Is Zevia cola healthy?

I was in Whole Foods the other day, and I wanted a little caffeine boost on a hot day. Not being a coffee drinker, I typically will go with iced tea- either the no sugar or low sugar kinds. But I was in a bit of a wacky mood that day, and went on the hunt for something different. I used to be a huge fan of Coca-cola, before I found out how horrible it was for my health, and did drink diet sodas for a while but not sure all those chemicals are too healthy either.

So I found Zevia sodas in the fridge. 0 sugars, and sweetened with all-natural calorie-free stevia, as well as something called Erythritol.

Wikipedia defines Erythritol as

a natural sugar alcohol (a type of sugar substitute) which has been approved for use in the United States[1] and throughout much of the world. It was discovered in 1848 by British chemist John Stenhouse.[2] It occurs naturally in fruits and fermented foods [3]. At the industrial level, it is produced from glucose by fermentation with a yeast, Moniliella pollinis[1]. It is 60–70% as sweet as table sugar yet it is almost non-caloric, does not affect blood sugar, does not cause tooth decay, and is absorbed by the body, therefore unlikely to cause gastric side effects unlike other sugar alcohols. Under U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling requirements, it has a caloric value of 0.2 kilocalories per gram (95% less than sugar and other carbohydrates), though nutritional labelling varies from country to country—some countries like Japan label it as zero-calorie, while European Union regulations currently label it and all other sugar alcohols at 2.4 kcal/g.”

Doesn’t sound too horrible, but I still don’t like the idea of putting lots of “sugar alcohols” in my body. Something sounds very unnatural about that!

Zevia also contains: Triple filtered carbonated water, caramel color, tartaric acid, stevia leaf, fumaric acid, 45 mg of caffeine, natural flavors, citrus oils, cola nut extract, and citric acid.

The taste reminded me exactly of RC cola, which I haven’t had since I was a kid many years ago. RC was like Pepsi only sweeter! I could not help but think I was putting something less than optimal in my body. It definitely did not strike me as a health drink- I still kept thinking it was coating my insides and rotting my teeth, even though it’s nothing like what regular sodas do.

Overall, I would not recommend Zevia. There are definitely worse things you could drink- but when they say “100% natural”- I think that is a bit of a stretch! I would say, if you’re a Diet Coke fiend, and you’re looking to ween off of soda, give this a try. Otherwise, next time you feel like having a little caffeine hit, I recommend sticking with the healthier teas out there.

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