Is Fresca Sparkling Flavored Soda Bad For You?

Fresca is arguably the popular zero-sugar and zero-calorie, fat & carbs sparkling water by Coca-Cola, like other diet sodas it may provide many beneficial benefits.

On one hand, it is widely consumed for its zero-sugar and zero-calorie, and it appears to have many benefits such as reducing weight loss, decreasing your sugar intake, and many more.

Yet, on the other hand, some people are concerned about the long-term side effects from its ingredients profile, for instance, it’s filled with artificial sweeteners, highly processed, and many other ingredients.

This article reviews the latest scientific evidence to determine whether drinking Fresca sparkling water is more likely to positively or negatively affect your health.

Without any further ado, let’s get started.

Fresca Overview

Fresca is a sugar-free, no-calorie sparkling beverage made by The Coca-Cola Company. The drink was first introduced in the year 1966 and since then it has been a popular choice as a sugar-free beverage option.

The drink is best suited for people who want a “pick-me-up” drink without any sugar guilt. Also, Fresca does not give you any calories, so you can enjoy it without hampering your weight loss regime.

Fresca can be enjoyed in four different flavors including:

  • Grapefruit Citrus
  • Black Cherry Citrus
  • Peach Citrus
  • Blackberry Citrus

Each of the Fresca flavors has zero sugar and calories, thus making it a much healthier option compared to regular soda with tons of added sugar in it.

So, what is this Fresca drink made up of? Time to break down the ingredients of Fresca!

Fresca Ingredients: Friend Or Foe?

There are some common ingredients present in every Fresca flavor. But what do these ingredients do, are they good or bad for you?

Some common ingredients of Fresca include:

1. Carbonated water:

This ingredient’s main role is to give the fizz to Fresca which makes it bubbly and refreshing.

There is no nutritional role to carbonated water in the Fresca. However, it is not harmful to your body and considered safe for consumption.

Excessive consumption of carbonated beverages might lead to digestive issues like bloating or gas.

2. Citric acid:

Citric acid gives Fresca its citrusy flavor and provides the taste of tartness with every sip you take. It has nutritional benefits as it can help reduce inflammation and improve immunity.

The ingredient is mainly used for enhancing the absorption and bioavailability of other ingredients allowing better absorption.

Citric acid also enhances the preservation of beverages. It is mostly safe and healthy. However, a higher dosage might irritate the stomach.

3. Acacia Gum:

It is a great source of dietary fiber and is often used as a thickening agent in beverages and food supplements.

Being a good source of dietary fiber, it can act as a prebiotic and thus improve your gut health. It is mainly used as a food stabilizer and emulsifier.

Acacia gum consumption and use is considered safe and thus it is not likely to harm your body in any way.

4. Aspartame:

It is an artificial zero-calorie sugar used in Fresca to give it a sweet taste without increasing its calories and sugar content.

People sensitive to this artificial sweetener might face allergic reactions and headache issues. While aspartame does not have any health benefits it can certainly help boost the taste of Fresca without adding up to your calorie intake.

5. Potassium:

Potassium is an important electrolyte that your body uses for nerve transmission and muscle functioning.

Though Fresca drinks only contribute to 2% of the daily value of potassium that might not make much of a change.

Potassium intake is considered safe and is not seen to have any side effects unless you overdo it.

Besides the above ingredients, Fresca drinks also have natural and artificial flavors to adjust the taste of different Fresca flavors.

While these do not add up to any health benefits, there are fewer chances of them to harm you. However, natural flavors might sound safe but they might not always be safe for you due to the source from which it is obtained.

To preserve the taste of Fresca, the company uses Potassium Benzoate which might not be a very healthy ingredient to consume.

While potassium benzoate sounds healthy and safe, it may have some long-term health risks associated with it, especially for children.

Thus, overall not all Fresca ingredients are great and only a few of them have nutritional significance. Thus it might be refreshing but not as healthy as you think.

Does Fresca Contain Artificial Sweetener?

Yes, most Fresca flavors are sweetened using an artificial sweetener named Aspartame. Now, does this sugar have any nutritional benefits? And Is it safe to consume?

Aspartame is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener used in foods and beverages to give it a sweet taste. Though Aspartame is seen as a no-calorie alternative to added sugar, it is not completely safe and can have long-term side effects.

It is 200 times sweeter than sucrose and the average daily intake (ADI) of Aspartame as recommended by the World Health Organization is 40 mg/kg of body weight.

Even so, knowing this doesn’t help because there is no clear mention of the dosage of the artificial sweetener, Aspartame, in Fresca.

Before aspartame, all Fresca flavors were sweetened with artificial sweetener cyclamates, which was banned by the FDA in 1969. Since then Fresca has used Aspartame in all its flavors.

Fresca Benefits For Health

While Fresca doesn’t have many nutritional health benefits, there are still some benefits for overall health.

Here are some potential benefits that Fresca Flavored Sparkling soda may provide:

Zero calories and sugar:

The good news for Fresca lovers is that it doesn’t have any added sugar and has zero calories. This can especially be useful for those trying to accomplish their weight loss goals and enjoy sparkling soda.

