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Let’s make soda

October 14, 2011
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It’s Foodie Friday once again here at FFFs. Today, I thought I would tackle two issues at once: 1) how to make a yummy drink and 2)  address fat sterotypes regarding fat, sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and perservatives in pop.

The arguments against pop are numerous and of particular public ire. It gets blamed for rising obesity rates in much of the western world.    It’s so bad that they want to impose a health tax on it, like cigarettes and alcohol.

“A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is really a double-win,” said Dr. David Ludwig, a co-author of the paper and director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children’s Hospital, Boston. “We can raise much-needed dollars while likely reducing obesity prevalence, which is a major driver of health care costs, the paper states. “Ultimately the government needs to raise more money to cover the deficit, and in terms of ways of raising that revenue, a tax on sugar sweetened beverages is really a no-brainer.”

Mostly, though, soda is a straw man. It won’t suddenly make a skinny person fat, and, trust me, if you take away my soda and all I drink is water, you won’t get a skinnier me. You will just get a sleepy and angry me, out to get you because I can’t find my morning caffeine. I won’t find you, though, because my zombie-like steps will never catch you. Soda consumption isn’t causing diabetes, like many healthists claim.

Even the American Diabetes Association says on their website that consuming sugar or sugary drinks won’t give you diabetes. Only your DNA can. ONLY IF YOU HAVE IT IN YOUR DNA CAN DIABETES BE TRIGGERED. Now if you have a family history of diabetes, then you may be concerned, but the vast majority of us fatties (around 80%) WON’T get diabetes.

I do have issues with certain sodas, though. Much of what is available today is simply full of chemicals. Hell, they have to add acids and such to the pop JUST TO HOLD IN THE BUBBLES. Seriously, have you read what’s in a can of Coke? Can you even pronounce it? Hippy that I am, with a sickly child, I try to watch out for chemicals and such in my food. But I haven’t been able to find a way around the I-need-soda-but-want-it-healthier issue. This lead me to try Soda Stream for the first time. I came for the health of it, but I stayed for the price, flexibility and taste.

Soda Steam simply rocks. You get a CO2 charger, bottles and syrups. You just fill the bottles (you have to use theirs; others will blow up under the pressure of carbonation), screw the bottle into the charging unit, and press the button until it makes a buzzing sound. Once it buzzes, then you choose how bubbly you like, anywhere from 1-5 buzzes will do (3 being “normal” soda fizziness). It’s super-easy to use too. Literally, my 8-year-old can do this solo. After your water is nice and carbonated (with no chemicals to hold it in) you get to add the flavors!

They have literally millions of flavor combos to try. There are clear fruit essences you can add to the water or to add a touch of fruitiness to a soda. These are unsweetened, so if you are looking for something like Mendota Springs, or sparkling water with lemon, this is for you. They have a complete line of both diet and regular teas. I freaking LOVE thier diet peach tea, as well as their mixed berry green tea. There are fruit mixes and decent analogs of the big popular brands. Their regualr root beer reminds me of Barqs, and their cola is closest to RC. Their regular and diet mountain mists are actually quite close to Mountain Dew. The energy drinks have a spot on Red Bull flavor, with nearly as much kick.

One selling point for me was their Sparkling Naturals line. Made from all-natural ingredients, Soda Stream Sparkling Naturals make great-tasting “better for you” sodas. Sparkling Naturals contain no artificial flavors, no artificial colors and no artificial sweeteners, and do not contain any preservatives, making them a perfect, sparkling, natural soda alternative for the entire family. We LOVE the orange pineapple and the apple mango.

I love how you can control the concentration of the syrups in the pop. For me, regular Coke leaves a syrupy film in my mouth, but with Soda Stream I can dial it back a notch and have just the right ratio of syrup to carbonated water. Are you making cocktails? Then make the soda about 20% stronger… that way you will still have full-strength flavor when you add the rum or vodka. I also love how you can make up your own flavors. Diet energy apple mango? Diet mountain mist pineapple? Black currant pear orange pop? Ginger ale with raspberry essence? The flavor combos are literally boundless, limited only by your tastebud’s willingness and your creativity.

With the prices on EVERYTHING going up, it’s good for keeping costs down too. After figuring in the cost of carbonation (carbonators are $15 for about 60 liters) and syrup ($4.99 to $8.99, depending on the style of syrup), the price is about 63 cents per liter. Plus, you aren’t wasting bottles or cans. The carbonation tanks are exchanged, just like you would with propane.

Overall I LOVE Soda Stream. Fair warning though, DO NOT under any circumstances carbonate anything but water in your unit, unless you want to be cleaning root beer off of every single surface in your kitchen. While it didn’t ruin the carbonation unit at all, I did have a messy hour wiping everything down. Also, the soda syrup bottles can get really sticky. They come with little measuring cup lids and if you don’t rinse out the cup after, the syrup just drips down the side of the bottle. Other than that, though, this get the 100% erylin Seal of Approval!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Erin S. permalink
    October 14, 2011 4:09 pm

    Just a heads up for anyone who has bad reactions to artificial sweeteners – the only flavors that are safe are the Naturals line and the unsweetened flavored water line. Everything else has sucralose (splenda) and acesulfame potassium (another artificial sweetener) in it — even the regular non-diet flavors. I was totally interested in getting a Soda Stream until I found out that there weren’t any flavors I could have (this was before they added the Naturals and flavored water lines).

