Sodas are increasingly including caffeine in their ingredients. Caffeine has plenty of negative health effects, including bone density loss, moodiness, and can trigger headaches. Obviously, the best choice would be to switch from drinking soda to water and milk, but if you love a good carbonated beverage without the harmful effects of caffeine try one of these. Also, double-check the “avoid” list as there are some caffeinated beverages that could easily masquerade as a caffeine-free option.
Lemon-Lime Soda: You have a whole range of lemon-lime sodas to choose from. Sprite, 7Up, and Sierra Mist are the most popular lemon-lime varieties. 7Up is now made from 100% natural flavors, which doesn’t add to the health benefits necessarily but improves the taste. However, it’s all a matter of preference as to which lemon-lime soda is the best.
Avoid: Sprite 3G (promoted as an energy drink), Surge, and be wary of any lemon-lime soda that has the name “Twisted” or other name that evokes the sound of inducing energy. As always, check the ingredient label to make sure your lemon-lime choice is caffeine free. Most that are will have it advertised right on the front or the side of the label.
Orange Soda: Who doesn’t love a good orange soda? There are many different brands to choose from including Fanta and Crush. Refreshing and tasty and usually caffeine free.
Avoid: Sunkist. Yes, that’s right. Sunkist orange soda has caffeine in it. Surprising, isn’t it? So if you want to drink orange soda without caffeine avoid Sunkist.
Fruit-flavored Soda: Fruit-flavored sodas go beyond lemon-lime and orange. You can find strawberry, grape, and even fun mixed fruit-flavored soft drinks. The line of Fanta sodas are caffeine-free and come in a variety of flavors. Also, 7Up has Cherry 7Up, which has a sumptuous taste, antioxidants added, and is caffeine-free.
Avoid: Big Red. It may look like an innocent fruit-flavored soft drink but what lurks within the ingredient list is surprising. Caffeine is subtly listed within the tiny print of ingredients.
Root Beer: Root beer is a tasty treat, especially if you add ice-cream and make a root beer float. A&W and Mug root beer are both caffeine free, as well as many lesser known brands.
Avoid: Barq’s. I used to think that all root beer was caffeine-free until I read the ingredients list of Barq’s root beer. So even when choosing a root beer soft drink, you need to still be careful about the possibility of it containing caffeine.
Caffeine-free Colas: Most popular caffeinated soft drinks also come in a non-caffeinated counterpart. So if you absolutely love your Coca-Cola or Pepsi you can give up caffeine without giving up your cola soda. Just look for the “Caffeine-free” label on the cola product.
Avoid: Be aware that just because a soda is diet doesn’t mean it is also caffeine-free. If you drink a diet soda cola it may still contain caffeine, so double-check the ingredients list beforehand.
Remember, if you are trying to avoid caffeine in your beverages, always check the ingredients label. Caffeine will clearly be mentioned in the list if it is in the drink (however, it is not required for a product to list how much caffeine is in it). Most beverages that are caffeine-free will have it advertised right on the front or the side of the label. So if you are looking to cut out or cut back on your caffeine consumption just check the label and soon you’ll be a pro at knowing right away which drinks are without caffeine.