12 Aspartame-Free Beverages To Drink When You're Feuding With Diet Soda

The ongoing slurping of diet soda comes with many health risks. With continual speculation surrounding the topic of the effects of aspartame on the body, many are wondering whether downing a can of diet soda daily actually benefits their health. As a result, people are seeking answers for how to make the break from diet a little easier — and a little tastier, too.

So, what else is there to drink other than a can of diet soda? You'd be surprised. There are many options out there that can not only replace your need for a diet drink, but may even have you wondering why you craved the stuff in the first place. We hope that our curated list of deliciously healthy drink options won't only inspire you to make the switch, but will also benefit your body in ways you've never thought of. Quench your thirst for knowledge and bid farewell to diet soda as we unveil the most tempting alternatives to tickle your taste buds, and keep you refreshingly satisfied!

1. Kombucha

Love fizz and flavor, but don't want the health risks of aspartame and artificial sweeteners? If so, you may want to try kombucha on for size. Kombucha has a myriad of health benefits, including offering your body a healthy dose of antioxidants, while also working to fight against heart disease (via Healthline). Also, since most of the sugar used in kombucha is fermented out during the process, you won't have to worry much about high sugar content, though the drink will remain fizzy and flavorful, nonetheless.

Still, it's important to note that not all kombucha brands are the same. While most will offer great taste and the general benefits of probiotics, some will also contain a higher amount of added sugar than others. If diet soda was your jam for weight loss reasons, you may wish to scan the label before experimenting with any specific kombucha brands. Also, if it is aspartame, sucralose, or other artificial sweeteners you're dodging, be sure to avoid kombucha labeled as "no sugar," "sugar-free," or "no sugar added," as these often contain the same controversial sweetening agents that diet sodas do.

2. Coffee

If you need caffeine and want to give up diet soda, why not give coffee a go? Coffee comes in a variety of rich and robust roasts, giving you ample opportunity to get your hands on something that suits your taste buds. Not only this, but you can dress coffee up in a number of ways, whether you're a milk-and-sugar type of person or like to take it straight. Whatever the case, you can rely on coffee to give you the energy boost you need while also providing a few health benefits without all the artificial ick that usually accompanies your standard can of diet soda.

Trying to avoid caffeine? Don't worry. Decaf coffee tastes just as good, and comes in many of the fun flavors and varieties you'd expect from a standard brew. Decaf also comes with a plethora of health benefits similar to that of normal coffee, including the reduction of the risk of premature death, and a wide range of antioxidants (via Healthline).

Though coffee has benefits, limit your intake, especially if you choose to drink the traditionally caffeinated variety. According to Mayo Clinic, consuming too much caffeine on a regular basis can have its own set of negative effects such as irritability, muscle tremors, and insomnia. Also, if you're pregnant, be sure to only consume 200 milligrams of caffeine a day, if you reach for it at all.

3. Sparkling water

Sparkling water is an amazing substitute for diet soda, especially if it's hydration, flavor, and bubbly excitement you're after. Sparkling water comes in a plethora of wonderful flavors, all with the same delightful fizzy carbonation from diet soda that used to leave you feeling refreshed. Sparkling water drinks are also highly accessible, meaning you can find them practically anywhere, from lining grocery store shelves to gas station coolers.

Although sparkling water is a good substitute for diet soda, much like kombucha, you'll need to watch for brands that contain unwanted sweeteners. Though it isn't common for sparkling waters to contain added sugar, they do often contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose to give them a sweet taste without bogging them down with unwanted sugar. But don't worry; brands like LaCroix, Bubly, and others are widely available in a multitude of flavor options, and contain nothing but carbonated water and bold, natural fruit-flavored essences.

Ultimately, when selecting sparkling water to drink, you should always look at the label before drinking. Though plain seltzers and club sodas sold at restaurants are generally safe choices, others, such as store-brand sparkling waters, aren't always void of aspartame. Check the label first, and defer to brands like LaCroix and Bubly to sidestep icky artificial sweeteners that may pose a risk to your health.

4. Homemade infused water

If you want to consume pure water, but just can't seem to get over its dull taste, we've got an awesome hack for you that can help take your hydration game to the next level. Try taking a pitcher of plain water, and adding to it a variety of fruits and herbs to create your own fruit-infused water at home with no added sugar and several health benefits.

