasional afternoon soda break with popcorn can refresh me; a bubbling can with a Friday night slice of pizza is a treat I enjoy. Since I don’t want the extra calories or the fructose or high fructose corn syrup used in many soda products, I rely on diet sodas. However, I’m also aware that many holistic doctors feel that artificial sweeteners are chemical toxins that we should avoid—even though research has not yet conclusively proven this to be so.
So when holistic physician, Jonathan Wright, MD recommended Zevia in his September 2008 newsletter, I knew I’d have to give it a try. Zevia is a soda with no calories and only 20 mg of sodium. The sugar substitute is stevia, a natural sweetener made from the the leaves of the stevia plant, originating from South America. The secondary sweetener is erythritol, a natural sugar alcohol which, unlike sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol, does not cause gastro-intestinal upsets.
Instead of using phosphoric acid, found it regular and diet sodas, which leaches calcium from your bones, Zevia uses tartatric acid, which comes from grapes. All the other ingredients are natural too, including caffeine from coffee, tea or kola nut.
I was excited to find that both my local health food store and supermarket (Wegman’s) were already carrying Zevia. I bought all four varieties to taste test: Natural Cola, Twist, which uses lemon and lime oils, Orange, which uses orange oils and Root Beer made with ginger.
The results of my taste test? While all the sodas have interesting flavors, I’d have to say that Orange, Twist and Cola would take some getting used to. But the Root Beer — fantastic! (That was Wright’s preferred flavor too, and I can see why.)
If you know anything about stevia, you’re aware that due to weird FDA rulings many years ago, that are probably in place to protect powerful sugar substitute interests, it can’t be called a sugar substitute, but must be labeled as a dietary supplement. And the manufactures of Zevia glibly call their product “Zevia Carbonated Stevia Supplement.”
By the way, Dr. Wright warns of not drinking more than an average of two cans a day, and eating plenty of veggies and fruit to counteract any “acid burden” associated with soda carbonation.