Here’s Why Soda Is Better Than Flavored Seltzer

When people find out that I “still” drink soda (phrasing I resent), they are shocked, confused, and often disgusted. My friends that smoke cigarettes and don’t wear sunscreen feel completely comfortable telling me that “soda is so unhealthy.” Everyone from close family members to strangers I’ve met at bars have urged me to quit drinking soda. No matter who they are, they always make the exact same suggestion: “Stop drinking soda and switch to seltzer.”

First of all, please know that you are not better than me because you drink seltzer instead of soda. You are, in fact, worse. You are worse because you are letting yourself foolishly pay extra money for water. And, worst of all, you are worse because you are living in a fantasy land where seltzer is a thing you actually want to drink.

If you think you like the taste of seltzer, you are wrong and it is time to finally be honest with yourself. You like the idea of seltzer. You like the promise of seltzer. In reality, you do not actually like seltzer.

Seltzer is what you reach for when you’re craving a whisper of flavor or the sentiment of taste. It is a coward’s beverage for the health-obsessed. If you want real, unadulterated deliciousness, there is no substitute for soda. Suggesting that one can wean oneself off soda by increasing their intake of seltzer is a fool’s errand. It simply does not make sense. Replacing soda with flavored seltzer would be like trying to replace smoking weed with taking a big breath of fresh air. Both are inhaling, but they are not the same in any way.

You might be thinking to yourself, “This doesn’t concern me. I don’t drink soda.” You’re probably forgetting all the drinks you enjoy that seem healthy or fancy but are still technically soda. The San Pellegrino you sip at your favorite Italian brunch spot? That’s an expensive orange soda. A Cuba Libre at a hip bar? That’s just rum and Coke! You may be able to ignore Sprite and A&W, but soda is still creeping its way into your life (and you’re loving it).

Soda contains sugar (and lots of it). It also has food coloring and chemicals. These are things my brain can easily comprehend. Seltzer, on the other hand, contains “natural flavors.” It also has little to no calories. All the flavors from nature I’m familiar with have at least some caloric value. This begs me to ask the question: What is in seltzer?!

And I know soda is bad for me. Of course, soda is bad for me! Anything that tastes as good as a Barq’s root beer has to be bad for me. That’s not the point of drinking soda. I haven’t tricked myself into thinking Coke is green juice. I’m drinking soda for enjoyment. Remember enjoyment? It’s a thing you do purely to make yourself happy.

It’s 2022. Everything is hard. We need to find and harness as much joy as we possibly can. Yes, having a soda three times a week is less nutritious than never having soda. But, on the other hand, having three 20-ounce bottles of Dr. Pepper over ice each week keeps me mentally sound. My therapist even encourages it! You don’t need to feel guilty for wanting to enjoy something. You don’t need to feel like you always must choose the healthier option. And most importantly, you don’t need to choose seltzer over soda.


About the Author

Jordan Myrick

Jordan is an L.A.-based writer and comedian who believes all food should come with extra sauce. When they're not writing for Sporked, Jordan is at the movies or sharing an order of french fries with their elderly chihuahua.

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  • Love the energy in this article!

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  • There’s nothing better than traditional Soda, and Seltzers cannot even come close to replicating that same experience. However, I have tried to switch to Seltzers and I realized that my love for Soda actually has more to do with the carbonation than it does the taste!

    I rarely drink Seltzers now, and I rarely drink traditional Soda from name brands (sort of). I got myself a Soda Stream machine and carbonate my own water and make my own drinks. It’s slightly more healthy than traditional soda, as I can be the decision maker on my syrup to carbonated water ratio.

    I fully admit that even a Soda Stream has not replaced that perfect feeling of cracking open a cold can of Pepsi, Coke or whatever else. It’s the ultimate experience.

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    • I feel the same way about the carbonation experience! I find that drinking any sort of carbonated beverage scratches the same exact itch as a regular soda would.

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    • So, I was hesitant to buy a soda stream because I was worried the fruity flavors would be like fruit flavored seltzer. Are you saying they are more like soda? I drink diet soda but a lot of it. I just want to stop lugging home 2 liter bottles lol

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  • Seltzer just tastes like the carbonated water your get from the soda fountain when the soda syrup runs out. It is not good stuff. I hate it. If I wanna drink water, I’ll drink regular ol spring water tyvm.

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    • Yes yes yes to this. Seltzer literally tastes like soda gone wrong missing sweetener!