That's right. Crafting your own fruit-infused water right from the comfort of your home can potentially offer health advantages such as reducing your carb intake, and the satisfaction of quenching your insatiable thirst. Moreover, using your own ingredients at home guarantees that you know what's in your drink, allowing you to control the flavoring of your sip simply by changing up what's in it. So, how do you get started?

Start with freshly washed plain or frozen fruit. Place it in the bottom of your pitcher or in the designated chamber within your infusing water bottle. Fill the rest of the pitcher or water bottle with clean water, and allow it to sit in the fridge. Ideally, you'll infuse your water for several hours or overnight before removing the fruit. Strain any stray pieces of fruit using a fine mesh strainer, and add fresh fruit and ice cubes (both are optional) before downing your drink.

5. Unsweetened iced tea

Iced tea is a deliciously refreshing way to cut back on diet soda. Though it doesn't contain any sparkling joy, iced tea has a special way of hitting the spot and scratching that itch for something other than water; it even packs potential health benefits, to boot!

Depending on the type of iced tea you get, you may be able to take advantage of a wide variety of health benefits. Iced black tea, for example, is known for better heart health and improved focus (via UCLA Health), while iced green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants. Need a boost of caffeine? Unlike most other beverages on the list, unsweetened iced tea provides a decent dose of caffeinated energy, as well.

There is one thing you'll need to look out for when selecting an iced tea beverage, and that's added sugar. In fact, iced tea is notorious for hiding unsavory ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup to help improve the taste. It is for this reason that you must select unsweetened tea if you're looking to cut back on sugar. If you like your tea a bit sweeter, don't worry. You could always add a teaspoon of honey, natural maple syrup, or a tiny dose of table sugar to help sweeten it up a bit.

6. Herbal tea

We've already covered iced tea as a notable substitution for diet soda, but home-brewed hot herbal teas can be just as impressive. Choose from a wide range of herbal varieties, including soothing chamomile, peppy peppermint, or a classic Earl Grey. Take your tea black for a tranquil unsweetened sip, or add a bit of cream and honey for a richer, more decadent experience. Whichever you choose, just make sure to note the directions for how to brew the tea, ensuring that you keep steeping times within the recommended interval to avoid an overly bitter tea taste.

Also, bear in mind that different types of herbal teas will have varying amounts of caffeine. Some teas, like chamomile and peppermint, won't have any caffeine at all. Black and green tea, on the other hand, may contain moderate doses. Using matcha powder? Keep a close eye on your caffeine intake if you drink it often since this version of green tea tends to have more caffeine in it than others. In general, it is recommended that the average person consumes no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day to stay within safe guidelines.

7. Cold-pressed juice

If you love the sweet taste of fruit-flavored diet soda, wait until you get a load of cold-pressed juice. Cold-pressed juice is juice that has not undergone the pasteurization process. It is quite literally pressed "cold" without the use of heat. When this cold pressing task is used in lieu of traditional heated pasteurization processes, it works to help maintain nutrients from the fruit. The result is a deliciously bold, rich, and luscious fruity-flavored juice chock-full of natural vitamins and minerals meant to do your body good. Cold-pressed juices come in a variety of flavors, with many brands infusing fun flavors into one. Different juices may sport different benefits, and some may come in organic and even vegetable varieties.

Whichever you choose, it's important to note that while cold-pressed juice generally won't contain added sugar or artificial sweetener, it may contribute to weight gain over time. This is because the consumption of fruit juice alone, without the fiber of the actual fruit itself, can cause glucose levels to spike, which, in turn, can cause health risks. This can include subtle weight gain (via Stanford Medicine Children's Health), which is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cancer. As a result, it's important that you consume these drinks on an occasional basis to reap their vitamin-packed benefits without the added risk.

8. Coconut water

In case you didn't know, coconut water has a ton of health benefits, and is very hydrating for your body, too. Coconut water, as you might imagine, has a very distinct coconutty flavor that tastes delicious plain over ice or with a splash of fruit juice mixed in. This tantalizing drink also comes in fun fruity flavors, although, as always, you should do your best to ensure that your coconut water contains pure fruit flavorings without added sugar or artificial sweeteners.

