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Crave Soda? Here Are 5 Bone-Healthy Alternatives

bone-healthy-sodas

Summer is a time for picnics, fairs, and all kinds of outdoor gatherings. And there always seems to be a cooler at these events, filled with soft drinks. But these sugary beverages, and especially cola, harm your bones and take a heavy toll on your overall health.

Not surprisingly, many in the community have sent emails asking for bone-healthy substitutes for these sweet, carbonated drinks.

So today, I’ll share with you five flavor-filled, bone healthy replacements for sodas. It might take a little more work than just buying them off the store shelves, but it’s well worth it because they’re bone-healthy and delicious.

First, I’d like to clarify that…

The Bubbles Aren’t the Problem

The carbonation itself is not a health issue. There tends to be confusion in this area because research has found a connection between consuming carbonated drinks and losing bone density. But when non-cola carbonated drinks (such as sparkling water) were consumed, bone loss did not result. Clearly, it’s the other ingredients that cause bone loss.

What “Other Ingredients”?

As I mentioned earlier, soda in general and cola in particular are extremely corrosive liquid. The most damaging ingredients are:

  • Phosphoric acid is what makes cola so incredibly corrosive, to the point that it removes rust from car batteries. A simple test done on a hardboiled egg shows how phosphoric acid breaks down calcium. You can watch a time-lapse video of this incredible process.

    This gives you a graphic picture of what phosphoric acid does to your bones.

  • Sugar and High-Fructose Corn Syrup are both bone-destroyers. Sugar is extremely acidifying and actually causes your body to excrete calcium, a phenomenon shown in a study from all the way back in 1979.1 (You’d think we’d have learned something about the detrimental effects of sugar by now!)

    High-fructose corn syrup is full of fructose and glucose molecules that are “unbounded,” meaning they can cause tissue damage (much like free radicals). In addition, high-fructose corn syrup is made from genetically-modified corn, and it may even contain mercury.

  • Sodium Benzoate occurs naturally in some foods, but is isolated and used as a chemical preservative in industrial applications as well as in highly processed foods, cosmetics, dyes, and pharmaceuticals. It’s commonly used to prevent rust in automobile engines.

    What’s even more frightening about this chemical is that, when combined with Vitamin C (a Foundation Supplement), sodium benzoate forms a substance called benzene, which is reported to cause various forms of cancer. Benzene, an acidifying chemical, is also implicated as a causal factor in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

  • Caramel Coloring may sound like an innocent substance, but it’s actually extracted by a chemical process involving ammonium-sulfites. In fact, 4-methylimidazole, a component of caramel coloring, has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.2

Bone-Healthy Alternatives to Soda

If you’re following the Save Our Bones Program, and if you’re a regular reader, then you know that the best drink for your bones is distilled water with a few drops of lemon juice. But there’s something refreshing about a cold, fizzy drink, especially in hot weather. If you’re a regular soda drinker and want to transition to healthier beverages, these recipes will be very helpful.

Making Your Own Sodas: General Tips

The soda recipes I’ll give you today contain ingredients that promote bone health, like fruit juice and the bone-healthy sweetener stevia. Stevia and contains bone-friendly ingredients like magnesium and prebiotics.

Let’s get started with some general tips for making your own sodas.

  • Use seltzer water and make sure it is thoroughly chilled. As it warms, it loses carbonation.
  • Some of the herb-based flavor syrups do not hold up to long storage times, so make small batches and consume them within a few days.
  • Fruit-based flavor syrups can be stored for up to a week.
  • To make soda from these syrup recipes, stir 2 or 3 tablespoons into 8 ounces of chilled seltzer water. Of course, feel free to experiment.
  • Pour the seltzer water into the glass first, and then add the flavored syrup. This allows you to adjust the amount of syrup to taste.

5 Delicious, Bone-Building Soda Recipes

Ginger Ale

Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory herb with a spicy flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peeled ginger root, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups purified water, preferably distilled
  • 1 lime or lemon, cut into quarters
  • 1/3 cup stevia (adjust to taste)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Gently simmer for 30 minutes. Allow mixture to cool, and then strain. Use a funnel to pour this sweet syrup into a bottle or jar, cap tightly, and place in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Sour Cherry

Cherries pack a lot of nutrients that are good for your bones.

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts fresh sour cherries, pits removed (any fresh cherries will do if you can’t get the sour variety)
  • 1/3 cup stevia (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer for 30 minutes and allow to cool. Strain into a bottle or jar and refrigerate for up to a week.