    You really have to read the labels on things lately — everything has splenda in it now, and I get the most horrific migraines from even just a little. I doubt that the scary HFCS can possibly be any worse for me than spending an hour curled around the toilet throwing up every time a cat farts three rooms away and the noise triggers nausea.

    • October 14, 2011 4:31 pm

      thanks for that…i dont have issues with the sweeteners myself but others may. also you can get other syrups and such or make them yourself…its really easy to make a simple syrup out of sugar, water and whatever fruit, flavoring ect you want. i plan to play with that and write it up after Chirstmas.

      • Erin S. permalink
        October 15, 2011 12:59 pm

        I did wonder at the time if it would be possible to make a simple syrup of equal parts sugar and water, mix in unsweetened drink powder (kool-aid etc) and use that. I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t work. Or if you’re into diet, perhaps using carbonated water and crystal light or similar powder? I always hate seeing the crystal light packets, there are so many more flavors than you see in unsweetened drink mixes. It’s depressing lol.

        Just didn’t seem worth getting a unit I wouldn’t get much use out of due to the expense of refilling the CO2 cartridges. A 2 liter bottle of generic pop is under $1 even with the sin tax in our area, and it is a lot easier to find $1 once in a while in a strapped budget than it is to find $15 in one lump sum. It would end up like my beloved Brita pitcher — it spends more time sitting in the cabinet because we can’t afford a new cartridge than it does being used heh.

        Of course now even if we could, not sure I would… seems every time I drink something carbonated it causes some level of stomach pain, so I’ve pretty much just stopped drinking carbonated things entirely. Until I forget again anyway lol.

    • October 15, 2011 8:38 am

      Urgh–sucralose elevates my blood pressure, literally. I thought I must be crazy but then I saw several articles saying that this was true. It’s horrible stuff. “Made from sugar?” Yeah I guess, but it only has one molecule in common with sugar, from what I read.

  2. vesta44 permalink
    October 14, 2011 4:28 pm

    Now that sounds like something I would like, even without the carbonation. All those flavors for water – if I had an ice machine, I’d be all set (our refrigerator doesn’t have an automatic ice maker and filling ice cube trays is a PITA when you drink as much as I do). With that, I’d do away with drinking soda altogether.

    • October 14, 2011 8:18 pm

      I admire the fact you can even live without an ice machine. My grandparents didn’t have one either and bought a bag of ice like every other day, but that seems like a pain too.

      I like A LOT of ice in my drinks, so I gotta have an ice maker, otherwise I get super grumpy.

  3. October 14, 2011 6:49 pm

    I might have to try this. I am addicted to Pepsi and I believe is causes me to bloat and feel sluggish, but I like it too much to stop drinking it.

  4. October 14, 2011 8:25 pm

    Since we’re talking about drinks, I’m going to go on mini drink related rant. I hate, hate, hate how hard it is to find bottled ice tea that isn’t sweetened either with sugar or artificial sweetner. I despise sweetened tea. If they can make 50 different flavors of sweetened tea, why can’t they make just one and that’s unsweetened. Then to drive me just a little bit more crazy, every time I get unsweetened tea from Sonic, they mark it as diet, just to annoy me further.

    Rant over. I don’t think we would be fans of the soda stream, I don’t drink a lot of soda and my husband is addicted to Dr. Pepper, I don’t think he’d give up his hillbilly juice for homemade.

    I do have one question about the machine, though. Is it easy to clean? I’d think it’d get sticky and attract bugs, but I don’t really know.

    • October 14, 2011 11:30 pm

      its super easy to clean. the whole unit pulls apart so you can replace the gas cartridges. All you ever carbonate is water so there is really no mess at the machine end. if you don’t rinse the syrup bottles after you add the syrup to the carbonated water, then it gets sticky, but that is easily avoided with a little rinse of the cup after each use.

  5. October 15, 2011 2:00 pm

    I will still be staying away from HFCS which may not cause diabetes, but it can contribute to fatty liver since fructose has to be processed by the liver in order to be usable to the body. If I do soda, I go to the naturally sweetened ones.

  6. October 16, 2011 6:01 pm

    Living on the fifth floor without an elevator, Soda Stream has saved many of my guests from the horrible fate of having only my two favorite drinks to choose from- still water and coffee (usually cold). I just can’t lug those palettes of stuff up the stairs (especially since a lot of bottles for carbonated water in Germany are glass), our tap water tastes better than Volvic or Evian (just about on par with Aqua Panna), and the cylinders come pretty cheap even in greener-than-thou Europe.

    At parties, we usually go with BYOB (beer, not booze- we have wine and some hard liquors for cocktails around) and buy some flavored syrups (as usual, there are next to none of the diet flavors to choose from around here). Problem of having to carry tons of empty bottles back to the store for recycling/getting some eco-conscious stroking deposit cash back solved!

    LOVE my soda stream!

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