What Soft Drinks Do Not Have Any Kind of Acid in Them?

Refreshing Lemon and Lime Soda
Carbonated water in a glass garnished with a lime wedge. (Image: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images)

Whether or not you can find a soft drink without acid depends on how you define a “soft drink.” Some people immediately think of carbonated beverages when they hear the term soft drink. Since the carbonation comes from an acid, those drinks are by nature acidic. Other people consider a soft drink any drink that doesn’t have any “hard” liquor. In that case, start by looking at water.

Water

South Dakota’s Health Department pulls no punches when it comes to most soft drinks. It warns that they have “no nutritional value” and suggests people should opt instead for water and milk. In particular, it recommends that parents should set a good example by cutting back on their soft drink consumption and giving kids a limited amount of the drinks. The health officials point out that water has “no sugar, no acid, no calories and may contain fluoride, which actually makes teeth stronger.”

Flavored Water and Power Drinks

If you broaden your definition of soft drinks to include beverages such as flavored waters, energy drinks and juices, you may be missing the acids but you'll likely be getting extra sugar. South Dakota’s Department of Health warns that “sugar in soft drinks combines with bacteria in the mouth to form an acid.” That acid attacks tooth enamel with every sip. It recommends swishing your mouth with water after having a soft drink to dilute the sugar and interrupt the tooth decay process. Be aware that some of these drinks get their flavor from citric acid. Check the ingredient labels.

No Carbonated Drinks

Carbonated water is a key ingredient in fizzy soft drinks. It’s formed when carbon dioxide gas reacts with water and becomes carbonic acid. Ursula Jonsson of the American Beverage Association says “all carbonated beverages have acids --carbonic acid.” She notes that juices and teas may contain acids, too, though some of these are “naturally occurring.” Phosphoric acid is another acid commonly found in carbonated soft drinks. The American Beverage Association describes this acid as a flavoring agent that “provides tartness and acts as a preservative.” Cola lovers will be familiar with its tangy taste.

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