Fresca can thus reduce your overall sugar intake throughout the day and help manage your blood sugar levels.

Citrus Taste:

Each of the Fresca has a citrus taste and thus can be a good fit for those who enjoy citrusy flavors such as grapefruit, black cherry, peach, or blackberry.

Natural Flavors:

Except for their Black Cherry Citrus flavor, no flavors of Fresca use artificial flavors. Thus making it a good choice for people who do not prefer artificial flavors and are concerned about them.

Flavors such as Peach, Blackberry, and Grapefruit are all made using natural flavors that give it a unique edge over other artificially flavored sparkling sodas.

Variety of flavors:

For those who do not like one flavor repeatedly and easily get bored, Fresca can be an option to look for due to its variety of flavors.

Fresca sparkling soda comes in four different flavors that include Peach, Black Cherry, Grapefruit, and Blackberry. Thus you can choose the one that best suits your taste buds.

Fresca Potential Side Effects

When you’re starting drinking Fresca, you should be cautious about some of its key ingredients, such as; aceesulfame potassium, Citric acid, EDTA, Aspartame, Potassium benzoate, and Brominated vegetable oil.

Because these ingredients are known to cause side effects for both long-term & short-term periods, so we’ll discuss the side effects and their safety together.

Acesulfame potassium (ACE-K) is a calorie-free artificial sweetener. This is a controversial ingredient with some safety concerns, and there is evidence linking ACE-K to cancer in animal studies.

Aspartame is another artificial sweetener found in Fresca and this ingredient is controversial as some believe that it is linked to disrupted gut bacteria, insulin resistance, and cravings.

A medical review found that Aspartame artificial sweetener can break down in the body into formaldehyde and damage your DNA.

Citric acid and potassium benzoate in Fresca is a preservative and used as a flavor enhancer, studies indicate that citric acid can cause whole-body inflammatory reactions in some individuals.

In addition to this, higher consumption of citric acid can cause your tooth enamel to erode, leading to a need for a root canal.

EDTA may trigger a negative effect as the ingredient is on the FDA’s watchlist to be reviewed and tested for toxicity, so this is something to consider before taking any Fresca flavors products.

Also, this additive promotes various short-term effects such as skin rash, asthma, and migraines. It is also likely to build up in the body over time, leading to a very toxic environment inside of the body.

Another potentially harmful ingredient found in Fresca is brominated vegetable oil (BVO) and this ingredient has corrosive properties and poses major health issues to your health.

Most studies reveal that BVO can cause your hands to swell, disrupt brain development in children, disrupt the thyroid, and increase the chances of risk of cancers.

Is Fresca Bad For You?

Fresca isn’t necessarily bad for you when consumed in moderation like one or two times a week, but it isn’t healthy either.

The main disadvantage of the Fresca drink is that even though it has zero calories and sugar, it uses artificial sweetener aspartame as a sweetening agent. Besides Fresca drinks are flavored using artificial and natural flavors that might be concerning.

Aspartame being an artificial sweetener is healthier when compared to added sugar due to its zero calories. However, people may be allergic to aspartame and may have long-term side effects associated with it.

Fresca doesn’t need to contain any natural ingredients like fruits, so it doesn’t have any significant health benefits.

Also, there are several preservatives added in Fresca such as Citric Acid and Sodium Benzoate that could be harmful when consumed without care.

Thus, Fresca isn’t bad in moderation but doesn’t have any positive health benefits to count either. It doesn’t have any nutritional value and has artificial sweeteners and preservatives that some people might not like due to health concerns.

Healthier Options To Fresca

There are many reasons to desire an alternative to Fresca drink. Drinks such as sparkling water with natural flavors, herbal or fruit-infused water, coconut water, and freshly squeezed juice.

1. Infused based water

Infused with flavored waters is everywhere and there is no doubt finding the good ones is difficult. So it’s best to add slices of your favorite fruits, veggies, and herbs, just add chopped fruit to an ice cube tray, add water, and freeze.

This will make your drink flavourful and instant color, provide benefits of hydration with natural sweetening, and provide several benefits of your favorite added fruits, veggies, and herbs.

2. Unsweetened coconut water

This drink is a natural source of vitamins and minerals and has the added benefits of being low in sugars only 12g per cup,

Plus coconut water contains electrolytes that are not present in Fresca that will help you to maintain your fluid balance such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium which are often depleted during long or strenuous exercise.

Coconut water comes directly from the coconut fruit itself roughly 94%. Research shows that it can be effective as a sports drink for rehydrating after a 90-minute run while causing less nausea and stomach upset.

3. Squeezed Fruit Juice

Instead of starting your day with this diet sodas or sugary sodas, you can start with pomegranate juice and grape juices which are sources of antioxidants that may help protect your brain and blood vessels.

Grape juice meanwhile, may help protect the heart, but the exact doses of grape juice are not known to offer cardiovascular health benefits.

In addition to this, regardless of the juice you drink, you don’t want to go overboard with the juice. After all, compared to diet sodas or Fresca drinks these drinks lack nutritional benefits that fruit juice has, but it can also be high in added sugar and calories.

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