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Should You Replace Your Soda Habit With LaCroix?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It's no secret that soda doesn't do the body any favors.
According to nutrition information from Harvard, consumption of sugary drinks can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. A 64-ounce fountain cola drink packs a staggering 700 calories—more than most lunches—with no nutritional benefit. And as SparkPeople's registered dietitian Becky Hand points out, even a 12-ounce can of regular soda has 10 teaspoons of added sugar and 150 calories.
So why, then, are roughly half of all Americans still consuming sugary beverages (primarily soda) each and every day? We suspect it's for either the taste or the fizz (or both).  
We get it: When you're thirsty and craving some carbonation, cracking open a can of soda can sometimes seem a lot more appealing than grabbing a bottle of water. But what if there was another beverage option that delivered those satisfying effervescent bubbles, with none of the extra calories, sugar or artificial sweeteners?

What's the Appeal of Sparkling Soda Alternatives?

Water is always the best source of hydration: It's an essential part of our bodies, has no calories or unhealthy additives and can also help to boost metabolism and weight loss. But for those who just can't or won't drink regular water, the makers of LaCroix and other zero-calorie sparkling water beverages would have you believe that their products are an ideal alternative to soda and other sugar-loaded drinks—and Hand tends to agree.
"Sugar-free, calorie-free and flavored with only natural essence oils extracted from natural fruit, LaCroix is also a preferred choice for people who may be wanting to decrease their intake of artificial sweeteners," Hand says.
These types of beverages offer the same level of hydration as regular water, with the added appeal of a little flavor and fizz. This makes the drinking process more tasty and enjoyable, which in turn makes it easier to stay hydrated throughout the day.
As a health coach, Liza Baker encourages her clients to move closer to whole foods and beverages and away from highly processed ones. In her opinion, LaCroix and other sparkling waters fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
"Certainly, it's better for you than cola and other highly sweetened carbonated beverages that are chock full of artificial ingredients," she says, "but on the other hand, 'natural' is not a term that is regulated by the FDA, so claiming that the only two ingredients are carbonated water and 'natural flavoring' does not instill complete confidence."

Safely Enjoying Sparkling Water

For some people, drinking sparkling water can cause some degree of stomach discomfort from the carbonation, especially if it's consumed prior to an intense workout or competitive athletic event. If you're new to that type of beverage, Hand suggests testing your tolerance with smaller amounts consumed slowly, so you can gauge its effect on your body.
Another potential drawback of LaCroix and other carbonated water is the potential for dental erosion. As Hand explains, carbon dioxide is what gives carbonated water its desired fizziness. In the mouth, carbon dioxide is turned into carbonic acid, which makes the drink more acidic. Although sparkling water is less acidic than orange juice, soft drinks and sports drinks, it is more acidic than plain water. This level of acidity can potentially cause tooth enamel to wear away.
Hand suggests talking to your dentist about your dental wellness plan to prevent erosion. It's also best to consume acidic beverages only at meal time, not as a snack. Saliva flow is higher at meal time, which can help to neutralize the acid. When drinking, never swish or hold acidic drinks in your mouth—instead, sip and swallow or use a straw. Finally, it's best to wait an hour to brush your teeth after having an acidic beverage to give the saliva a chance to neutralize and wash away the acid.
Looking for a more convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy sparkling water? Baker recommends purchasing a carbonated beverage maker to make fizzy water at home. If you go this route, you can drink it plain or flavor it with a splash of juice or twist of citrus. If you're cutting back on sugar, start by sweetening to taste using raw honey, maple syrup, agave or sugar, then gradually cut back on the amount added.
Do you drink sparkling water or another soda alternative?

