Posted by: Lowell | April 9, 2009

Zevia

Cailyn and I ran into a great soda at the store the other day.  I’ve largely stopped drinking soda of any kind, which is a topic for another post (suffice to say I strongly recommend against any sugar-based beverages, and have some educated cautions and misgivings about many normal diet sodas… enough that I skip them), but Zevia looks like it manages to get everything right:

image

It uses two of the best sweeteners out there—erythritol (a sugar alcohol), and stevia (a glycoside).  Sugar alcohols vary in their properties, but erythritol is great as it’s completely metabolically inert, both for humans and for bacteria, which means that it passes through your body without effect.  It’s also incredibly sweet, so you need very little in food and drink.  When used in solid (powder) form, it creates a cold sensation in your mouth; that’s because it actually absorbs heat when it dissolves into a liquid.  Stevia is also great, as it’s stable, is inert to bacteria (so no colon fermentation), and has no glycemic or metabolic response either… it’s also much sweeter than sugar.  Some people love or hate each, but when combined together they’re far more pleasing to a wider range of people.

Sweeteners in general, and artificial sweeteners in particular, are a major topic and will be one or more future posts.  Jumping to the end of the future post, my basic recommendation is that erythritol, xylitol, and stevia are all great, and sucralose is pretty okay too.  I recommend avoiding the others (natural/artificial both, caloric and non-caloric), though small quantities of aspartame are potentially okay, but the science and studies are currently conflicting.  In general, you won’t need or want sweet things when your body is healthy and isn’t addicted to insulin and carbohydrates… which is a large number of future posts.  They’re coming, I promise.

Back to Zevia—not only does it use very healthy sweeteners, making it a great zero-calorie treat, but they really hit the ball out of the park on the drink itself.  It isn’t overly sweet at all, and they really focused on getting the flavors right.  It’s pleasantly sweet, with nice rich flavor.  And there’s six great flavors from which to choose.  They also didn’t just try to copy existing soda flavors exactly, but seem—at least to me—to have gone for more classic and delicious flavors.  The cola has a distinct lemon/lime fruityness, and the root beer reminds me of the gourmet root beer you can get at our local hand-brewed root beer joint.  Cailyn and I both expected a more standard artificial tasting drink, but discovered something quite excellent.

For more on each flavor (or a convenient place to pick some up if you can’t find them locally), here’s some links directly to Amazon:

Cola:

ZEVIA Natural Cola - With Stevia (Case of 24)

Lemon/Lime (Twist):

ZEVIA Natural Twist - With Stevia (Case of 24) Zero Calories

Orange:

ZEVIA Natural Orange - With Stevia (Case of 24)

Root Beer:

ZEVIA Natural Root Beer - With Stevia (Case of 24) Zero Calories

Black Cherry:

ZEVIA Natural Black Cherry - With Stevia (Case of 24) Zero Calories

Ginger Ale:

ZEVIA Natural Ginger Ale - With Stevia (Case of 24)

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Responses

  1. Soda has always been my biggest vice, refined-carbohydrate-wise, and was giving it up was one of the hardest things about moving to a low-carb diet. While I’ve moved my at-work drink consumption to mostly coffee (black or with Splenda, no milk/creamer) and water, I still like to have flavorful cold drinks occasionally too, but I can’t handle aspartame-sweetened diet soda since I get headaches when I drink them (possibly due to a phantom insulin response, I’m not sure).

    I discovered this stuff on Amazon Fresh a couple weeks ago, and had much the same reaction as you to the sweeteners and ingredients used in this soda, especially since stevia is my favorite sweetener at the moment, and I ordered both the cola and the lemon-lime. I like the cola a lot, which doesn’t taste much like Coke or Pepsi, but tastes really good in its own right (it might taste a little like RC Cola if I’m remembering RC correctly). I am not, however, a fan of the lemon-lime and don’t recommend it. It tastes a little “off” from what I’m used to from Sprite, 7-Up and Sierra Mist. I just picked a 6-pack of the Orange from QFC though, and it tastes just as good as any normal sugar-sweetened orange soda. I look forward to trying their root beer and ginger ale as well when I can get my hands on them.

    Zevia is probably the first “diet” soda that I’d recommend to people who aren’t watching their carbs or calories, so that’s quite the endorsement in my mind.

    • Aspartame, like MSG, is a potential excitotoxin in the brain. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will have this affect for everyone in every case, but depending on magnesium and other blood levels, it’s been shown to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier and excite neurotransmitters enough to actually cause damage. That is often implicated as the underlying mechanism for aspartame or MSG related headaches.

      It’s the main reason I avoid aspartame now; in small quantities it shouldn’t build up enough to cause neuron damage, but with so many other good choices out there for sweeteners… why risk it?

    • The Twist Zevia tastes like Sierra Mist to me more than Sprite or 7-Up. It’s more citrus-y than the standard sodas, but I like it. I don’t like the orange as much, but I’ve never been a huge fan of orange soda in general. I used to be a big soda drinker too. The root beer is probably my favorite right now. Can’t wait to try the black cherry!


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