Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Root Beer Bad For You?



Short answer

Unless made from home with natural ingredients, root beer is bad for you. The traditional drink has evolved into an artificial health trap that can pose countless risks on the body.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Feeling thirsty? A nice cold root beer might do the trick. It has come a long way from its start as an herb-based medicine, but with its distinctive flavoring and ability to pair well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it remains a popular choice among young and old alike. With the evolution of the drink, however, came the substitution of many of its original and beneficial ingredients to new, artificial ones. This may have helped lengthen the shelf life of the drink, but will certainly help shorten yours.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sugar are compositionally similar and are often used interchangeably when making soft drinks. Both are a direct link to diabetes and obesity, and while okay in moderation, large amounts of HFCS or sugar can increase your odds of these conditions. The more you drink, the more likely you are to have these issues down the line! What's more is recent studies have found roughly 50% of HFCS samples to contain mercury - a metal that can damage the body's immune system, brain, and vital organs. 

In the meantime, you have your tooth enamel, quality of sleep, and mood to worry about: the HFCS and sugar in root beer can cause tooth decay, the caffeine can create sleep pattern disturbances and insomnia, and the aspartame found in diet versions of the drink can cause (and is not limited to) irritability, anxiety, and depression. All four substances also have addiction potential, and will leave you craving more. So is there much of a point? Besides the nice taste and fizz, it unfortunately doesn’t have much else going for it. You’ll be much better off quenching that thirst with some freshly squeezed lemonade. 

Click here to read about homemade varieties - they are a heck of a lot better. 

Possible short-term side effects

  • headaches
  • hyperactivity (especially in children)
  • increased urination
  • increased blood sugar levels

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • metabolic syndrome
  • diabetes
  • increased blood pressure
  • tooth enamel erosion
  • addiction
  • cancer

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Virgil's Zero Sugar Soda

  • Calorie-free
  • Keto-friendly
  • Great tasting
  • Sugar-free
  • Compact 12oz cans
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Lindsay
Published on: 01-13-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Lindsay
Published on: 01-13-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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