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ibstubro's avatar

What is a satisfying [read, not water substitute for diet soda pop?

Asked by ibstubro (18636points) January 11th, 2014

Recently I had the intestinal flu and drinking pop made me feel queasy, so I stopped drinking it. I’ve been without now (caffeinated and non) for about a week, no ill effects.

The problem is, in the interim, I’ve been drinking fruit juice, whole milk and soy milk. Healthy enough, but relatively expensive and loaded with calories. Yes, I’ve had plenty of plain tap water as well… my limit.

Any tips or suggestions for a satisfying substitute for pop? Something maybe slightly sweet-tasting, or with more ‘body’ than plain water?

I know it’s the New Year and there are others out there trying similar experiments. Can you help us out?

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64 Answers

Judi's avatar

I put lemon oil (certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils) in my water. It’s detoxifying as well as delicious. If you’re craving the sweet but want to avoid the calories put a packet of stevia in it and you’ve got lemonade!

ibstubro's avatar

Doesn’t the lemon oil just float on the top, @Judi?

hug_of_war's avatar

Have you tried sparkling water or soda water?

Judi's avatar

Not really. It infuses. The colder the better.

tom_g's avatar

Personally, I think a good tap water is the perfect beverage. But I also enjoy a decent sparkling water. Do you have Poland Springs products where you are, or is that a New England thing? Does sparkling water count as “water”? If so, then change my answer to “beer”.

Judi's avatar

You can also make fresh lemonade with stevia and fresh lemons.

janbb's avatar

Did you hiccup and is that why thequestion is posted twice?

How about herbal teas – hot or iced? I really like Mandarin Orange Spice and don’t need to add sweeteners.

I do indulge in one can of Cherry Coke Zero as a treat daily.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I like unsweet or slightly sweet tea. Honestly though my fluid intake is like 80% water, 15% black coffee or tea and 5% beer. I don’t drink soda at all and have not in years. I think the sugar in some of the fruit juice is about as bad as soda. I don’t drink milk because it’s disgusting to me for some reason.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’d drink water with a lemon or lime slice or even an orange. A bottle of Realem Lemon or Lime juice will last a long time and you can say you are getting some Vitamin C too.
You can open a can of mandarin oranges and scoop one or two into the water. They will add a trace of sweet to the water it and you can eat the section as a finishing flourish.
It beats eating the worm in a Mezcal/Tequila.

ibstubro's avatar

I was trying to avoid the carbonation while I was at it, @hug_of_war. Yes, I love sparkling water…even club soda.

@tom_g Beer bloats. See above for sparkling water. (I’ve seen Poland Springs here.)

I might try the Stevia and decaf tea/lemonade, @ARE_you_kidding_me & @Judi. I’ve held back on that due to a lack of ice, but I recently purchased some trays I think will work for me.

Milk is alternately repulsive and the perfect drink for me, @ARE_you_kidding_me. I suspect it might be a vitamin deficiency for me.

@janbb I didn’t even know it was possible, and don’t know what happened?
@janbb I didn’t even know it was possible, and don’t know what happened?

I always have Real Lime and Real Lemon on hand @LuckyGuy. The mandarin orange slice is a cool idea, too.

Been there, done that, @Michael_Huntington. Unpopular choice.

Seek's avatar

I drink mostly hot tea, coffee, and sometimes Crystal Light lemonade. The peach lemonade is really yummy when I can find it

gailcalled's avatar

Cold water (from my well), with the all-important ice (also from my well) a good squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, and if needs must, a scant ½ t. granulated sugar. I often add a packet of EmergenC and any left-over morning.

When the weather’s nice, I pick some fresh mint leaves. I swill this stuff all day long.

ibstubro's avatar

For some reason Crystal Light has always messed with my kidneys, @Seek_Kolinahr.

GoldieAV16's avatar


I am mostly just a water drinker, but this stuff is the bomb if you need something with flavor to it. In the summer time I make a gallon as sun tea, and can drink it like water – which is saying a lot for me.

zenvelo's avatar

I drink sparkling mineral water. Sometimes I get mineral water with a hint of juice; such as Crystal Geyser or Calistoga Lime. or even Perrier grapefruit. No sugar and no added sugar substitutes.

Or, you can make a strong iccd tea concentrate (tea infused in a small amount of water) and then add mineral water.

Club Soda has added salt, so not the best.

glacial's avatar

Have you tried almond milk? I know it gets into a different mouthfeel category than soda, but you might enjoy it if you’re looking for variety. I’ll often have a carton of chocolate on hand – it’s one of the only sweet beverages I drink.

anniereborn's avatar

i’ll second @glacial ‘s Almond Milk. I also love Rice milk and it comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors.

cookieman's avatar

Schwepps makes sparkling, flavored water (lime, orange, black raspberry). It has no sugar or sugar substitute. Very yummy and it comes in a can, like soda!

keobooks's avatar

Get PLAIN soda water and flavor it with essential oils like lemon and orange peel.

gailcalled's avatar

edit: ‘left-over morning brewed tea.”

