Friday, January 31, 2014

Zevia - the other 'diet' soda: A product review

It had seemed that just as the headlines about diet soda - it makes you fat, it's just as bad as regular soda - had started to fizz out, there was a new story about the beverages bubbling up.

The sales of diet soda were dropping - and dropping at a faster rate than regular soda. According to a CBS News story, the sales of non-diet sodas have declined 2.2 percent, while diet sodas have declined 6.8 percent.

And I 'm not surprised. After all, I went from someone who publicly professed her love - and addiction - for Diet Coke to someone who cut it out entirely from her diet. I'm sure my two (or three, or four)-a-day habit put Coca-Cola in the black each year.

In all seriousness, I took on on Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Holiday Challenge in November 2012 and gave up all artificial sweeteners - including aspartame and, by proxy, diet drinks. And though some of those had wiggled back into my diet, I never went back to Diet Coke. Even the moments I thought I'd indulge, like the day it was 83 degrees in the office, Diet Coke never tasted good. In fact, the once favorite drink now tastes like battery acid.

What made me try the soda that day wasn't just the coolness but the refreshing mouthfeel that a carbonated beverage has. I often drink sparkling water, sometimes flavored, and it can fill that void ... to a point. It was with great enthusiasm, as you can assume, that I accepted an offer from Zevia to sample their stevia-sweetened, no-calorie sodas.

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I had tried the sodas before, on my own accord, before I gave up Diet Coke as part of the challenge. I considered them to be a "healthier" alternative as stevia, it seems, doesn't have the side effects and health concerns as aspartame. I was a big fan of the Black Cherry and had, once, wiped out an entire Kroger shelf when it was on sale. However, when I gave up sweeteners, I also gave up my Black Cherry Zevia.

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I didn't get the BC in the generous shipment from Zevia but a number of the company's 15 flavors - Ginger Root Beer, Cherry Cola, Cream Soda, Grape, Ginger Ale and Grapefruit Citrus.

I was completely prepared to dislike most of these. I had once tried the Ginger Root Beer and found it to be quite unsavory and I loathe - I mean loathe - Ginger Ale. However, I liked all of them with the Cream Soda and, a shocker, the Ginger Root Beer the most. The Grapefruit Citrus reminded me of Fresca, and the Grape was nostalgic.

Now, let me tell you, drinking Zevia is not like drinking soda or even diet soda. There is a taste difference. I gave Mark a sip of the Grape, and you would have thought I gave him Pedialyte. As someone who is accustomed to these type of sweeteners and flavors, I found the drinks to be refreshing and a welcome addition to my beverage lineup at lunch. And, yes, my lunch has a beverage lineup - water, coffee and Nuun/Zevia.

Of course, I think there is a personal responsibility when it comes to drinking a beverage like Zevia. Even though stevia is considered "safe," I am not going to pound a Cherry Cola before a 5 a.m. run, a Ginger Root Beer with breakfast, a Cream Soda at lunch ... well, you get the picture.

The price point is a little higher, making the above a bit more prohibitive - which might be a good thing. Just like Zevia.

  • Zevia has no sugar, no artificial sweeteners and zero calories. 
  • Zevia is sweetened with 82 percent Stevia, 15 percent Monk Fruit and 3 percent Erythritol. 
  • Read more about SweetSmart here. 
  • 15 flavors include: cola, ginger ale, lemon lime twist, black cherry, grapefruit citrus, strawberry, ginger root beer, caffeine free cola, grape, cherry cola, cream soda, mountain zevia, dr. zevia, orange, and lime cola. Read the Zevia story here
  • Print $1 off a six-pack coupon here
  • Follow Zevia on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and use the hashtags #SodaSommelier and #SweetSmart.

Disclosure: Zevia provided me with product free of charge for consideration of review. All thoughts and opinions are authentic and belong to me. Except for Mark's reaction. He can keep that.


  1. Mark's reaction cracked me up. I honestly haven't seen this one, but I've cut way back on Diet Coke and Diet Dew also, so I'm not usually buying much of the stuff.

