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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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Thank you for the article. Report
Very interesting! Report
bleh. La Croix (and others) taste like salty grossness Report
If you're not going to brush your teeth after consuming something acidic, you should chew sugar-free gum. A lot of dentists recommend chewing sugar-free gum if you are unable to brush. The experts say that your tooth enamel can soften a bit when you have acidic foods, and some people like to wait a while to let their enamel harden before they brush again. Personally, I will NOT let anything acidic stay on my teeth for a whole hour. It hurts my teeth, so I brush them right away. Report
plain water for me Report
plain water is just fine for me. Report
a new one on me Report
Never seen it. Report
Shameless advertising by SparkPeople yet again! How much do these companies pay SparkPeople for this? And as Premium member I have paid for no advertising so these advertising articles are a blatant breech of contract. Report
Sparkling seltzer and water steeped with tea. Had to stop drinking diet soda because of IBS and regular wasn't making me feel so great either. Report
I mix a 100% juice with the sparkling water. One part juice to four parts sparkling water. It's just enough to give it a flavor and a touch of sweetness. Report
I gave up soda about 15 years ago. I generally drink water or iced tea instead. There are some times that I do want soda (like with a hot dog or corned beef or pastrami sandwich). That's when I use La Croix. It is a great subsititute. Report
I'm a big fan of La Croix and Zevia zero calorie sodas. There is no caramel coloring in Zevia and they have a lot of popular flavors. I squirt a little liquid stevia in the La Croixs for a bit of sweetness. Report
Sparkling Ice and Flavored Seltzer are my go to when I want to reduce the soda. But I do like a good diet soda every once in a while. Is it the diet soda that makes you crave sweets or is it the fact that you think it " balances out" to have the sweets since you're drinking a 'diet' soda? Just curious.. Report
If not for sparkling water I would still be downing Diet Dr. pepper and other diet sodas and my kidney doc said it is not the artificial sweeteners that are dangerous to me, but the dark coloring! he told me to stop dark diet soda and it took spakling water to get me to do it. Our water around here does not taste good and that worries me. So, was relieved this was not an article bashing sparkling water! Report
Good information. Thank you. Report
Big LaCroix fan, and eliminating artificial sweeteners altogether. Report
Interesting info that needs to be thought Thru by each person. Never even heard of this product before so cant miss what never had. It seems that unless it is in the form was created to be, (and man has not touched/altered anything , )it is more harm than good for our bodies. Report
Not a fan of sparkling water but love plain old ice water. Lucky me I guess Report
Has anyone tried Hint water? It isn’t bubbly, but has added fruit flavors. I am having a hard time finding it in a store. Report
La Croix's "natural flavor" is "created by heating items such as fruit and vegetable skins, rinds, and remnants at high temperatures, producing vapors. These vapors are condensed and then sold by the barrel." Source: https://

So nothing really unnatural about it. It's basically carbonated water flavored with fruit!

And regarding the "potential" dental degradation, this is based on a person's dental hygiene. I've been drinking carbonated water for decades and still have my OG teeth! Report
Good to consider. I think I'll look at the Aldi's water. Report
I generally drink water but for a treat, I often drink flavored carbonated water. I think it's the fizz that makes it special. Thank you for all of the good information! Report
Very interesting. I believe I will try it and if I don't like it , that's ok Report
As with most things....moderation. Pepsi's Bubbly is really good too and sparkling water has a place in my water drinking. Love it as well as just plain water. Report
My favorite is Aldi's Grapefruit Sparkling Water, although I'm not a big fan of grapefruit --go figure!? Dasani (Coca-Cola) Lime is also very good. Zevia (sold at my local 'healthier' store) is very sweet and might make for the best brand to try if you're new to giving up sugar and soda. Report
Sparkling water is my favorite. I prefer plain sparkling water over flavored, but LaCroix is a personal favorite because it has no sweeteners of any kind. The carbonation really quenches my thirst. Report
I haven't found a flavored water that I actually like. Report
LaCroix, Bubly, and other brands have been my strongest weapon against my soda addiction. It took a while of making myself drink it before I started liking it. And then... one day I craved it. And one day, I picked a LaCroix INSTEAD of a soda. Now it's my go-to.

My friends don't recognize me anymore and are worried that I've been possessed by a personality-erasing, healthy-minded parasite, but I'm more hydrated than I've ever been in my life. Report
This is a good move! Report
I prefer plain water, but this is pretty good Report
water is good Report
I prefer plain water. Report
water is best. Report
I agree 100% with ALUKOWSKY ~~~my husband has been drinking diet coke from the time he was 15....he is now 70 and is at his goal weight! Any weight he gained over the years was NEVER from diet was from the chocolate bars/cakes/cookies/pies and deep fried fish and chips that he ate~~
He continued drinking diet coke when he started to finally follow a healthy EATING ( not drinking ) plan~~
I drink diet orange crush a lot....and have lost over 50 lbs this past year~~ Weight gains are caused by OVER eating...not by using artificial sweetner products~
I do know that some people react to artificial sweetners ( as in like an allergy reaction~~) so cannot tolerate any products with sweetners~~! Report
Yes I drink ) calorie flavored water in bottles from COSTCO called sparkling Ice in a case, canned sparkling water at grocery stores tastes terrible Report
Nothing beats plain water. Report
Still water often makes me nauseated. Seltzer helps me stay hydrated when still water doesn't want to stay down. Report
I got told to drink water, water and more water by my Dr. so I got used to it. I feel okay having the occasional diet coke. Report
excellent info Report
Good info, thanks! Report
I have drank sparkling waters for a long time then discovered the one I was drinking had Aspertame in it. I now make my own with half bottle club soda, no sugars, half bottle purified water plus an added flavoring. A little sparkle with a lot of water.Club soda does have some sodium in it though. A 4 serving bottle has 55 mg sodium per serving. So it's not the answer for all but good for those that tolerate sodium, need it or can't tolerate straight water. Report
Great info! Thanks! Report
thanks Report