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  • So you’re condoning the fact for people to drink caffeine and sugar. You are implying that it’s ok to have soda and diabetes and all the unnecessary elements of what it is instead of just water. It doesn’t have to be seltzer but just flavored water. And no it’s not as expensive. If it’s expensive it’s because your paying for the brand. it’s expensive bc you would rather buy a big name brand over a local or just store name brand. This “review” or article was just beyond annoying trying to sell soda over water. something unhealthy over something you need to actually live that’s good for you. You should do better.

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    • I believe the general intention of the article is that you should do whatever you want, and it doesn’t matter what other people think. If you want to drink Soda all day long and get diabetes, go for it. She never once claimed Soda was more healthy than Seltzer, and in fact she claimed the opposite, which is true. You’re just trying to shame her like many others.

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      • Your comment reminds me of this Ron Swanson quote, “The whole point of this country is if you wanna eat garbage, balloon up to 600 pounds and die of a heart attack at 43, you can! You are free to do so! To me, that’s beautiful.” Lol

    • They also pointed out they’re only having like 3 cans a week which is very moderate and a good balance to maintain and balance is part of living healthy

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    • You sound like the type of people who go around being outraged just to be outraged. She never said that soda is healthy, or that everyone should go out and seek to get diabetes, She’s saying drink what you want that adds some brightness in your life. If you’re drinking nothing but seltzer, but overall are less happy than someone who drinks soda here and there, maybe you should let up and just drink a bit of soda. 3 cans a week, while obviously not the best of choices, are not unhealthy to the point that it’ll start ruining you as long as you still maintain an active life.

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      • In fact, not only did she never say soda is healthy… she explicitly pointed out that, yeah, she knows it ain’t healthy! It’s not about health, it’s about enjoyment. Not everything in life needs a good reason, sometimes it’s okay to just enjoy something.

  • It sounds like you’ve only had Lacroix. Lacroix is if you were standing outside drinking water, and someone drove by and yelled out the name of a fruit through their mask.

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    • Specifically through a mask lol yes 😂

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  • I am personally a fan of soda and seltzer water. I even have a bottle of both on my desk now. I just like carbonation and staying hydrated.

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  • Seltzer tastes like tv static with someone yelling “fruit!” From the other room.

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  • I quit Pop/Soda myself over a year ago and the only substitute for the nice bubbly feel I’ve found so far are the Sparkling Ice + Caffeine drinks. Otherwise I HATE the taste of carbonated water. They are the only thing that gives me the feeling of a drinkin a pop. Close to like Sprites and such.

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  • I started drinking Liquid Deaths Seltzer Water, and it’s the only one I’ve ever been able to Pallet

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  • The premise of this article implies that the majority of people prefer seltzer over soda, when the opposite is my experience. I love a good sparkling water. It is my drink of choice over most sodas, and I know it’s hard for most of my friends and family to comprehend, but I legitimately enjoy it. However, I am not “health-obsessed” by any means. I do not deny myself the finer things in life, I’ve just gotten to the point where I know what I like, and if it’s not Coke, I would rather be drinking “TV static” (as my husband puts it).

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    • /s
      Look. I respect your choice. But let’s make it clear. It is a choice. Because, physiologically, emotionally, and flavor-ily (sp?), soda is just plain better.

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  • mmmmm, dr. pepper.

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  • I cried a single tear whilst reading this. Soda is beautiful. It’s a feat of liquid engineering akin to the Taj Mahal. If you lived in the Taj Mahal and someone was like “oh. Just switch to this studio apartment. It’s just as good.” We would think them ridiculous. As ridiculous as anyone who feels seltzer is allowed to ride in the front seat with soda.

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  • I’m not sure if it’s considered a seltzer but I genuinely to enjoy a white grale sparkling water, and actually prefor it over soda now. I tried an actual sofa after not having one for so long and being able to taste the sugar is almost crazy, I feel it completely cost my mouth and it feels gross now, I can’t finish a regular soda anymore. But I definetly don’t believe I’m better than anyone that drinks soda, if anything I’m jealous that you can enjoy them.

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    • Sorry for the grammar errors, hope you can understand what I’m trying to say still.

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  • YES YES YES YES YES TO EVERYTHING IN THIS ARTICLE!!!

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  • THANK YOU! I’m so glad you took the time to really put your feelings in this article because I also feel this way about soda! We spend so much time and energy stressing about making healthy decisions in all aspects of life, so when it comes to beverages, I’m making the tasty choice!

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