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Nutrition & Dieting/Alternative to Diet Drinks


Hi Laurie, I am 59 years old and fairly healthy. I have slight hypertension and GERD which I take medication for. I go to the gym 3 times weekly. I walk at a pace of 4.2 with an incline of 3-5 for 30 minutes. I also will run for one minute every 5 minutes at a pace of 7-8. I am 6feet tall and weigh about 224 pounds. I feel very healthy. I have an active job as an Emergency RN.
My question is concerning diet drinks. I have gone from regular sugar soft drinks to diets drinks(Coke Zero) and occasional ice tea sweetened with Splenda. I would like to now find a substitute for sweetened drinks. I have read plenty of info concerning non-sugar sweeteners. Would you know of any suggestions?

Hi John,
I think it's a great move, getting off of sweetened drinks! So many calories that are just wasted. There isn't really any danger to artificially sweetened drinks, in moderation (say, less than 6 per day). Especially now that there is a variety of sweeteners (so you would be getting some nutrasweet, some sucralose, etc, and not a big amount of any one).

But I, myself, am always seeking a beverage that has neither sugar nor a non-nutritive sweetener, and they are difficult to find.

Here are a few options.
Tea: There are hundreds of varieties of herbal teas. It doesn't have to be black tea or green tea or caffeinated tea. You can get peppermint or blueberry or jasmine teas. I brew a bag in a small amount of hot water and then add ice (be sure to put a metal knife in a glass with ice before you pour in a hot beverage to keep the glass from cracking). Any tea aisle in any grocery store will surprise you with all the fruity, flowery, and minty flavors. I've had licorice, gingersnap, and my current favorite is mango! So you always have a different flavor to try, or whatever your old stand-by is. They don't need sugar because of the mild sweet taste of the plant used (it's not really from a tea plant--it's from flowers or herbs so there's no caffeine)

Water: You can flavor water yourself with a small amount of juice. You can even cut up fruit and keep it in the bottom of a water pitcher for the day. Think citrus, strawberries, even kiwi. Sliced cucumber gives water a refreshing taste as well.

Flavored seltzer: My current favorite to replace soda. Check the label--there are many brands that say "zero calories!" or "just fruit-flavored carbonated water" but they have artificial sweetener. The brand local in St. Louis is La Croix and I'm not sure where else that is available--but cases are in the grocery store in the beverage aisle with flavors like lemon-lime, grapefruit, raspberry and even coconut at times. Seagram's is a national brand that has lemon-lime and other flavors. It takes a bit of getting used to because it's strong with the bubbles and no sweetener. But it's great to sip on and some of the flavors are more mild.

That's about all the options I've seen. Sometimes I'll find a "lightly sweetened" option like "honest tea" or a few random others that provide just 80 calories in a large bottle instead of the typical 180 or more. Hope this helps!

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Laurie Beebe, MS, RD, LD


As a registered dietitian (RD)I am fully qualified to accurately answer questions regarding weight loss, including those from people with health conditions requiring dietary restrictions (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc) who want to lose weight, or who have been advised to do so by their physician.


I have been a registered dietitian for over 30 years and have a certificate in Adult Weight Management through the commission on dietetic registration at Level 1 and Level 2. I am also trained in coaching through Coach U and currently work as a diet coach to help people lose weight the healthy way, through gradual habit changes.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group, Nutrition Entreprenuers, St.Louis International Coach Federation, Toastmasters

Publications,,,, Today's Dietitian

Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Florida, 1983; Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University 1985; Certificate in Adult Weight Management 2006; CoachU core essentials grad 2007; Level 2 certificate in Adult Weight Management 2010.

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