Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Is Sierra Mist Bad For You?



Short answer

Sierra Mist, like most sodas, is bad for you. Any highly processed beverage or food will contain chemicals that you want to avoid, and this is no exception.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

PepsiCo’s Sierra Mist has been advertised as the healthy and “natural” soda alternative, even renaming their product to Sierra Mist Natural. What seems to be a great option for the health-conscious consumer has been exposed as a cleverly designed marketing tactic.

Sierra Mist Natural claims to have no artificial ingredients, it’s caffeine free, with 100% natural flavors and made with real sugar. The label “natural flavors” is a very broad term that the FDA approved as a category for many lab-made ingredients that to the common consumer would not be “natural”. Among these legally “natural” flavorings are excitotoxins which are chemicals with an addictive quality that keep you wanting more. This logically would be a very desirable additive for companies like PepsiCo. Unfortunately for the consumer, excitotoxins can be harmful, causing depression, fatigue, migraines and possible nerve disorders.

Besides the misleading flavor recipe, there remains another disturbing fact. What is used for Sierra Mist’s “real sugar”?

Amazingly enough, they are one of the very few name-brand soda companies that do not use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a sweetener in their soft drinks. A little-known fact is that manufacturers (of soda or any other product) are not required to specify whether they use cane sugar or beet sugar as the “sugar” or “sucrose” in their products. 

Beet sugar doesn’t sound all that bad, right? Well here’s the kicker. About 95% of all sugar beets that are grown in the US are genetically modified (GMO) and around 50% to 60% of white sugar comes from these beets, and consumers are blind to it. Unless it is specified on the label that the sugar comes from 100% pure cane sugar (which is not yet GMO) or is certified organic, it is more than likely to contain genetically modified beet sugar that contains high levels of glyphosate.

A little on glyphosate: it inhibits the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut leading to an overpopulation of pathogenic intestinal bacteria. This causes chronic inflammation over time including other side effects.

Another ingredient in Sierra Mist and commonly found in sodas is potassium citrate. If sensitive to this ingredient it can cause an upset stomach, abdominal discomfort, nausea and loose stool.

PepsiCo has been sued for abusing the label “natural” on their product, and they promptly changed Sierra Mist Natural back to Sierra Mist. They admitted that they do use a mix of cane sugar and GMO beet sugar. Not so natural after all.

Possible short-term side effects

  • depression
  • fatigue
  • migraines
  • gastrointestinal upset
  • nausea
  • abdominal discomfort
  • loose stools

Possible long-term side effects

  • nerve disorders
  • chronic inflammation
  • cancer and disease

Ingredients to be aware of

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Zevia Lemon Lime Soda

  • Zero calorie drink
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Refreshing citrus twist
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Sugar-free option
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Aubrie Robinson
Published on: 04-07-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Aubrie Robinson
Published on: 04-07-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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