DSC01460 (400x300)For at least the last decade, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines have urged Americans to cut down on sugary drinks. Soda, the guidelines warned, “contributes to obesity and disease, and it appears may affect concentration and overall behavior, especially in children.”

People actually listened—for a time. They cut out supersized sodas, went back to a medium Coke, often chose water and unsweetened iced tea over “sweet drinks.” But then the message stalled.

The last couple of years, consumption of soda, sugary juices, sports drinks and more is no longer falling, more like flatlining, but still resting well above the recommended limit of one soda a week or less. People, it seems, may be going back to their old ways. Sugar is just plain addictive.

One professor of nutrition and a spokesperson for the American Heart Association was astounded how much soda children are consuming: Two-thirds of all youngsters drink soda on a daily basis, and some have two or three sodas a day.

Statistics show 111 million adults and 47 million kids continue to drink some sugar-sweetened beverage daily. As one nutritionist said, “We try to protect them from alcohol, tobacco and guns, but not ‘Big Soda,’ which is extremely insidious and cares nothing about the carnage it causes.”

At GreenAcres, we’re concerned about sugar and what it does to our bodies. Don’t get us wrong, we sell a boat load of natural sodas, but our customers are health conscious and looking for an alternative to sweet drinks that ravage the system.

Zevia is one of our biggest sellers. Just today, we noticed several cases going out of the store in grocery carts. You can bet summer picnics and pool parties are in the offing.

The Seattle-based company that opened in 2007, then up and moved to the sunny climes of California, has grown its repertoire from three to 14 different flavors of soda pop. The company started its inventory with three naturally-sweetened flavors: Cola, Lemon Lime Twist and Orange. The colas quickly became kings, with regular Cola, Cherry Cola and Cream Soda soaring to the top of the line. Our customers love them.

With all the negative talk about sugar and high fructose corn syrup, the people who shop our stores are fully aware that if they want to indulge in a beverage, better make it natural and one certainly without toxic ingredients.

When our buyers first went to market and discovered Zevia, they brought it into the store immediately. It had that familiar cola taste and zing, but without the bad stuff. The Zevia product developers have certainly hit upon a winner. The company sells millions of cans a year, with an astonishing 17 million cans in a three-month span in 2015 alone. As the Zevia webpage states, “That’s a lot of soda, and tons of sugar grams avoided!”

Our customers also know that just because a product says its “natural” or sugar-free, it doesn’t mean anything unless it’s not made with sugar substitutes—those can have a toxic effect all their own. At GreenAcres, we prefer stevia which is a sugar grown in nature, that comes from the sunflower family and provides 200 times the sweetness of sugar with zero calories.

And since we like locally and nationally-grown ingredients mainly because we can more closely monitor the weather and climate conditions in areas closer to home, GreenAcres is pleased that the stevia used in Zevia in grown right here in the United States. Stevia requires many of the same climate conditions as growing tobacco does. And as tobacco has continued to gain a bad reputation and may be falling out of favor nationwide, tobacco farmers are increasingly converting to stevia fields. We think that’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Right now, Zevia six-packs are on sale in all eight of our stores for $3.99. When you think of reaching for a Coke, reach for a Zevia instead.

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