AshLeigh's avatar

I like vitamin water.

Judi's avatar

If you go the lemon oil route make sure you don’t use a plastic cup. It breaks down toxins and plastic is a toxin.

whitenoise's avatar

I love tea. Hot or cold.

You can also consider warm water instead of cold. Is a differeent experience all together.

glacial's avatar

@Judi ” It breaks down toxins and plastic is a toxin.”

This sounds strange to me. Can you explain this a bit? Or point us to a reference, perhaps?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Homemade iced tea. I drink it plain. If you prefer a sweetened beverage, you can use a zero-calorie, artificial sweetener such as Splenda or Equal.

I’m assuming that you’re in the U.S., where iced tea is popular. To all of our friends the United Kingdom, who just cringed when I suggested tea poured over ice, I apologize for the desecration!

Judi's avatar

@glacial , when I was first introduced to essential oils I was given some water with lemon oil in it. It was explained that lemon oil was a good detox oil. They then said to only use glass or metal glasses and demonstrated by pouring some pure lemon oil on a styrofoam cup and showed the cup start to deteriorate. I’m no scientist and didn’t ask all the questions as well as I might have but the implication was that if you put it in a plastic glass it could start to break down the plastic and you would be drinking the toxins in the plastic along with your lemon water.

glacial's avatar

@Judi Ok, it sounds like it breaks down Styrofoam, not necessarily “toxins” – and probably not plastic. It’s also good to remember that the concentration makes a difference on the effects it might have.

ibstubro's avatar

SPORTea sounds interesting @GoldieAV16. First I’ve heard if it…I’ll give a better look later. Thanks.

I like sparkling mineral water, @zenvelo. I used to use it to re-constitute a spoonful of frozen fruit juice, too.

I’m drinking soy milk, now. I’ve not tried almond yet, @glacial and the only rice milk I’ve had was shelf stable and ‘okay’ @anniereborn. Anybody weighing in on coconut milk in cartons with the milk alternatives now?

I’ve had the Schwepps, @cookieman, and it’s decent. About 2 weeks ago they had it $2 a 12, and I failed to buy any. Bought diet Ginger Ale instead. sigh

Yeah, @keobooks, @Judi is kinda giving us pointers on the essential oils. Chime in…I know nothing about them.

Vitamin water’s good, @AshLeigh. I’m talking about replacing replacing 4–7 cans of pop per day, though.

I’d like to get back to iced decaf tea when the weather warms, @whitenoise & @SadieMartinPaul. Used to be 95% of what I drank.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Why use the oils at all? What is wrong with a simple lemon wedge, lime wedge or mandarin orange? Pure as the driven snow. (of which I have plenty, if anyone wants any.)

@ibstubro 4–7 cans per day!!! Have you ever figured out how much you spend a month on pop? Does your father know you are spending that kind of money? You’d break his heart. ;-)

glacial's avatar

I second @LuckyGuy‘s lemon juice instead of lemon oil suggestion. Simple, cheap, healthy. And tasty.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have a lovely glass pitcher that I use to make flavored water – no sugar. Pour water over any one or two of the following, sliced apples, raspberries, strawberries, orange slices, or sliced celery and let it stand in the refrigerator overnight.

Pachy's avatar

You said not water, but I find highly carbonated water a great substitute. It doesn’t even have to be flavored. And thanks to my new SodaMaster, it’s always handy and cold. In fact, I’m off to get a big glass right this moment…

Seek's avatar

For those who like flavored water, but can’t be arsed to chop an orange every time they visit the refrigerator, they do make fruit infusing pitchers .

I bet you could get two or three pitchers’ worth of water out of the same fruit, if you drink a lot.

ibstubro's avatar

I like carbonated water, @Pachy but the jury’s still out on it, and I thought this might be a good time to give it up.

ibstubro's avatar

Yes, @LuckyGuy, I know I’m throwing money away on pop. The S/O gradually worked me into the habit, back when pop was easily bought for $2 a 12, or less.

keobooks's avatar

The essential oils are nice because you can easily carry them in your pocket, unlike a whole lemon or lime. One drop is good for a pitcher, though

downtide's avatar

I drink mostly tea (caffeine free Rooibos tea is my favourite but I get a whole range of different ones). Fruity teas are a nice way of getting fruit flavoured drinks without a ton of sugar (or HFC) in them.

hearkat's avatar

I don’t like carbonated beverages very much, but I also dislike plain water. I recently bought some of this ‘effervescet’ powder to put in water at work to give it some flavor, and it’s pretty good. However, my tastes might be different than others.

Otherwise, I drink a lot of herbal teas – I like Lemon Ginger and Peppermint teas.

ibstubro's avatar

That powder is great, @hearkat. I have a box and need to start drinking it of a morning again. Nice warm, too.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I am a big hot tea drinker. When I am ill I find that it does a good job settling my stomach.

