This past week, The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a new classification for the popular artificial sweetener, aspartame, officially naming it a carcinogen. While WHO itself admits more research is necessary to fully understand the risks associated with aspartame, you won’t be blamed for wanting to ditch the controversial additive in favor of ingredients that aren’t suspected of causing cancer.
And the good news is, these days there are a lot of low-calorie, low-sugar options that don’t include aspartame. Whether you want brand-recognition or artisanal offerings, we’ve got you covered.
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OLIPOP ($10 for a 4-Pack)
Small-batch brewed and prebiotic, OLIPOP packs in good-for-you fiber with the iconic glass-bottle cola taste you remember loving. This 35 calorie sparkling tonic is what OLIPOP calls a “new kind of soda,” sweetened with Cassava syrup, fruit juice and stevia.
If you’re looking for something that feels good and meets your cola needs, this flavor is perfect for you. But OLIPOP has 13 other flavors, including new offerings like cream soda, banana cream and lemon-lime.
Now available in-store, OLIPOP supports your microbiome by supplying your healthy gut bacteria with the nutrients they need to promote good digestive health.
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Virgil’s All Natural Zero Sugar ($7 for a 4-Pack)
If you want handcrafted, bold flavor without the sugar, look no further than Virgil’s Zero Sugar Cola. This zero calorie soda is all flavor, no regrets, a line that includes classics like lemon-lime, root beer and orange.
With sweeteners derived from monk fruit and stevia, Virgil’s is free of not just aspartame, but high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives and (best of all) calories. They’re even Kosher certified!
Available at retailers from Trader Joe’s to Target to your local supermarket, you can find yourself a refreshing can or glass bottle of Virgil’s almost anywhere.
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Zevia Zero Sugar Soda ($7 for a 6-Pack)
With a bold, modern look, this zero-sugar soda may look like a newcomer, but Zevia has been offering better-for-you sodas for a long time. The upgraded look comes with a whopping 16 flavors in their soda line. Zevia also offers teas, energy drinks and kid-friendly options.
Notes of citrus and spice ground this familiar-tasting cola, and it comes without any sugar or artificial sweeteners. Zero calorie and with 45mg of caffeine, this is an excellent option for anyone trying to leave behind traditional diet sodas.
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Wild Bill’s Craft Beverage Co ($32 for a 12-Pack)
Veteran-owned and operated, Wild Bill’s offers naturally sweetened sodas that range from the familiar Diet Cola and Root Beer, to the adventurous, like Sarsaparilla and Strawberry Cream Shortcake. Widely available in stores across the country, Wild Bill’s Diet Cola flavor puts forward cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla notes that set this blend apart from your traditional diet cola.
Giving back to veterans is a key component of Wild Bills, as is ensuring their products are vegan and sweetened safely. They’re also known for small-batch special flavors like their recent Birch Beer flavor.
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Diet Coke with Splenda ($7 for a 12-Pack)
While you’re regular Diet Coke will still contain aspartame for now, Coca-Cola does offer a diet option that’s sweetened with Splenda. That little yellow ribbon is what you want to look for if you want that iconic Diet Coke taste without the aspartame.
Splenda is generally considered safe for everyday consumption and has a daily limit (advised by the FDA) that’s a bit higher than stevia. The average adult can have about 23 of those little packets a day. And Splenda is about 600 times sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a really long way.
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