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PATRICIAAK 1/20/2020
:) Report
BONNIE1552 11/30/2019
Good to know this information. Thanks. Report
KATHYJO56 11/28/2019
I drink plain water most of the time, but occasionally will replace one with a sparkling water. Report
KHALIA2 11/13/2019
Every once in awhile, I will have a sparkling water! Report
THETROUT 6/26/2019
I was wondering about this. Report
The local tap water doesn't taste good, even if you add lemon to it. I prefer the sparkling water. Report
KHALIA2 4/19/2019
Thanks! Report
Interesting. Report
REDROBIN47 3/15/2019
I don't drink soda. At all!! I drink just plain water most of the time. If I want a flavor in it, I add a wedge of lemon to it. Report
I drink more water than soda. Just great for me. Report
I drink Zevia. Really good! Report
Great information! Report
Great article! Report
thanks. Report
So glad that soda is NOT a trigger food for me, never have liked it (wish I could say that about chocolate) all I drink is water and one glass of nonfat milk a day. Report
I do love anything that won't taste like water. Report
Mostly I drink plain water but sometimes I enjoy something sparkly. Report
I used to drink 5-6 bottles of grapefruit Perrier per week, and then I invested in a Soda Stream - best purchase ever! I rarely ever put more than a couple of drops of flavoring into a liter of "fizzy water" as my husband calls it, so a bottle of flavor syrup can last me a year and I save so much money! Not to mention all the plastic bottles or cans I'm not throwing out anymore. Report
I drink sparkling waters such as LaCroix and Bubly and can't stand diet soda anymore. At restaurants I choose unsweetened iced tea since they don't usually have LaCroix. Report
I have been drinking seltzer water way longer than it's been popular. I used to buy it in the little 1 liter bottles. I'd mix it with a half cup of apple, cranberry, or orange juice. Sometimes Eventually I got to the point where I didn't need the juice. I absolutely love LaCroix. There are some people who think its disgusting and I truly believe that they are looking for a sweet flavor. I like the punch of the carbonation. I also buy the store brands of these flavored seltzers. As for the person who said they still have calories, I feel like that person didn't read the article. Sparkling water is very different from "Ice" brand drinks or anything like that.I still drink diet soda but not nearly as often thanks to seltzer...which I'm about to crack open. As for the person who doesn't like the article due to advertising LaCroix, then don't read it! Report
Thank you for the article. I mix fruit juice and sparkling water 50/50 for special occasions. Most of the time I drink plain water. Report
We just bought a Soda Stream Water Carbonater. I like the fizz and I don't mind plain carbonated water. Report
Have yet to try any of the flavored waters, sparkling or not, that taste like anything "natural". They always taste "off" to me. I like plain water or iced tea. Report
I drink Club Soda or Seltzer Water Report
This is a timely article for me. I was curious about the sparkling water health wise Thank you! Report
I love anything besides plain water. So this new water sounds great to me. Wonder if it would ever arrive to Costa Rica. Report
I do drink lime sparkling water at lunch and dinner. Report
Thanks Report
Other than plain water, I drink the Clear American fruit flavored sparkling waters from Wal-Mart. 0% everything. They do use an artificial sweetener, however. I drink the 1 liter size bottles which counts as 4 8oz cups of water. I try to only drink a max of 1 a day. Many, many flavors. At 68 cents each, I'm happy with them. My girlfriend has switched from Sprite to the new Clear American unsweetened fruit flavored sparkling water drinks (also Wal-Mart). She can't stand the artificial sweetener flavor of other drinks. I'm surprised she drinks the unsweetened Clear Americans. They come in a 12-pack of 12oz cans. They don't currently have many flavors... Blackberry, Strawberry and Lime. My Wal-Mart seems to be out of stock of them regularly. Whenever I see they have them, I buy all they have. Yeah, I'm that guy. :) Report
Thanks. Report
Excellent article, good need-to-know information. Report
First, if I use the flavor packets, it is to much flavor for the recommended ounces of water.

Second, they mostly fruit flavors. I like to eat my fruit not drink it. It does not compliment everything.

Third, I do like the carbonation but I rarely crave it. So when I crave it, maybe every few months, I grab my favorite soda.
I think it is wildly funny that all of these sparkling waters have suddenly popped up and everyone thinks it is a new trend. I have been drinking LaCroix and Klarbrun for almost 20 years, when all they had was plain, lemon and lime. Now there are TONS of flavors and brands! I love a lot of Aldi's options in both regular, slim cans and large bottles. Bubbly brand is also good if you are looking for clean, single flavors and Target/CVS also have great house brands. IT IS AN ACQUIRED TASTE AND YOU HAVE TO GIVE IT MORE THAN ONE TRY! It is tough at first to wrap your brain around the less sweet factor, but once you get used to it, regular and diet soda taste nasty! I have maybe had less than a 1/2 dozen sodas in the last three years. I do drink club soda with a twist when sparkling water is not available (but beware that it does have some sodium) Sparkling water has saved me! Otherwise I am on regular water, coffee or iced tea. Report
Wow! I had no idea sparkling water could possibly cause dental erosion. It is a good thing that I can no longer find my Sparkling ICE (tea). Water is all I drink now along with coffee. Report
I add flavors to club soda if i must have something bubbly can't drink seltzer body doesn't like Report
Sparking or carbonated water never did anything for me !! Report
I still enjoy a soda once in a while i have gone for the 12 cans to the small cans and have gone from 2 of the large 12oz cans to a 6 oz can. the flavored waters also have calories and a list of reasons not to drink them. anything we eat drink in large amounts is harmful for us. sorry i will still enjoy a soda once in a while . Report
I still enjoy a soda once in a while i have gone for the 12 cans to the small cans and have gone from 2 of the large 12oz cans to a 6 oz can. the flavored waters also have calories and a list of reasons not to drink them. anything we eat drink in large amounts is harmful for us. sorry i will still enjoy a soda once in a while . Report
I drink water - lots of it. Occasionally I will drop a piece of fruit in it or a cucumber slice. Report
plain water Report
I don't mind sparkling water, and I'll drink it on a flight when there are complimentary beverages, but I don't buy it. My drink of choice is iced tea, with a little stevia for a sweetener. Report
I'm not that fond of carbonation, but I gave it a try anyway..... it tasted nasty! Won't be trying it again.... Report
Water is the BEST for me and my DS has also incorporated that good habit! :):)
No soda in the house and only once in a while at parties. My child has EXCELLENT visits to the dentist and I am happy to have all my teeth.My DH got KIDNEY STONES when he was in his teens due to drinking Dr.Pepper regularly.If you want to SEE what soda DOES to your teeth,put a baby tooth in some soda for a week. No tooth left behind!!! That soda WILL eat your tooth! I am biased b/c my parents BOTH had loved soda and ended up with dentures the rest of their lives.... Report
Walmart has a great sparkling water with different flavors for very little money Report
To me buying all these special waters is a waste of money. Buy a filtered pitcher if you don't like tap water and add some fruit to it. Plus you'll be keeping it green buy not buying all those plastic bottles Report
I switched from diet soda to flavored seltzers a couple years ago. I need that carbonation with a meal. The rest of the time I drink plain water. Report
Thanks for the information. Report
I always have a pitcher of “flavored” water in my refrigerator. Cucumber-lime, cucumber-mint, lemon-lime, strawberry-mint, whatever is fresh and handy. Very refreshing and takes the “boredom”out of plain water. Report
It is like near beer or evaps. A band aid. How about just drinking a glass of water? Report