    1. All diet sweeteners are bad for us. (I don't think Stevia is) But if you even google these other diet sweetener's you'll see they give cancer to lab rats and mice, and actually they encourage cancer in lab rats, since at different periods in our lives we all have cancer, cancer doesn't just pop out of a cigarette and go into our bodies, cancer is from a cell in our own bodies mutates, it sort of goes "rogue" if you will. A healthy immune system can find this "rogue" cell and destroy it, people with compromised immune systems (due to drinking alcohol, smoking, not eating leafy dark greens, these are the things that encourage the cancer) Also something to remember is that these "rogue" cells multiply by the billions and then are found in the form of a tumor. One thing to remember is that cancer thrives on sugar and mucus (milk and milk products) but brussell sprouts actually explode cancer cells. So eating dark green cruciferous veggies like broccoli, kale, brussell sprouts, etc. will keep your immune system healthy to destroy "rogue" cells. Also using water bottles with BPA (Bisphenyl A) is a cancer "encourager" especially in children. I'd say anyone that knows a family member with cancer they should juice brussell sprouts and mix with mango or pineapple (for taste) and drink those, and avoid sugar. I'm not a professional but I've been reading a lot about cancer. Most people don't know it's in our bodies at some periods of time. Funny how the first thing they do is use chemo which lowers our immune system!! It doesn't make sense. Anyway, diet sugar has the same effect on a persons body as does regular sugar, our bodies interpret the diet sugar as sugar anyway, so why not avoid the risk of exacerbating cancer and just eat lower amounts of sugar. Soda is so bad for everyone in general. It does not give you the intake of water we need, only water does that.

  2. I love Zevia! I usually buy it on sale at Fresh Market.

  3. I really want to try this drink since I love Diet Coke way too much. I have not been able to find it on the grocery shelves though. Do I need to buy it at a health food store?

    1. I forgot to mention, this Zevia is good ! I don't drink soda at all. But my neighbor gave me one. And while I was drinking it I thought I'd google to see how safe it is. lol I just read this about Stevia:

      Stevia is “sweet” on the palate, so the body assumes it is receiving sugar and primes itself to do so. Glucose is cleared from the bloodstream and blood sugars drop, but no real sugar/glucose is provided to the body to compensate. When this happens, adrenaline and cortisol surge to mobilize sugar from other sources (liver and muscle glycogen, or protein, or body tissue) to bring blood glucose back up.

      . These stress hormones are designed to be utilized when we need to be in a flight-or-fight response–not when we are eating a meal. The consequences of excess stress hormones means a suppressed immune system, increased inflammation, and lower thyroid function… just to name a few!

      Anyway hope that helps. I'm not finishing my can of Zevia. :(

  4. I like the black cherry as well. I don't really buy it but every once in a while I can when I can buy it by the can at Fruitful Yield. Buying a 6 pack just leads to trouble!

  5. I gave up soda in high school. I don't do diet stuff. It is disgusting. I am not sure how any one drinks it! :) I have never heard of Zevia. I guess because I don't go down the soda aisle.
    I read this post yesterday. I do drink ginger ale once in a while and bought some yesterday. I saw the Zevia there and thought oh how funny!!!

  6. I notice the Zevia ginger root beer sells out immediately, and the store (Lolita's in Boulder) doesn't restock it because their inventory system doesn't tell them what's selling. So the unpopular Zevia flavors sit on the shelf for months.

  7. Due to so many good reviews talking about how sweet Zevia is, I decided to pick up a 6-pack at a new co-op that just opened up and try it for the first time. Diet Mt. Dew is my go-to soda (been drinking it for so long I honestly can't taste the difference between diet and regular anymore), with various orange brands second, and I decided to try Zevia Orange. 3 cans in now and I think I'd just as soon have the Pedialyte. It tastes a lot like mineral water with a brackish edge, and I really don't detect any orange flavor either. What am I missing here? I've had stevia-based sweeteners before, including those that combine it with monk fruit and they've always been plenty sweet. But with this... it's utterly blah.

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    2. Orange really is the least flavorful of all the 12 flavors. It's a pity you picked that one. I like the grapefruit the best, the root beer is wonderful, as is the ginger ale and grape. All have a slight bitter aftertaste but are a healthy alternative to all other colas and diet colas. Order a variety pack on Amazon and see which flavors you like best. By the way, they offer three flavors with caffeine (Cola, Dr. Pepper, and the Mt. Dew equivalent) but there is a caffeine-free Cola as well. The colas and root beer contain NO caramel coloring and are clear. Close you eyes and you won't know the difference in taste.

  8. Ok, I bought my first six pack of Zevia Black Cherry. I was grossed out by toxic bitter taste. There is no way this tastes like sugar, even Publix Splenda sodas taste superior to this.