by Kymythy Schultze
Dear Kymythy,
Do you have a good replacement for soda pop?

Great idea! The average American drinks about 56 gallons of soda every year! When you consume even just one soda, you’re ingesting approximately 10 teaspoons of refined sugar and 50 milligrams of caffeine, along with artificial food colors and other chemicals. What you’re not getting is any nutritional value. There’s a strong link between soda consumption and many health problems including obesity, tooth decay, behavioral disorders, diabetes, and bone loss. And the connection between soda consumption and childhood obesity is so strong that a few schools are now beginning to remove the vending machines from school grounds. Hurray!

Diet sodas may be even more dangerous to your health: The artificial sweetener most of them contain, aspartame, may be linked to more than 92 negative health problems including seizures, brain tumors, and birth and vision defects. Furthermore, when these diet sodas are stored for long periods or kept in a warm environment, the aspartame changes to methanol and then formaldehyde. The newer sweetener Splenda, a chlorinated sucrose derivative, has no long-term safety research for humans; however animal studies may link it to shrunken thymus glands, enlarged liver and kidneys, reduced growth rate, decreased red blood cell counts, aborted pregnancy, and other health problems. And the most ironic thing of all is that diet sodas may actually increase your appetite and contribute to obesity according to some studies!

Here’s an extremely simple and tasty recipe that provides a tasty alternative to soda: Simply blend sparkling mineral water (buy the type that’s naturally sparkling and hasn’t had carbon dioxide added to it) with your favorite no-sugar-added fruit juice. Viola! A delicious soda that tastes good, won’t break the bank, and won’t break your body!