In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I admit, I tried out some trends on social media like roasted feta paste, long-lasting coffee, and even heat-free hair curlers. However, this latest TikTok trend, which people call “healthy Coca-Cola”, is where I draw the line.
In case you haven’t heard, “healthy Coca-Cola” is circulating because TickToker Amanda Jones said her Pilates instructor recommended it as a healthier alternative to a soft drink. The drink includes mixing ice, balsamic vinegar (yes, you read that right) and sparkling water. Basically, this blend should taste like Coca-Cola … but based on the reviews I’ve seen, I’m skeptical.
It’s no secret that regular drinking of carbonated drinks is not the best thing for our health, but is it really worth replacing them with a vinegar-based drink? I know what the kombucha tastes like, so I guess it tastes similar. Not only does a blend of “healthy Coca-Cola” sound distasteful, I can’t even imagine it being that healthy.
To find out, I talked to several dietitians and a dentist. Here’s what they had to say about this latest TikTok trend.
‘Healthy Coca-Cola’ contributes to the culture of nutrition
One of the big problems with “healthy Coca-Cola” is that it is another trend rooted in the culture of nutrition. “This is a low-calorie alternative to drinking a regular fizzy drink, and many people think it automatically makes them healthier, which is not the case,” said Christine Byrne, a registered North Carolina dietitian who specializes in eating disorders.
Gabriela Barreto, a registered dietitian and sports nutritionist, agrees, noting that this trend maintains the idea that there are. “This implies that sugar is the enemy and that there are certain foods that will improve or impair your health, which is all a product of a diet culture,” she said. “By adding moral value to food, we reiterate the idea that eating this food means doing something wrong or bad and continuing to grow a negative relationship with food for many people.” As a result of these habits, many people eventually develop an eating disorder.
Excessive consumption of sugary drinks is not good for us because it puts us at risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and more. But let’s be honest, when you decide to drink juice, chances are high that you won’t drink it because of its health benefits. You drink it because you crave sugar, soda or caffeine, or simply because you enjoy it.
“Ordinary Coca-Cola is not something you should drink at every meal, but as part of a nutritious overall diet, it’s good to eat one sometimes,” Byrne said. If you drink soda, she added, it is best to pair it with a meal or snack, because the intake of many nutrients (not just sugar) will help make your blood sugar more stable.
It is as sour as soda
Similar to other carbonated drinks, “healthy cola” is very sour. Every food and drink has a pH value that shows how acidic or alkaline it is. To determine the level of acidity, the product is usually tested using a pH strip or pH meter and then measured on a pH scale, which ranges from zero to 14. Water, for example, is considered neutral and has a pH of 7. All with a pH value below 7 is considered acidic, and anything with a pH value above 7 is considered low acid or alkaline.
Consuming that amount of balsamic vinegar, which is very acidic at pH 2 to 3, in a beverage can be harmful, Barreto said. This is because highly acidic drinks can erode tooth enamel, irritate your esophagus, and create or worsen acid reflux. “Generally, when we consume balsamic vinegar in a salad, there are other ingredients and the content of balsamic vinegar is not so high,” she added.
From the perspective of oral care, the trend of “healthy Coca-Cola” is no healthier than consuming ordinary carbonated drinks. “The pH of vinegar is about 2 to 3, which is approximately the same level of acidity as full sugar cola or diet cola, which means that it is equally harmful to enamel in large quantities,” said Dr. Joyce Kahng, California. – aesthetic dentist. “For reference, tooth enamel demineralizes at a pH of 5.5, so whether it’s a normal car or not, both are unhealthy for teeth.”
Possible health risks
It is important to know that the trend of “healthy Coca-Cola” may not be suitable for everyone who wants to try it. People who have problems with the esophagus and acid reflux should avoid this trend. “For someone with gastroesophageal reflux disease, such a sour and sparkling drink could cause acid reflux, although the same is true for any type of carbonated drink, as well as for anything that has a lot of acid,” Byrne explained.
For most people, according to Byrne, there are no physical health risks to worry about. However, if you are taking medication and are concerned about a potential interaction, always ask your doctor or pharmacist first.
If you decide to drink “healthy cola” or other carbonated drinks, Kahng suggests that you drink it in a short period of time or with a meal. “Bursting something that is acidic for a long period of time is the worst thing you can do because it prolongs the acidic pH intraorally,” she said. “Remember that carbonation and aromas lower the pH in the acid zone, which is not great for teeth.”
You better get the real thing
Now that you know that “healthy Coca-Cola” may not be worth advertising, you’re probably wondering if it’s better to drink the right or diet version. “Soda has been identified as one of the main culprits and major causes of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but metabolic diseases are very complex,” Barreto said. “There are many factors including genetics, environment, overall lifestyle, socioeconomic status and more.”
She admits that even though soda contains sugar, she does not believe that sugar is something to be afraid of. “The more we fear about certain products or ingredients, the worse our relationship with food becomes,” she said. “And we know from growing research and experience, this doesn’t work at all to improve people’s health, because it leads to a more restrictive diet, which ultimately worsens rather than improves health.”
As for diet soda, there has been speculation for years about its health value, but there is no evidence to support that. Although the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners are still debated, it is generally safe to consume. “There are many myths about diet soda, such as that it will actually increase your blood sugar, increase your insulin response, make you crave more sugar, and so on,” Barreto said. There are even claims that artificial sweeteners can cause changes in your gut bacteria, which is not entirely untrue. “While this is potentially true, the dose that can cause damage or changes is much higher than that found in one can of dietary Coca-Cola,” she said.
All in all, Barreto thinks that diet soda is a good alternative for people who enjoy the taste of carbonated drinks, but must monitor their blood sugar levels, such as those with diabetes. Byrne points out that some people may experience bloating and bad breath due to consuming diet soda. Just like with regular Coca-Cola, or even “healthy Coca-Cola”, it is unlikely that diet sodas will sometimes have a huge impact on your health, good or bad, because no food or drink is powerful enough to do so. do it.
It is important to repeat that just because something is in trend on TikTok does not mean that it should be copied. It is healthy to re-examine viral trends and wonder how they could be harmful or beneficial. If you are ever in trouble, it is best to be careful and ask an expert first.
If you’ve tried the “healthy Coca-Cola” trend and you really like it, then be sure to have a drink. But if you don’t like it, that’s fine too – you can opt for the right offer or diet version instead. The most important conclusion from this is that every food or drink does not have to be “healthy” and you should be able to enjoy your favorite food or drink in its original form. According to Byrne, “There’s no need to create ‘healthier’ versions of your favorite food because these substitutes will never satisfy you as the real thing.” And that’s one thing I think we can all agree on.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any questions you may have about your health condition or health goals.