Lemon-Basil

The cleansing, alkalizing benefits of lemon are no well-known to “Savers,” and alkalizing basil is full of Foundation Supplements like calcium, manganese, and magnesium.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup purified water, preferably distilled
  • 1/4 cup stevia (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (adjust to taste)

Directions:

Place the water, stevia, and basil in a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cool, stir in lemon juice, and strain into a bottle or jar. Refrigerate for a day or two.

Mango Lime

Mangoes are rich in Vitamin C and bone-healthy carotenoids.

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons stevia (you may have a very sweet mango and need less)
  • 2 cups purified water, preferably distilled
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, cool, and strain. Refrigerate for up to a week.

Strawberry Lime

Limes are alkalizing, and strawberries boast Vitamin C and antioxidants called polyphenols. Strawberries also fight pain and inflammation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup purified water, preferably distilled
  • 1/4 cup stevia (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 sliced strawberries

Directions:

Place water, lime juice, and stevia into a saucepan; simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Strain into a bottle or jar and refrigerate for up to a week. Add the strawberries directly to the glass before you pour in the seltzer water and make the soda.

Till next time,

References

1 Lawoyin, S., et al. “Bone mineral content in patients with calcium urolithiasis.” Metabolism 28:1250-1254.1979.
2 “NTP Technical Report on the Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of 4-Mathylimidazole in F344/N Rates and B6C3F Mice.” National Toxicology Program, North Carolina, January 2007. Web. http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/?objectid=9B956B07-F1F6-975E-79BBCDCCD57001C8

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32 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. joy markman March 19, 2014, 10:52 am

    Vivian, in connection with SLIMTEVIA, I am still not convinced it is O.K. In your answer article you mentioned all the additives except the fructos – fructos, if it is not natural e.g. eating it in fruit & is changed in a laboratory it causes cancer. Magnesium carbonate – isn’t the carbonate badly absorbed, & can leave pockets of chalk in the body. Please prove me otherwise.
    Yours sincerely, Joy Markman

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 19, 2014, 11:26 am

      Hi Joy,
      It’s true that fructose in large quantities is detrimental to your health – in fact, large quantities of high-fructose corn syrup in sodas is one good reason to avoid them! But the amount of fructose (fruit sugar) that is in Slimtevia is minuscule, and does not pose a health threat. :) It contains just enough fructose to balance the natural bitterness of stevia.

      In addition, the amount of magnesium carbonate in Slimtevia is also minuscule, and does not pose a problem. :)

  2. Cindy Thomas March 15, 2014, 11:03 am

    In your article for soda alternatives– using strawberries and lime juice– It states to only use 2 sliced strawberries. Is that the right amount?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 19, 2014, 11:06 am

      Yes, 2 sliced strawberries is correct – but feel free to use more or less as you prefer!

  3. kathy B March 10, 2014, 7:01 am

    Your soda flavourings look great. I have to tell you that SodaStream will turn water into carbonated sparkling water in seconds. It’s a terrific product, am enjoying. Now, will try your flavourings with my home made sodas to enjoy healthy (maybe even distilled ) carbonated drinks.

    thank you for your site.

  4. karla July 25, 2013, 11:34 am

    I have had osteoporosis for several years and have even had forteo injections everyday for a year to help regrow my bones. I was scared to get the injections but also scared of fractures if I didn’t get them. I would love to have a healthy alternative to help my bone growth.

  5. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel) July 23, 2013, 1:30 pm

    Hi! Vivian

    In Those Recipes For The 5 Delicious Bone-Building Recipes; Can You Use Stevia Instead Of Slimtevia? Because That’s What I’ve Been Using!

    And I Thank You Very Much, As Always, For All You Do To Help Us Save Our Bones!

    LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)

  6. Pearl July 21, 2013, 7:34 am

    Just reading about the slimtevia, apparently it contains fructose, so would not be any good for someone who is fructose intolerant.

  7. Denise Houde July 20, 2013, 9:46 am

    Is organic milk good for you? tHANK YOU FOR ALL THE GOOD INFORMATION.

  8. Denise Houde July 20, 2013, 9:42 am

    Is organic milk good for you?