LuckyGuy's avatar

So @ibstubro, did you work out the monthly expense for pop yet? I’ll bet you would find the answer shocking.
Come on, break out the calculator already!

ibstubro's avatar

I got the calculator @LuckyGuy, but this might be slow going!
We’re up to eleven!


ibstubro's avatar

I never pay more than $2.50 a 12, or about 20 cents a can. Say an average of 5 cans a day, for a little over $1 a day, or about $35 a month?

talljasperman's avatar

Chicken broth.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Good answer. Call it $35 per month. The price of cable. Or a great data plan on your phone or a nice dinner, or a deposit into your 401k ! Water is free.
I did not see you mention whether the pop is diet or not. If not, do you have any idea how much sugar and how many calories you are drinking per month?
I’ll save you the trouble.
If you are drinking the equivalent of standard Coke that comes to 150 cans per month at 142 calories each = 21,000 calories or roughly 7 pounds of fat per month. A can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar x 150 = 5850 grams = 13 pounds of sugar per month!

The $35 per month is bad. But the cost to your body is much greater.

I’m sorry if I sound like your mother. ;-)

ibstubro's avatar

Diet, yeah, and no caffeine past noon. All those chemicals are probably worse than the sugar, etc.

You’re preaching to the choir or I wouldn’t be giving thought to ending it. I’m shopping (somewhat) for a new refrigerator. What I should probably get is an ice maker…I’ll drink nearly anything as long as it has ice in it. Even (more) water.

But, hey, even if I stick with the pop, a guy’s gotta have a little splurge…I don’t have cable TV, data on my phone (or texting) and I can’t contribute to my 401k. My maps are paper, my radio broadcast, and the ONLY internet is satellite. Realistically, I could drink water and have a better satellite package.

ibstubro's avatar

I’d get pretty damned salty if I had to drink chicken broth all the time, @talljasperman. Even the “Chix” kind without dead bird juice in it. :D

talljasperman's avatar

@ibstubro You could get crystal light flavor packets.

ibstubro's avatar

Thanks, @talljasperman, but for some reason Crystal Light has messed with my kidneys since the day it came out.

Maybe I need some Stevia and lemon juice.

talljasperman's avatar

@ibstubro How about Kool-Aid.

ibstubro's avatar

@talljasperman it’s pretty gross without lots of SUGAR?

talljasperman's avatar

@ibstubro How about Gatorade? Or for this week only Egg Nog? When I am sick I drink Pepto Bismol and ginger ale, with chicken soup.

Judi's avatar

Gatorade has tons of sugar.

Seek's avatar

@talljasperman – We’re aiming for less sugar. And certainly not Pepto.

talljasperman's avatar

@ibstubro Banana milk shake? beer, wine, mead, apple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, mineral water, Slurpee, Froster, tonic water, Yop yogurt drink, A blended fruit and vegetable mix like V8… Would you go for a V8? If you don’t like the taste you can get some with fruit juices. I would go with a V8 as my suggestion. I’ll get some when I come into some cash…and meal replacement drinks for missed meals.

Judi's avatar

@talljasperman , a lot of those are loaded with calories. (Sugars.)

talljasperman's avatar

Coconut milk, Vitamin water, skim milk, Name brand cola anyway, Coke 0, yes. How about Coke0 (Zero calories)

Judi's avatar

Maybe the zero vitamin water. It’s sweetened with stevia.

hearkat's avatar

If the Now powder which you say you love isn’t enough of a soda substitute, @ibstubro, I’ve had a couple other thoughts:

When my son was young, I made “soda” for him by getting the flavored tonic water and putting a splash of fruit juice in it. To be honest, I don’t know what they use for flavoring in those… this was nearly 20 years ago.

I also like the San Pellegrino Fruit beverages, but they use real sugar to sweeten (32g = 140cal). Still, I’d rather have sugar than the artificial crap; Stevia only seems to taste OK to me in some formulas and not in others – when I tried the packets, they tasted like crap; and many items made with Stevia also have that bitterness.

Another thought is those Soda Stream machines that you use to make soda at home. I am wondering if there are healthy/natural syrups they sell or recipes available with natural ingredients from home.

Seek's avatar

I give my son tonic water with a lime wedge, too – usually when I’m making a cocktail for myself. Just remember to put the gin in the right glass, amirite?

It’s usually HFCS, lemon juice, and quinine. At least it fights malaria, right?

hearkat's avatar

My mistake, @Seek_Kolinahr and @ibstubro; I meant flavored Sparkling or Seltzer Water (not tonic water). Those show as having 0 calories and “natural” flavors. I was having a mental block on the name.

I checked the Soda Stream site and they have ‘natural’ syrups with tons of sugars and calories, their Diet uses Sucralose (Splenda), but they have calorie-free ‘natural’ flavors to add a drop to water without sweeteners.

ibstubro's avatar

Seltzer with a small scoop of frozen juice concentrate is nice, @hearkat. I had an “Emergen-C” that I loved, but when I went to replace it, the flavor was no longer. I like the box I have now pretty well, I just forget about it.

ibstubro's avatar

Aldi’s soy milk was twice as good as Walmart’s discount brand, BTW.

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