How Do Natural Sodas and Regular Sodas Compare?

Two unopened glass soda bottles with white lids and different flavors

It’s hard to go anywhere in contemporary America without seeing an advertisement for soda. They’re on your home TV, they interrupt internet videos, they’re played before movies, they’re on jumbotrons at sporting events and, in case you didn’t get the message, they’re on video billboards, static billboards and the sides of buses everywhere. It’s enough to make you switch to all natural soda. But is there really any difference between, say, a soda that claims to be vegan and a regular soda? Or is it just a bunch of marketing hot air? That’s what we’re here to find out.

The Differences Between Regular Soda and Natural Soda

The word “natural” is one of the most misused in the English language. For decades companies have been claiming that their products are “natural” in order to attract the attention of health-conscious consumers. Unfortunately, a lot of these claims are specious at best. But what about soda? Is there a real difference between natural sodas and standard soft drink options? To answer that, let’s look at the different things that go into soda.

1) The Sweetener

The main difference between natural and regular soda is the type of sweetener used. Most regular soft drink manufacturers use either high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is a sweetener made from corn starch, or regular sugar. From a chemical perspective, HFCS is virtually identical to regular table sugar. The reason companies use it is because it's cheaper to extract HFCS from corn starch than it is to grow and harvest sugar cane and then refine it into usable sugar. The FDA has stated that they are not aware of any significant differences between HFCS and refined sugar.

In the case of Rocky Mountain Soda one of the things that makes our beverages “natural” is that we use vegan cane sugar instead of regular cane sugar or HFCS. Regular sugar is often processed using what's known as "bone char", also known euphemistically as "natural carbon". In reality, it is the charred bones of cattle and it acts as a bleaching agent enabling processed sugar to achieve the preferred white color.

If you’re committed to living a life free of animal exploitation you want nothing to do with sugar refined using cattle bones. Our Rocky Mountain Sodas are made with vegan cane sugar, which means that at no point in the refinement process are animal bones or other animal-derived materials used in the growing, refining or manufacturing process. Our soft drinks are also kosher, contain no gmos and are free of gluten.

2) Gluten

Millions of people experience various types of intolerance to gluten, a protein found in, among other things, grain, processed meats, condiments and beer. When a person is gluten intolerant they may feel tired, bloated or nauseous after consuming a food containing gluten. Besides intolerance, there are also those who suffer from celiac disease.

Celiac disease is when a person experiences an autoimmune response to gluten. Put another way, their body views gluten as a virus and launches a full-scale immune system defense against what it perceives as an invader. That response typically produces painful inflammation, as well as the above-mentioned fatigue, nausea and bloating and may also cause long-term damage to the digestive tract of the affected person.

Some of the most popular soft drinks are considered gluten free. But not all of them. Gluten enters the picture when a soft drink manufacturer uses carmel color in their soda. Why is that a problem? Because carmel is often made using the gluten-containing grain barley. All of our natural soft drinks are completely free of gluten.

3) GMOs

Ever since the US Food and Drug Administration formally approved the “Flavr Savr” tomato for human consumption in 1994 genetically modified food has been elbowing natural foods off the shelves. The Flavr Savr is a typical genetically engineered (GE) food that has two genes added to it to improve its shelf-life and enhance its resistance to fungi. Unbeknownst to most people who wish to keep this kind of genetically modified organism (GMOs) out of their diet, most popular soft drink brands contain GMOs that get into the soda via the High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) we mentioned earlier.

It happens because, according to Bloomberg News, 92% of the massive US corn crop is now genetically modified. Meaning virtually all the corn used to create the corn starch the HFCS is derived from is genetically modified in order to increase crop yields and make the corn less susceptible to blight and pests. At Rocky Mountain Soda we don’t play games with our customers’ expectations. All of our naturally delicious sodas are completely free of genetically modified organisms.

The Verdict

At the outset, we asked if there is a real difference between natural and regular soda. And the answer is "Yes". Very definitely. Of course, with soda as with most other things, whether you can depend on the word "natural" depends on who is making the soda.

About Our Natural Soda Company

Rocky Mountain Soda Company's craft soda flavors are as true to nature as soft drinks can be. We steer clear of gluten, genetically modified organisms, animal by-products and more so that our customers can enjoy the crisp, refreshing taste of genuine craft soda without having to worry about negative ramifications. If you suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, or you strive to live a life free of animal exploitation and cruelty consider Rocky Mountain Soda for your next get-together.