Aspartame. Innocent low-calorie sweetener or one of the most dangerous food additives ever discovered?
That question leads to a black or white answer when the truth is likely a tinge grayer. Colors aside, aspartame-free sodas are splashing into the market — and consumers on both sides of the fence are benefitting. See, we could make a long, drawn-out argument on whether aspartame is a silent killer or the guiltless sweet-tooth fairy. But that’d be putting aspartame and artificial sweeteners on a level playing field with organic, more natural flavors, and that’s not the battle we’re fighting.
Yes, we have our own opinions, but we’d like to reduce the debate to something much simpler: good, better, best. The question for us isn’t so much “why would you put aspartame in your body?” as “why would you put aspartame in your body when there’s a much better alternative?”. A more pure, distinguished, and dare we say, tastier solution that your mind and body can appreciate. We believe aspartame-free sodas aren’t competing with artificial-sweetener-laden beverages…they’re just the clear better choice.
Let us elaborate.
Maybe Not “Natural” But Certainly More Natural
We’re not naive. What’s natural about a metallic can with a mixture of water and other ingredients sitting on a plastic shelf at your local grocery store? That’s not the point. It’s hard not to love soda — and that’s not a bad thing.
But take our Wave Soda, for example.
Let’s look at the caffeine-free Apple flavor. It contains just four ingredients:
- Carbonated Water
- Apple Juice Concentrate
- Lemon Juice Concentrate
- Natural Flavors
No, there’s no spring out of which flows carbonated water. And apple juice concentrate isn’t found in an organic reservoir nestled under the roots of an apple tree. But the processes to transform and combine these delicious ingredients and fill them to the rim of your can is certainly more natural than the alternative.
The alternative being something like the following. Here’s a list of ingredients from a popular diet soda:
- Carbonated Water
- Caramel Color
- Phosphoric Acid
- Potassium Benzoate
- Natural Flavors
First, the fact that my spellchecker went off three times while typing that list sounds an initial alarm (and not just an alarm about my ability to type). Second, the issue that you’d need to Google search at least half the ingredients to figure out what they are, what they do, and why they’re in a soda.
So, I think it’s clear who wins the more natural battle. Which may lead you to the following question.
What’s So Important About “Natural”, Anyways?
Good question. I guess let’s start with the definition.
Natural: as found in nature and not involving anything made or done by people.
Artificial: made by people, often as a copy of something natural.
Now, translate those definitions to your soda. You could either: (a) buy the real-deal soda that’s packed with all-natural ingredients or (b) buy the copy soda that’s packed with look-a-like ingredients meant to imitate the natural ones. Why would you choose artificial when you could have authentic?
Even if your mind can’t tell the difference, your body can. Take caffeine, for example. Caffeine crashes are typically correlated with synthetic caffeine sources, but the body seems to have a much more positive reaction when the caffeine is derived from more natural sources. “Using caffeine from things like green tea, yerba mate, coffee beans and guarana are more well-received than using synthetic anhydrous caffeine,” explains Kristen Wemer, lab manager at Flavorman.
Our bodies are attracted to natural ingredients, like a child is to peanut butter and jelly — it just makes sense. Food as close to its natural state contains the maximum amount of vitamins and nutrients, meaning you get more from eating less. The more that ingredients are processed and mixed in the lab, the more they’re deprived of their value and life-giving substances. Kind of like how a raw piece of broccoli is going to give you more nutritional value than one you’ve dropped in the deep fryer. Or how veggies straws more closely resemble french fries than vegetables.
Not Interested in Health? How About Taste?
If you glaze over when vitamins and nutrients are mentioned, you’re not alone. Some people couldn’t care less about what they put in their body, as long as it tastes good — that would explain the existence and popularity of the snack aisle at every grocery store. But when it comes to flavor, why settle for good enough when you can have the best?
HuffPost was curious if all the hype around aspartame had anything to do with taste. If only taste was a factor, not calories, would people prefer natural sugars or artificial sweeteners? To find out, they did a blind taste test with 10 different sweeteners ranging from Truvia to Sugar in the Raw. Can you guess who won?
Simple granulated sugar and Sugar in the Raw.
When asked why they preferred these sugars, respondents answered:
- “Not overpoweringly sweet or artificial tasting.”
- “Sugar, is that you? Whatever you are, you’re pleasing.”
- “That’s the stuff. 100 % happiness.”
- “This is delicious, not too sweet but perfectly sugary.”
When asked about Truvia and Zero, they answered:
- “This makes tea taste like chemicals. Never again.”
- “It’s like licking a battery.”
- “I just licked tin foil?”
- “Very strong vanilla overtones. Not crazy about it.”
A Better Way to Drink
Whether you’re passionate about your health or just want to enjoy a tasty drink, we have a better solution.
Take a sip of our sparkling Wave Soda and enjoy the reassuring notion that the world now has a gently caffeinated alternative to the not-so-natural soda. With 15-25 calories per can and not a single gram of added sugar or artificial sweeteners, consider this your guilt-free solution to aspartame-loaded beverages. We believe your tastebuds and your body should enjoy your beverage of choice, no sacrifices necessary.
Our recipe is simple: 85% sparkling water, 15% fruit juice and 42 milligrams of all natural caffeine derived from the green coffee bean. Fruit juice is our jam, and when it delivers this much flavor for less than 25 calories, it’s a win-win for everyone. Give Wave Soda a try for yourself — taste and feel the difference.