If you love super sweet drinks, chances are you enjoy soft drinks and cordial.
Soft drinks, also known as soda, are carbonated, sweet, and sometimes caffeinated beverages that give you a kick of energy from the sugar (and caffeine) they deliver to your bloodstream.
Cordial, or squash, are concentrated sugary fruit syrups that are meant to be mixed with something else, like water, and enjoyed that way.
Read on to learn more about cordial and the different types of soft drinks and how they affect you.
Cordial vs. Soft Drinks
At face value, cordial has less sugar all around than soft drinks, and it can also be diluted more to deliver less sugar per serving if you wish.
Look carefully, though: that doesn’t mean you can drink as much cordial as you want with no negative side effects.
Because there are so many types of cordial and soft drinks, there is no standard of nutrition facts for either of them.
In soft drinks, sugar can either be added directly to the formula or, as is popular in the US, high-fructose corn syrup can be used to sweeten the soda.
Corn syrup is cheaper than sugar because it’s made in the US, so it doesn’t need to be imported as the US grows a lot of corn.
Cordial is made from fruit juice, and it can often have 30-50% fruit juice. On the surface, this already seems much healthier than a typical soft drink, which rarely has real fruit juice.
Fruit juice is naturally high in sugar, though. And a majority of cordials have additional sugar listed as their first ingredient.
In 250 ml (one cup) of cordial, there are about 5.5 teaspoons of sugar.
In the average soft drink, there are around 7 teaspoons of sugar per 250 ml. In an 8-ounce can of soda, that’s a lot of sugar. But 8 ounces of cordial also contain a lot of sugar.
Your body may also lose its ability to properly process sugar when you have it, and you could develop diabetes. That’s why it’s important to monitor your sugar intake and try to avoid consuming large quantities of it.
Are diet drinks better for you?
Diet drinks can have many health advantages, such as fewer or no calories, lower sugar content, etc.
Diet or low-juice cordials have less or no sugar added, with very little sugar content from the 5-10% juice they contain.
However, they typically contain artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and coloring to make up for their lack of “real” ingredients, like fruit juice and sugar.
The makers of diet soft drinks often use aspartame to sweeten without using sugar or adding calories.
Because it is about 200 times sweeter than sugar, you can use much less aspartame in a soft drink to achieve the same level of sweetness as sugar, meaning the aspartame in diet sodas has almost no calories.
While this may seem great for keeping a healthier diet, there is evidence that regular intake of aspartame may increase your risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease—like sugar.
Artificial sweeteners may also change your appetite, leading you to eat more food than you would have if you’d enjoyed a drink with real sugar instead.
What is the best cordial to drink?
Your best bet when choosing a cordial is to go for one with no sugar added and heavily dilute it.
This lowers the amount of cordial you consume and will help keep you from experiencing the negative effects of high-sugar and high-artificial-sweetener consumption.
There are lots of brands and options out there with low juice content and no added sugar. You can also look for sweet syrups that use organic ingredients, which are always healthier than artificial ones.
With the right cordial, you may just need a little in your water or carbonated water to go a long way and create a delicious, healthier alternative to soft drinks.
What is the healthiest soft drink?
If you really love your soft drinks, you can try sodas with no sugar.
As mentioned above, these drinks are sweetened artificially, so they won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar levels the way a regular soda with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup will.
Is squash/cordial as hydrating as water?
While it’s technically true that drinking a lot of cordial with physically hydrate you as much as the same amount of plain water, there are dehydrating elements to any drink that contains sugar.
On top of that, drinks with sugar and artificial sweeteners have so many known negative health effects that it’s not a good idea to entirely replace water with anything else, even diluted cordial.
While cordial and soft drinks both have downsides when it comes to how they affect your health, cordial is generally better as far as sugar content goes.
No beverage is a perfect alternative to water, however, so if you are looking for a fizzy drink with the lowest health risks and the powers of hydration, carbonated water may be the best alternative to both cordials and soft drinks.