Mixing juice with soda, often referred to as making a “suicide”, is a popular drink combination especially among younger crowds. However, there are debates around whether or not this is actually a healthy drink choice. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of mixing fruit juice with soda to help you decide if it’s OK for you.
First, let’s break down the nutritional value of a juice and soda mixed drink. Pure fruit juice contains beneficial vitamins and minerals, but it also has a high amount of natural sugar. An 8 oz glass of orange juice for example contains around 21 grams of sugar. Soda contains carbonated water, sweeteners, and flavorings like citric acid. A 12 oz can of cola has around 39 grams of added sugar. So in combining the two, you get a drink high in both natural and added sugars.
|Drink||Serving Size||Calories||Sugar (grams)|
|Orange juice||8 fl oz||112||21|
|Cola||12 fl oz||140||39|
As you can see, even a small serving of each can add up to 60+ grams of sugar. That’s more than the recommended daily limit for women (25 grams) and close to the limit for men (37 grams).
Blood Sugar and Energy Levels
Drinking juice mixed with soda leads to a rapid spike in blood sugar. The natural sugars in juice cause blood sugar to rise quickly. The added sugars in soda also deliver a quick dose of glucose into the bloodstream. This surge gives you a temporary energy boost.
However, that spike also triggers the release of insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. In response to the influx of sugar, insulin brings blood sugar crashing back down. This can leave you feeling sluggish and fatigued.
Over time, these blood sugar spikes and crashes can contribute to insulin resistance. That’s when your cells stop responding normally to insulin. This disrupts blood sugar control and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The acidic nature of soda combined with the high sugar content is bad news for your dental health. According to the American Dental Association, the acids in both regular and diet soda wear away at tooth enamel. This can lead to cavities and tooth decay.
Fruit juice is also quite acidic, so mixing it with soda creates a double whammy for your teeth. The combo bathes your teeth in acid while providing sugars that are used as fuel by the bacteria that cause cavities.
Pure sodas and juices are often criticized as not being optimal for hydration. The American Academy of Pediatrics classifies soda as a dessert, not a thirst quencher. Fruit drinks with less than 100% juice typically have added sugars and don’t offer much hydration either.
However, when you mix soda with 100% fruit juice, the juice provides hydrating fluids and electrolytes like potassium. This makes a soda and juice combo somewhat better for hydration than drinking soda alone.
The high sugar load of a juice and soda mixture may also impact gut health. Sugar can change the diversity and balance of gut bacteria. It increases growth of more harmful bacteria while depleting beneficial bacteria.
Soda contains not only sugar but also carbonation and phosphoric acid, both of which can cause indigestion and upset stomach. For those prone to gastrointestinal issues, juice and soda may exacerbate problems like gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Given the high number of liquid calories, a juice and soda drink can easily undermine weight control efforts. Just one 12 oz can of cola packs around 140 calories. An 8 oz glass of orange juice has 112 calories. So even a modest mixed drink can supply over 250 calories.
Because it comes in liquid form, your brain doesn’t register these calories in the same way as solid foods. This makes it easy to mindlessly consume hundreds of excess calories that can lead to weight gain over time.
|Drink Combo||Total Calories|
|8 oz orange juice + 12 oz cola||252 calories|
|12 oz apple juice + 12 oz ginger ale||276 calories|
|10 oz grape juice + 12 oz root beer||298 calories|
To limit empty calories, the American Heart Association recommends limiting juice intake to just 4-6 oz per day and avoiding sugary beverages like soda.
Flavor wise, some people enjoy the taste of juice mixed with soda. The sweet fruity flavors of juice pair well with the bubbly, refreshing sensation of soda. It allows you to enjoy two different flavors at once.
On the other hand, others find the taste overwhelming or unappealing. If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, the double dose of sweetness may not suit your palate.
Taste preferences are highly individual. You may need to experiment to find juice and soda combos you find delicious versus cloying.
If the soda in the mix is caffeinated, that’s another factor to consider. Caffeine can provide an energizing jolt but also has implications for health.
Teens and children are advised to limit caffeine intake as it can exacerbate anxiety and sleep problems in this age group. Pregnant women are also advised to limit caffeine to avoid health risks to the developing fetus.
Adults should cap caffeine intake around 400 mg per day or less. A 16 oz serving of cola has around 50 mg while the same amount of energy drink has about 160 mg of caffeine.
|Beverage||Serving Size||Caffeine (mg)|
|Cola||16 fl oz||54|
|Energy drink||16 fl oz||160|
Mixing caffeinated soda with juice further boosts your caffeine intake, which could have adverse effects if you go overboard.
Both juice and soda can be expensive, especially when purchasing individually sized bottles, cans, or glasses. Mixing them together ups the cost. From a budget standpoint, you may be better off buying larger containers and mixing at home.
Here’s a cost breakdown for individual portable servings:
|Drink||Where to Buy||Cost|
|Bottled juice||Convenience store||$2-4 per 20 oz|
|Soda can||Vending machine||$1-2 per 12 oz|
|Fountain drink||Fast food restaurant||$2-3 for 32 oz|
As you can see, buying pre-packaged drinks every time you want a juice and soda combo can get expensive. Stocking up on larger containers of juice and soda at the grocery store is a more budget-friendly option.
Alternatives to Consider
If you want to reduce sugar but still enjoy some flavor, here are some healthier alternatives to try:
- Mix seltzer or sparkling water with a splash of 100% juice
- Blend juice with ice, yogurt, and fresh fruit
- Infuse water with fruit like berries, citrus, cucumber, or melon
- Make fruit-infused iced tea
- Add fresh mint, ginger, cinnamon, or basil to water
These provide flavor without excess sugars found in soda. Herbs, spices, and fruit add nutrients as well as taste.
Overall, mixing juice with soda is not the healthiest choice given the high amount of sugars and calories. But it’s not a toxic combination either. As with most things in nutrition, moderation and balance are key.
Here are some final tips on enjoying juice and soda in a healthy way:
- Treat it as an occasional indulgence, not an everyday drink
- Stick to a small 4-6 oz serving of juice
- Choose juice with no added sugars
- Limit acidic sodas to avoid damage to dental health
- Be mindful of caffeine if soda is caffeinated
- Consume with a meal to blunt blood sugar spikes
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
Enjoying beverages should be refreshing and delicious. With some moderation and smart choices, you can still quench your thirst with the iconic soda and juice combo.