My name is Mara, and I'm a Diet Coke addict. The term addict may be a little strong, but I drink at least three of these chemically enhanced drinks a week. It's practically nutrition editor blasphemy! Though I know they may lead to weight gain, I can't quite kick my habit—there's something so refreshing about the sweetened carbonation. Tap water and green tea don't stand a chance, but these zero-calorie flavored waters might just do the trick.
The product: R.W. Knudsen Sparkling Essence (about $4 for a pack of four; knudsenjuices.com for store locations)
The health factor: No liquid calories here! Just like my favorite diet drinks, these beverages have no calories, fat, carbs, or sugar. Plus they're USDA-certified organic. These sweet sips contain only carbonated water, brewed extracts, and natural flavors.
The taste factor: Sparkling Essence flavors include organic cucumber, mint, lemon, and blueberry. Though I was worried that the natural flavors might be lost in the sparkling water, the taste comes through in all four. The lemon has the perfect amount of citrus, the mint is refreshing, and the blueberry has a fruity flavor, but is not necessary distinguishable from other berries. I expected the cucumber to be the mildest, but it turned out to be surprisingly potent. Some of the other staffers are not fans, but cucumber enthusiasts will definitely enjoy.
Editors pick: Mint. It has the fizziness of soda and just enough mint to taste crisp and almost mojito-like. I'm hooked!
Why we love it: Not only is it guilt-free and organic, but it is a great alternative to sugary drinks. Plus, the presentation is perfect—the cans look like Red Bull for the caffeine-conscious. With a trendy, sophisticated look, I'd much rather tote them around the office than my diet drinks.