12 Best Diet Sodas on Grocery Shelves, According to Dietitians
It's no surprise that soda isn't good for your health. Drinking too many of these sugary, carbonated drinks on a regular basis can lead to numerous health complications that range from type 2 diabetes to obesity to heart disease—just to name a few. But gone are the days when the only healthy soda alternative was a boring glass of water (or sparkling water). These days, there are plenty of diet sodas out there that can satisfy your soda cravings with low-sugar options that taste like the real thing. The only problem now is that there are so many to choose from that you may not know what the best diet soda brands are.
For those looking to savor the refreshing fizz of a soda without the guilt of excess sugar or calories, we spoke to registered dietitians to uncover the top diet soda contenders that not only satisfy your taste buds but also align with your health goals. Whether you want to reduce added sugar intake, cut calories, or simply find a refreshing, bubbly beverage, our expert recommendations will help you make an informed choice on your next grocery store run.
How we selected the best diet sodas
- Taste: Diet sodas notoriously have a bad reputation for their aftertaste from artificial sweeteners.
- Added sugar: One of the main health reasons for choosing diet soda in the first place is the low sugar content! Diet sodas these days are sweetened with everything from stevia and monk fruit to Splenda to aspartame. While they all are sugar-free options, you might find that you prefer one over the other. Artificial sweeteners are safe in small doses, such as the amount in one diet soda. However, if you're drinking several per day or using them to blunt your appetite instead of eating, you might want to pare it back.
- Sodium: Traditional diet sodas do contain sodium and depending on how many you plan on drinking in a day, this added salt can add up quickly!
- Personal preference: You might find that you don't mind the taste of stevia at all, but sucralose is overpowering for you, for example. Everyone has their own unique preferences when it comes to diet soda. That's why we are sharing both traditional diet and modern "healthified" sodas—and why we like them both for different reasons!
Let's find out exactly what dietitians have to say about the best diet sodas on grocery store shelves! Read on, and for more, don't miss 8 Soda Brands To Stay Away From Right Now.
"If you're looking for a soda alternative, I'd recommend a functional soda like OLIPOP that combines the classic soda taste with the benefits of plant-based fiber, prebiotics, and other botanical ingredients to help support gut health," says Melissa Boufounos, CHN, sports nutritionist and owner of MB Performance Nutrition.
While traditional soda is loaded with sugar and additives, each can of OLIPOP has 35-45 calories, contains 2 to 5 grams of natural sugars, and provides a whopping 9 grams of prebiotic plant fiber, which is 32% of the Daily Value for fiber, Boujounos adds.
Sweetened with organic agave, MAYAWELL is a low-calorie beverage option that also doubles as a gut-friendly prebiotic soda. With fruity flavors like raspberry, strawberry ginger, and pineapple, we love that each can has less than 40 calories, 4 grams of added sugar, and 5 grams of fiber. If you are not a fan of artificial aftertaste, you would likely love this product as the only sweetener it uses is agave nectar—no artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners here!
If you are looking for a cola that is low in sugar, has no added salt, and you love the taste of stevia, you have met your match. We love Zevia soda for its comparable cola flavor and the fact that it's naturally sweetened with stevia. Free from artificial sweeteners and their aftertaste which is an aversion for some, many people find that Zevia is a great alternative that doesn't taste like diet drinks. This product does contain 45 milligrams of caffeine, so keep that in mind if you are sensitive to caffeine late in the day.
Chrissy Barth, RD shares why she loves Zevia: "It comes in a variety of flavors, contains zero sugar, is naturally sweetened with stevia, and tastes great!"
Virgil's Zero Sugar Cola
Made with erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol, Virgil's makes a wonderful sugar-free alternative to regular soda. For some folks, sugar alcohols can upset your stomach, so if you are prone to these types of side effects you may want to skip this one. We think the blend of sugar alcohol, stevia, and Monk fruit here tastes fairly sweet and not at all like diet soda.
Virgil's Zero Sugar is a great diet soda alternative that is low in sugar, keto-friendly, and has a great taste, says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT of One Pot Wellness. "It contains zero sugar and is made with a proprietary all-natural sweetener blend (erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit). I love that it comes in a variety of flavors, including Cola, Root Beer, Ginger Ale, and Cream Soda, which makes it easy to find diet soda alternatives for all flavors," Chun shares.
With just 30 calories per can, these diet sodas offer a healthy alternative for folks who want to enjoy some bubbly without the extra sugar intake. Made with a blend of sugar alcohols and stevia, one can contains 6 grams of sugar and 7 grams of erythritol. If erythritol tends to upset your stomach, you might consider choosing another option here.
Made with unique flavors like pink grapefruit and ginger or strawberry and rhubarb, Culture POP is a fruity soda that will have you coming back again and again. Sweetened lightly with fruit juices, most cans contain six total sugars from natural sources. We also love that they add life probiotics for a gut health boost to boot. With 40 calories per serving, these sodas are significantly less than typical sweet drinks. If you are not a fan of artificial sweeteners, you'll love the all natural taste of fruit juice.
Made with organic cane sugar and apple juice, Poppi contains 4 grams of added sugar and 2 grams of fiber. Made with apple cider vinegar and prebiotic fiber from inulin for gut health, these beverages are significantly healthier than regular sodas on the market. While they do have some calories and small amounts of added sugar, it is significantly less than products with a day's worth of added sugar in a bottle.
Made with zero calories, added electrolytes, and amino acids, this hydrating diet soda from Fit Soda is great for folks who are active and looking for a sugar-free, soda alternative to add to their routine. Sweetened with sucralose, and caffeine-free, we love the natural taste of this diet soda that doesn't taste diet!
Reed's Zero Sugar Ginger Ale
Made with real, organic ginger root, lemon, and lime juice, it doesn't get more fresh and delicious than Reed's Zero Sugar Ginger Ale. Made with erythritol, Stevia leaf extract, and monk fruit extract, this beverage is made with a blend of natural sugars that don't have a bad aftertaste like many other diet sodas. You'll also notice that you want to get a blood sugar crash as this product is sugar-free and low in sodium.
Diet Dr. Pepper
Diet Dr. Pepper has long been a fan favorite, and for good reason, it doesn't taste like diet! Sweetened with aspartame, drinking Diet Dr. Pepper in moderation is considered safe and might scratch your itch if you love soda but don't want the added sugar.
"My favorite go-to diet soda option when I am craving something more bubbly is Diet Dr. Pepper. It tastes superior to the original Dr. Pepper in my opinion and doesn't leave you with that bad after-taste that you experience with other diet sodas. I definitely enjoy it in moderation so the sodium and aspartame don't add up, but it always perfectly satisfies my soda craving," claims Brittany DeLaurentis, MPH, RD, CSO, LD.
Zero Sugar Sunkist
Diet Sunkist has gone through a rebrand and is now Zero Sugar Sunkist! With the combination of aspartame and acesulfame potassium, this orange soda has the classic flavor you love without the sugar. With 85 milligrams of sodium, this soda is a bit higher than other options on the market. As long as you're not having more than one or two per day, we aren't too worried about it. The orange flavor shines through, with very little aftertaste or artificial sweetener flavor.
If you are a diehard Coca-Cola fan, then you may already love Coca-Cola Zero. Coca-Cola Zero is the spinoff of sugar-free diet drinks, and it is actually quite similar to Diet Coke when you look at the nutrition facts. With just 40 mg of sodium, you'll find that not only is this product sugar-free but it is also low in sodium compared to other types of diet drinks.
"I honestly can't taste the difference between regular and Coke zero sugar. The sweeteners used are Aspartame and Acesulfame potassium, which are safe in moderation," says Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD.