If you're concerned about the possible negative effects of Coke and other sugary, sweetened soft drinks on your waistline and health, there are plenty of healthier alternatives. Sugary soft drinks should be drunk rarely, if at all. A typical can of regular soda has 150 calories and 10 tsp. of sugar. Sugary soft drinks can lead to fuzzy thinking from hypoglycemia, vitamin and calcium deficiencies, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, notes the Franklin Institute's Resources for Science Learning.
Plain water is the healthiest drink, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. If plain water is too boring for you, there are some ways to make it interesting while still keeping it healthy. Make your own flavor-infused spa water by adding crushed fresh mint, citrus fruit zest, peeled, sliced ginger or sliced cucumber to a cold pitcher or glass of water. Or drink 12 oz. of sparkling water with 1 oz. of your favorite juice, to add flavor with only a little sugar.
Avoid sugary sweetened iced teas, which are no better than soda. Instead, make your own iced tea. Choose your favorite kind of tea, or try a fruit-flavored herbal blend or one flavored with vanilla, cinnamon or other spices. Add 1 tsp. of sugar or honey for sweetness. Black and green teas have the extra bonus of antioxidants and flavonoids, substances that are good for your health.
Skim or low-fat milk is a healthy substitute for Coke and other sweetened soft drinks. If you're a regular cola drinker you might skip milk, which can lead to deficiencies in calcium, magnesium and vitamin A, according to the Franklin Institute. Fortified milk is also one of the best sources of vitamin D in the diet. Skim or 1 percent milk also provides you with protein and is low in saturated fat.
Fresh Fruit Cooler
Avoid store-bought smoothies. Although they're marketed as a healthy choice, most are loaded with sugar and calories. Instead, try the Harvard School of Public Health's recipe for a fresh fruit cooler. Combine 1/2 cup of ice, 3/4 cup of unsweetened sparkling water and 1/3 cup of berries or melon in a blender. Garnish with chopped mint leaves or a few slices of citrus fruit.
Low-sodium beef, chicken or miso broth can satisfy your thirst and provide needed fluids without sugar. Only drink broths that have less than 200mg of sodium per serving.