We all know that as tasty as sodas are, they are not all that healthy for us.
Most brands have come out with healthier alternatives to their original drinks.
However, these are primarily sugar- or caffeine-free and still contain a lot of other ingredients like artificial colorants.
Now, however, you may have been hearing about a relatively new range of healthy (as opposed to healthier) sodas called Zevia.
So, what is Zevia soda?
Whether you have just heard of Zevia soda and you want to know what it is, or you are interested in just how healthy the soda is, then this article has got the answers you are looking for.
Who Makes Zevia Soda?
Zevia is an entirely new brand of drinks, independent of other existing brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
The company was founded in 2007 by Derek Newman, Jessica Newman, and Ian Eisenberg and is overseen by CEO Paddy Spence.
Zevia is based in Los Angeles, California, but they supply many major retailers and smaller natural food stores across the USA and in Canada.
You can also buy Zevia products via their online store and Amazon.
In addition to sodas, Zevia also produces a range of energy drinks, cold teas, mixers, sparkling waters, and fruity children’s juices, all in various flavors.
Is Zevia Healthy?
This seems promising if you’re looking for a healthy drink, but let’s look a little closer at Zevia products.
Zevia Products Are Sugar-Free
Well, this is a good start. For years, sugary foods have been frowned upon.
These days, with the rise of the Ketogenic diet, sugar has become nigh on a swear word, and a large number of people are looking for the words “sugar-free” before they buy any food or drink.
However, the aversion to sugar is not unfounded.
There is plenty of research on the topic, and high sugar-intake is widely considered to be a contributing factor to many health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and tooth decay.
So, not using sugar in their soda is a point in favor of Zevia being considered healthy.
Zevia Products Are Naturally Sweetened
Almost every sugar-free product out there on the market is still sweet, but how?
The sweetness in these products comes from sugar substitutes.
Many of these are artificial sweeteners.
The FDA has approved certain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose, for use in foods as an additive.
However, there is still some uncertainty regarding how healthy these substances really are, and many people prefer not to ingest artificial sweeteners.
On the other hand, stevia is a natural sweetener and has received the classification of GRAS (generally regarded as safe) from the FDA.
Stevia sweeteners are obtained from the stevia plant, which originates in South America, and it is the sweetener of choice in Zevia products.
So, according to the FDA ratings, stevia is considered to be a healthier option, but be aware that the acceptable daily intake of stevia is 4 mg per kg of bodyweight.
Zevia Products Are Non-GMO Project Certified
Zevia has received its verification from the Non-GMO Project.
GMOs are genetically modified organisms and are a controversial topic, so we are not going to dig too deep here.
If you consider GMOs to be harmful, then knowing the drink is as GMO-free as the Non-GMO Project is allowed to claim will be a point in favor of Zevia being healthy.
If you don’t consider GMOs to be harmful, then this point is not going to sway you.
Zevia Products Are Gluten-Free
If you have a gluten intolerance or a full-blown allergy, then the fact that Zevia is gluten-free means that, in this regard, it is healthier for you than a comparable gluten-containing drink.
Zevia Products Do Not Contain Caramel Color
Here is another ingredient with mixed opinions.
When caramel color is manufactured, a byproduct known as 4-MEI is produced. In 2007, reports were issued by the National Toxicology Program indicating that 4-MEI increased the incidence of tumors in mice.
This caused some agitation in society as the widely used colorant was branded a potential carcinogen.
However, according to the FDA, the mice in the study were exposed to much larger amounts of 4-MEI than humans are exposed to through the consumption of caramel-color-containing foods and drinks.
As with GMOs, if you are against caramel color, then Zevia ticks another box for you.
If you have no problem either way, then this is not a factor for you.
Zevia’s take on the matter is, why include it? And, they have a point—there is nothing wrong with a clear soda.
Zevia Products Contain Nothing Artificial
No matter the intensity of your opinions regarding organic foods, most people agree that artificial foods and ingredients are less healthy than natural and organic ones.
Zevia Products Contain Zero Calories
Your first response may be to give this one to Zevia as a health point. However, on a fundamental level, what we eat and what we drink is supposed to nourish us and promote health.
Something with zero calories is not going to be nutritious or otherwise beneficial for our bodies.
But what about water? True, water doesn’t contain calories either, but if you are comparing how healthy Zevia is to how healthy water is, Zevia is not going to win.
That being said, for what Zevia is, i.e., a brand of flavored drinks, the zero-caloric count should be counted to them as a positive.
Zevia Products Contain Caffeine
Some of the Zevia products contain a certain amount of caffeine, with their range of energy drinks containing the highest levels.
As you know, caffeine can have some adverse health effects, such as headaches, increased heart rate, heartburn, increased urination, etc., and the quantities at which these effects are produced can depend on the individual person.
Compared to Diet Coke (of the Coca-Cola brand), which has 46 mg of caffeine in a 12 oz can, Zevia’s cola has only 1mg less, at 45 mg of caffeine per 12 oz can.
So, when it comes to caffeine content, caffeinated Zevia drinks may be no more healthy than more traditional sodas.
Zevia sells cold teas, energy drinks, children’s drinks, and sparkling waters, as well as sodas, but this article is about Zevia soda, so we’ll focus on the ingredients of these.
Zevia’s range of sodas is relatively small, and they provide all the ingredients for their products on their website.
Thus, we have compiled a table to show the ingredients in each of these sodas.
|SODA FLAVOR||CARBONATED WATER||STEVIA LEAF EXTRACT||TARTARIC ACID||NATURAL FLAVORS||CAFFEINE||CITRIC ACID||GINGER EXTRACT|
|GINGER ROOT BEER||X||X||X||X|
|LEMON LIME TWIST||X||X||X||X|
Is Zevia Soda Bad For Your Teeth?
As we mentioned earlier, ingestion of sugary foods and drinks is a known cause of tooth decay.
So, does this mean that a sugar-free drink like Zevia cannot damage your teeth?
Unfortunately, not; Zevia sodas still contain acids, which are also bad for your teeth.
Acidic foods and drinks are those that have a pH of less than 5.5.
All Zevia soda flavors contain citric acid, and some also have tartaric acid listed as an ingredient.
The amount of acid depends on the individual flavor; however, all Zevia sodas fall into the acidic range.
What Is The pH Of Zevia Soda?
According to a tweet from Zevia in response to a customer’s query, Zevia’s cola and crème soda drinks have a pH of between 3.0 and 4.0, while the “citrus flavors run around 2.0-3.0”.
How does this compare to other brands? Well, A&W’s cream soda has a pH of 3.86, Coke has a pH of 2.37, and Sprite (a citrus flavor) has a pH of 3.24.
Zevia sodas belong to a brand of relatively healthy, zero-calorie drinks that also makes cold teas, energy drinks, sparkling waters, and children’s drinks.
Their status as healthy is determined by the fact that they exclude many of the ingredients that are considered to make traditional sodas bad for us, including sugar, artificial sweetener, and artificial colorants.
However, some Zevia sodas still contain caffeine, which can have adverse health effects, and all Zevia sodas contain acids, which as bad for your teeth. Furthermore, Zevia sodas have no nutritional value.