Soda has been criticized for years for being an unhealthy drink that doesn’t provide any real health benefits. Many often think immediately of soda with a few labels that they would have, which would be sugary, unhealthy, and empty calories. I mean, sometimes foods are just blown out of proportion, right?
One day you can eat something and the next day you can’t have it anymore, because it is linked to some new risk of getting something. You would think that you would need a big book to carry around with you before you put anything on your fork or spoon.
Fortunately, some of this information is coming from what everybody heard from some of the lastest trending health gurus. However, it still should be taken into account that some of this information about foods and drinks might be true.
So is soda empty calories or not?
Soda is definitely empty calories. It contains only fractions of anything that can offer you any health benefits. The sugars in soda are really the only thing that can offer any real benefit to the body. This is considering that you aren’t reaching your daily amount of recommended sugar to begin with.
Even if you are/were at a sugar deficit, there are more nutritional snacks (like fruits) and foods that can cover that need and more, making soda basically empty calories. It really is nothing more than a sugar drink to satisfy the taste buds and tingle the palate.
Why Is Soda Empty Calories?
Soda is considered empty calories by the definition of empty calories. It has no nutrients in the beverage. Empty calories also means foods and drinks that have little to no nutrients compared to the amount of sugars and fats in the food or drink.
Most soda brands use high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener (not that it would change the definition if it was cane sugar), and artificial flavoring to make their soda taste like the specified fruit flavor. Even if natural flavorings were used in the soft drink, it only adds 1 to 2 percent (sometimes less than 1 percent) of a few vitamins and minerals to the specified daily amount.
If an individual were to consume these sodas in the excuse of gaining these mynute benefits in the beverage, it would be at the cost of a sugar overload in order to fulfill the nutritional needs. Also, the calories would be far too high. The individual would most likely experience weight gain if this was the case.
All of the calories in soda are coming from sugars if it isn’t a diet or zero calorie soda. The problem with this is that everybody has a recommended daily calorie limit. If soda takes up a large portion of the daily calories, then it would be considered very unhealthy, since it is empty calories.
Other than the carbonation in soda, there is predominantly sugar, water, possibly citric acid, maybe caffeine, phosphoric acid, and caramel coloring. None of these ingredients provide sufficient nutrients for the body.
There are carbohydrates in soda, but only because there are sugars in soda. All of the carbohydrates are coming from the sugar in soda.
That is why diet soda is such a big thing. It is replaced with sugars for artificial sweeteners, which can easily make a soda zero calories. When this happens, the carbohydrates dissappear too, since they were all just sugars.
Diet soda on the other hand cannot be seen as empty calories, since it doesn’t even have calories to begin with. It is just nothing but a beverage that is consumed for flavor, but without any sugars or calories.
Diet soda throughout the years has also been under the microscope, and has been used by health gurus as a means to draw more attention to themselves. It is often grouped with regular sodas that have sugars and calories, even though they aren’t specifically the same thing. However, no evidence can support calling diet sodas empty calories or link them to obesity and weight gain.
Diet soda and zero sugar sodas do not provide any nutritional benefits, but both have no calories or sugars.
Are all sodas empty calories?
Not every single carbonated beverage is empty calories, just the main brand sodas made by soda companies that have calories and sugars.
Since soda is a beverage that can be made simply by adding carbon dioxide to it, a lot of beverages can be seen as sodas. Obviously there are healthy juices and other drinks that provide alot of specific nutrients; so these wouldn’t be seen as empty calories just because carbonation was added to them.
Unfortunately most fruit sodas aren’t made with real fruits, but with artificial flavorings. It is usually labeled in the ingredients on the soda itself if they are fake. They can also be told apart, since these artificial fruit sodas don’t require refrigeration.
People are now capable of adding carbonation to any drink that they see fit through using soda kits at home. One of course is sparkling water. Sparkling water doesn’t have calories unless sugars are added to them. If sugars aren’t added to the sparkling water, then the sparkling water isn’t considered empty calories.
Lemon and lime sodas like Sprite and Sierra Mist are still considered to be empty calories, but since they are made from lemon and limes, they do give a mynute health benefit to the body. However, it is still better to go with a lemonade.
Other sodas do use natural flavors from essential oils to create their unique flavors. Essential oils are extracted oils from fruits and plants. They are believed to provide health benefits to the body. The range of essential oils used in the sodas depends on the type of soda and its flavor.
However, the amount of essential used to flavor soda is very small. So it is not the main thing that makes up the entire beverage.