One of the most interesting things I’ve heard in my years as a registered dietitian is the idea that many people don’t consider ginger ale to be a type of soda. They are often surprised when I tell them that it is. Let’s take a closer look at ginger ale to review its ingredients and understand why it deserves to be in the same category as soda.
What is Ginger Ale?
Ginger ale is a carbonated beverage flavored with the spice, ginger or an artificial ginger flavor. Commercial varieties, like Canada Dry and Schweppes, are typically sweetened with artificial sweeteners, sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Additional ingredients can also include added colors, flavors and preservatives.
Another variety, KeVita Ginger Kombucha, which can be found in specialty stores or online, is made with a probiotic-rich culture similar to sourdough bread or kombucha. This type of fermented beverage may contain powdered or fresh ginger root and fewer artificial ingredients.
Nutritional Content of Ginger Ale
A typical 12-ounce serving of commercial ginger ale contains 130 calories and 35 grams of added sugar.
Ginger root may offer several health benefits including helping to reduce nausea, improving migraine headaches, providing antioxidants and lowering inflammation. It is important to note that these possible benefits come from the amount and concentration of ginger root found in a particular product. Since most commercial varieties of ginger ale contain very little to no actual ginger root, it is unlikely these beverages offer significant benefits.
Bottom line, yes, ginger ale is most definitely considered a type of soda. Since a typical serving contains over 100 calories, all of which come from added sugars, it should be thought of as any other type of soda or soft drink. Since sweetened beverages of any kind are not compatible with a bariatric diet, intake of ginger ale should be minimized or avoided completely.
There are alternatives to commercial ginger ales like “natural” sodas like Olipop and fermented ginger kombucha like Kevita. While these may contain less processed ingredients and actual ginger root, they still contribute added sugars to the diet.
It is best to consult with your surgeon or dietitian before consuming any sweetened beverage. If you have any questions about soda or liquid calories, call our office to make an appointment at 908-481-1270.