So, exactly what health benefits will drinking coconut water provide you? Unlike diet soda, coconut water contains electrolytes, which can work to restore hydration to your body, especially after a sweaty workout (via Cleveland Clinic). This fat-free low-calorie drink is also high in potassium, and may help prevent kidney stones.

All in all, coconut water is a great tropical-inspired drink to substitute for your diet soda habit. Keep in mind that various brands of coconut water might exhibit distinct flavors, even if they share similar ingredients. It may take a few tries before you finally find a brand that suits your taste buds, especially given that coconut water can sometimes be an acquired taste.

9. Fizzy juice

What's better than fizzy flavored water? Fizzy fruit juice, of course! Fizzy fruit juice isn't anywhere near as popular as it should be, but there are a few brands out there that offer them, and honestly, we just can't get enough! Brands like Izze sell fizzy juice in all the fun flavors that probably remind you of your childhood. From pomegranate to cherry lime, you're almost guaranteed to find a flavor you love; maybe even more than one! In addition, you'll love that these fizzy fruit drinks contain no artificial colors or flavors, and best of all, they won't contain added sugar, either. The sweetness of the drink comes naturally from the fruit juice, making it a smart choice for adults and children alike.

The only downside of consuming fizzy fruit juices, much like cold-pressed juice, is that you miss out on the fiber content present in natural fruit. This means you get calories without feeling full, which may lead to unwanted weight gain (via Medical News Today).

10. Store-bought flavored water

If you aren't quite in the mood for making your own homemade fruit-infused water drinks, you might be able to find a few brands in the store that sell them. Finding water-based beverages with only a hint of natural flavors can be difficult outside of carbonated brands like LaCroix, but there are some out there that exist.

One of those brands, known as Hint, features only purified water and literally a hint of fruit essence. The result? You'll end up with a flavor very similar to what you'd get if you were to make your fruit-infused water at home, only this time, all the work has been done for you. Pretty cool, right?

There is one caveat to all of this, and by now, you probably already know what it is. Just because a brand of flavored water claims to be fruit-infused, doesn't mean that it only contains hints of fruit. On the contrary, there are some non-carbonated flavored water brands out there that do indeed include sucralose, aspartame, and other artificial sweeteners as part of their ingredient lineup. Thus, as always, it is very important that you check labels to ensure what you're buying really is pure, naturally flavored water. This is especially true when reaching for water-enhancing mixes and powders for your water bottle.

11. Juice and seltzer

Plain seltzers and club sodas taste good and all, but sometimes, they need a little extra oomph to take them over the top. Luckily, you can jazz up your plain seltzer water in a flavorful and healthy way simply by adding fruit juice for a deliciously fizzy drink to slurp throughout the day. So, how's it done? Taking just 1-2 tablespoons of fruit juice and adding it to about 12 ounces of plain soda can do the trick. Juices like pineapple, mango, orange, and pomegranate are all fantastic options to get you started, though you should feel free to experiment and see which works best for you. 

This is an awesome substitute to diet soda because it contains the carbonation you'll likely still crave without any of the aspartame or artificial sweeteners you're accustomed to. Not only this, but because the juice and seltzer can be made at home, you're totally free to come up with your own funky fun flavor combinations that'll delight your palate, and impress your friends. How fun is that?

12. Non-alcoholic shrub

If you've never heard of shrub, you don't know what you're missing, especially if you love sweet and sour drinks. Shrub is a drink made of an interesting concoction of fresh fruit, sugar, and vinegar. Considering the vinegar added, you may have doubts as to how good it might taste. But honestly, you'd be surprised!

Because of the unique way this drink is made, the flavors all play off of one another in a syrupy sweet — although admittedly interesting — way. Though you may not find this eclectic drink in many local markets, it is just as easily whipped up at home with just a few simple ingredients. Just grab a handful of your favorite fruits, and place them in a mason jar along with sugar and vinegar. Refrigerate the concoction for one to three days before using. Add a bit of the sweet and tangy syrup to plain or sparkling water. The results are an enjoyable and peculiar taste that will soothe your need for sweet and sour all at the same time. Yum!