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Amanda Jones is in love with her SodaStream, saying this popular kitchen gadget has drastically changed her life.
This past Christmas, the Mount Pearl, N.L. woman was gifted the device that forces carbon dioxide into the water to make it fizzy.
As a self-proclaimed Diet Coke and carbonated water addict, Jones was buying anywhere from two to three cases of Bubly or carbonated water a week, and probably way too many two litre bottles of Diet Coke to count.
But, since Christmas, this has drastically been reduced.
"I think we've bought five cases of Bubly since then," she says.
And when she buys Diet Coke now, it usually goes flat in the fridge before the bottle is empty.
“It's definitely cost-saving, which I love, but drinking fewer soft drinks, and even store-bought carbonated water, is healthier and I can feel the difference,” says Jones. “I like being able to control the sugars and sweetness in the carbonated water I'm making at home.”
Heidi Young of Conception Bay South, N.L., feels the same way. She used to be a Coca-Cola fanatic, drinking a case of 15 cans every week.
Since getting her SodaStream two years ago, she has only had two cans of soda. She can’t stomach the taste of it now, finding it much too sweet.
The SodaStream is simple to use and involves screwing a designated bottle into the appliance and pushing a button to carbonate it. The tricky part is adding the flavours – especially if you don’t read the instructions.
The first time Young used it, instead of slowly pouring her flavour into the carbonated water, she just dumped it in.
“Did I ever get a fright when it bubbled up and hit the ceiling! What a mess! Lesson learned: tilt bottle. Pour slowly,” she says.
Lower sugar intake
SodaStream, or any other carbonated water beverage brand, are great products for those who love fizzy drinks like pop but are looking to lower their intake of added sugar, says Samantha Blizzard, a registered dietitian working for the Atlantic Superstore in Charlottetown and Montague, P.E.I.
“As long as consumers aren’t adding syrups to their carbonated water every day, it is possible that one’s daily sugar intake could be decreased significantly from using this type of product,” she says.
Most of the SodaStream syrups are made from a mixture of sugar and sweeteners, says Blizzard. The sweeteners used will vary depending on the product, but SodaStream primarily uses acesulfame potassium and sucralose for its syrups.
These sweeteners are deemed safe by Health Canada, but like anything else, overdoing any sweetened food or beverage is not recommended, Blizzard adds.
"Canada’s Food Guide suggests that plain water be our drink of choice most of the time, so enjoying carbonated water without added syrups would be the primary recommendation," she says. Adding syrups are a tasty option from time to time when you’re craving something a bit sweeter, she adds.
Besides the SodaStream brand syrups, other mix options to try include Stur, Nesfruta or Mio water enhancer drops, Crystal Light or mixing half a glass of bubbly water with fruit juice. Skip trying to carbonate juice - you'll have a mess on your hands.
As a healthier, sugar-free option, try squeezing fresh lemons or limes into the carbonated water for a refreshing drink. Or, add fresh or frozen fruit like strawberries or pineapple. Adding fresh herbs can be refreshing too like a cucumber and mint combination, suggests Blizzard.
Heather O’Brien of St. John’s, N.L., says when she’s not drinking the plain carbonated water, she uses it as a mix for drinks.
"Just mix vodka, a slice of lime, soda water and that's it," she says.
Another aspect that O’Brien likes about SodaStream is that it's much more cost-effective than buying canned or bottled drinks, and there's much less waste.
“The amount of plastic waste it has cut down by not buying fizzy water from the store has been unreal,” says Crystal Richard, from Moncton, N.B. “That was the reason we bought one.”
With their recycling bin out of control, Richard decided to make the switch to a SodaStream and her family has never looked back. Now, she says, having the SodaStream keeps them from throwing out thousands of bottles.
"We are also helping prevent the privatization of water, one of the greatest threats to our environment," says Krista Montelpare of Glace Bay, N.S. "The SodaStream was a game-changer for disrupting that industry."
Emily Kennedy, climate change coordinator at the Municipality of the County of Kings, says that potable or drinkable water is a valuable resource. The rate at which water is extracted is not sustainable - the water table cannot naturally replenish itself.
“There are already challenges with maintaining the aquifers, just with normal household use,” says Kennedy. “Part of the issue is that bottled water companies often aren't limited to the amount of water they can remove.”
The production of bottled water uses more water than just filling the containers they come in, says Kennedy. The basic rule of thumb is that for every litre of water that's bottled, four litres are required.
Then, take into account the environmental costs of transportation from the source to the manufacturing plant, then to the point of sale and, finally, to the consumer.
"It also uses a lot of chemicals to produce those bottles, which often pollute the air and nearby water," explains Kennedy. "Not to mention that the cost of the bottled products are significantly more expensive than the cost of tap water - and is more often than not all that different to what bottled water is."
Bottles are also frequently not disposed of properly and end up on the side of the road or in the ocean, which can have devastating effects on wildlife, she adds.
SodaStream seems to have given people a motivation to go back to the tap, says Kennedy.
“The same social status that was once associated with bottled water is now being applied to carrying around your branded reusable bottle,” she says.
Did you know?
SodaStream has done a great job of promoting its cartridge recycling program, which means more of those are being recirculated instead of ending up in landfills, says Emily Kennedy, climate change coordinator at the Municipality of the County of Kings in Nova Scotia.
Because of the pandemic, some people have found it more difficult to find stores that carry and regularly stock the replacement tanks.
A few stores - like Canadian Tire, Walmart, and some Home Hardware locations - will swap your used CO2 canister for a new one.
Select Noble Grape locations in Nova Scotia, which sell beer and wine-making supplies, actually refill SodaStream canisters at a lower cost than some of the bigger stores.
The trick, says Aimee Terrio of Hammonds Plains, N.S., is that before visiting Noble Grape, chill the canister for 30 minutes, otherwise, you will have to wait for them to refill it.
Representatives say that not all stores are yet equipped, but they are working on it.