Diet cherry limeade is just one of the many beverage options at Sonic, a fast-food chain restaurant that serves burgers and shakes. Being a diet drink makes it lower in sugar and calories than the traditional cherry lemonade, but that doesn't mean it's healthy. While the occasional diet cherry limeade can be an acceptable part of your diet, this beverage doesn't deserve a prominent place in your healthy eating plan because it's so low in nutrients. Use a calorie counter app to track your order at a fast food restaurant so not to go too overboard.
According to Sonic, both a mini and small diet cherry limeade contains 15 calories. If you order a medium or large size, your drink comes in at 20 calories, and if you order a Route 44 size, you'll be cruising up to 25 calories. These are much lower totals than the regular cherry limeade at Sonic. For comparison, a small size of the regular version contains 170 calories. The medium cherry limeade contains 230 calories, and the large has 340 calories. The Route 44 size has a whopping 460 calories.
Low in Sugar
The diet cherry limeade isn't sugar-free, but it is much lower in sugar than the regular version of the drink. Watching your intake of sugar is a good way to reduce your risk of obesity, type-2 diabetes and heart disease. For reference, when considering the sugar content of the beverage, the American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day and that men limit themselves to 9 teaspoons or less each day. The diet cherry limeade, in any size, contains 2 grams of sugar, which is about 1/2 teaspoon. For comparison, a small regular version of the drink has 45 grams of sugar, while the medium size has 60 grams. The large regular version has 89 grams of sugar, and the Route 44 size drives up your sugar consumption to 121 grams, which is about 30 teaspoons.
Lack of Nutrients
Though the diet cherry limeade at Sonic is low in calories and sugar, that doesn't make it a nutritious beverage. The only nutrient the beverage supplies is vitamin C. The mini and small sizes deliver 4 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements, while the medium supplies 7 percent. The large size supplies 10 percent of your daily vitamin C needs, and the Route 44 size delivers 14 percent. The diet cherry limeade doesn't supply any vitamin A, iron or calcium, however. The drinks contain a trace amount of sodium, but the amount is negligible.
Healthy Cherry Limeade
There's nothing wrong with the occasional serving of diet cherry limeade, but don't make it a regular part of your diet, and stick to one of the mini or small sizes. Anything larger can fill you up, leaving you less hungry for other more nutritious foods. You might also consider making your own cherry limeade so you can control what ingredients you use. Rather than using low-sugar flavored syrup like Sonic does, puree fresh pitted cherries with fresh lime juice, lime zest and ice to make a similar concoction that doesn't contain any added sugar but that also supplies vitamin C, fiber and potassium.