  9. Diane July 19, 2013, 10:54 am

    What about drinks like Izzy, it’s a fuit juice fizzy drink you can buy at many grocery stores and Whole Foods?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 19, 2013, 1:34 pm

      Just check the ingredients, Diane, and see if they “measure up” to the Save Our Bones recommendations. :)

      • Diane July 20, 2013, 10:50 am

        Checked the ingredients, fruit juices, sparkling water, citric acid and natural fruit flavors, that’s it, sounds like it passes. It may be a little high in sugar with 29g but I guess that’s to be expected with the fruit juice. Newman’s Own Diet Lemonade has lemon juice, lemon pulp and has stevia but some sugar too, does the sugar make it acidic or does it count as alkaline because all but one ingredient is alkaline?

  10. Louise July 19, 2013, 12:57 am

    What are your thoughts concerning PROLIA? My doctor has suggested the injections to me. I question this because of my immune system plus other reasons. I would appreciate any words of wisdom concerning this. Thank you Louise

  11. Ildi Urban July 19, 2013, 12:04 am

    Vivian, thank you for your email about soda drinks.
    I have for a long time been using sparkling mineral water, with a small amount of apple juice concentrate, to make a delicious sparkling drink.
    Is this ok ? You mention seltzer water – I am not familiar with this water. Where can one buy it, and is the natural mineral water (unflavoured, just bubbles added) ok to drink sometimes?

    • Sue July 19, 2013, 8:47 am

      Most, if not all, grocery stores carry seltzer water. It is inexpensive and comes in various flavors such as lemon/lime, raspberry and orange. No need to add anything to flavor it!

      • Ildi Urban July 20, 2013, 7:57 am

        I live in Australia and have never seen it. I wonder if it is under a different name here ?

        • PatinDC May 29, 2014, 6:12 am

          Club Soda

  12. Mark July 18, 2013, 4:00 pm

    Thanks for these recipes! I can’t wait to try them. I stopped drinking soda pop almost four years ago and have spent a lot of time looking for an alternative that is healthy as well as tasty. My favorite it seltzer and fruit juice. I fill my glass ice, pour in the seltzer to about an inch from the top of the glass, and then fill the rest with 100% no sugar added fruit juice such as cranberry grape or pomegranate berry. I like your recipes and it will help me to take it to the next level by making my own syrup! I also like the idea of making my own seltzer with an appliance. A liter bottle of seltzer costs about a dollar and it can get a bit pricey if you drink it regularly. I think a seltzer maker would pay for itself quite quickly.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 19, 2013, 1:33 pm

      Good point, Mark – then you could add carbonation to bone-healthy distilled water!

  13. carol July 18, 2013, 1:07 pm

    Is there a way to print this to just get the recipes & not everything else?

    • Sharon July 18, 2013, 4:01 pm

      copy it onto a word document- that’s what I have done

  14. marge201 July 18, 2013, 12:44 pm

    Seltzer is always better than club soda due to the sodium in club soda and none in seltzer. The best way to have seltzer is to buy a seltzer maker:
    http://www.sodastreamusa.com/

    About slimtevia, I use very little sugar (only in my DIY popsicles), so I will stick with sugar. Didn’t read carefully the slimtevia site but can it really be healthier than sugar? Isn’t it a factory-made commodity?

    Whatever the case, Vivian, I appreciate your emails and valuable information.

  15. SZY LIZ July 18, 2013, 10:41 am

    Been looking for this answer, thanks!

  16. Shirley Gekler July 18, 2013, 9:35 am

    Great article and thanks for the soda receipes. Will try them soon.

  17. Jean Marshall July 18, 2013, 9:33 am

    Can Sparkling Water or Club Soda work?

  18. AnneLark July 18, 2013, 8:48 am

    Have you heard of, or seen any research on kombucha tea and its effects on bones? It is a delightful naturally fermented sweet tea made with any number of kinds of teas, white sugar, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It can be store bought or home brewed. It is said to have many benefits, and has a long history far back in the Russian past.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 19, 2013, 1:31 pm

      I have not done any research on kombucha tea, Anne – but probiotics are excellent for bone health. :)

  19. marie July 18, 2013, 8:05 am

    What do mean when you say seltzer water?

  20. Laura July 18, 2013, 7:35 am

    Hello,

    Could Sucanat be substituted for using Slimtevia? Or maple syrup? Or honey?

    Enjoy,
    Laura

  21. Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 18, 2013, 7:12 am

    No, you can add the flavor syrup to the seltzer water as soon as it’s cooled, Luli! The refrigeration times are for any syrup you don’t use right away. :)

  22. Luli July 18, 2013, 5:54 am

    Hi Vivian, about the bone-building soda recipes, when you say place it in the refrigerator, (for example), for up to 2 weeks, does it mean that we should drink it only after this period?
    Thank you, Luli

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