Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN
I’m often amazed by the number of choices available in nearly every category in my local supermarket. From cereals to sodas, we can always find a choice that suits our mood, our budget, or our health goals.
The other day I noticed a store display featuring sparkling waters, offering twelve flavors to choose from, so I selected a few and headed to the checkout area. The cashier was quick to comment on the sparkling waters, saying “Those are so much better for you than diet sodas.” I wanted to explain to her that they are nearly identical to diet sodas. Like diet sodas, zero-calorie, flavored, sparkling waters are composed of mainly water, flavorings, and low-calorie sweeteners, which are safe and effective for sweetening a wide variety of foods and beverages.
A recent consensus statement from nutrition experts around the world summarized the benefits of low-calories sweeteners as follows:
- Low calorie sweeteners do not increase appetite and have no discernible effect on hunger or fullness.
- Low calorie sweeteners help to reduce calorie intake when used in place of higher calorie ingredients.
- Low calorie sweeteners can enhance weight loss under real-life conditions when used as part of a healthy, balanced weight loss program that strives to incorporate lifestyle changes.
- Low calorie sweeteners may have a beneficial effect on post-meal glucose and insulin levels in healthy individuals, as well as in people with diabetes.
Like diet sodas, zero-calorie flavored, sparkling waters are a wonderful choice for people who want to balance their calorie intake by limiting calories from beverages. And with so many flavors to choose from today, there’s a sparkling water to fit every occasion, from family picnics and summer pool parties to kids’ baseball games!
Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist who has lived well with Type I diabetes for more than 37 years. The owner of Farmer’s Daughter Consulting, she consults with a variety of food and beverage clients on issues related to nutrition and health.