Definition: A soft drink is a beverage that is flavored, but does not contain any alcohol.
Soft drinks may be made with artificial or natural flavors and colors. They're usually sweetened with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or zero-calorie sweeteners.
Soft drinks include:
- Carbonated beverages such as cola and root beer.
- Fruit drinks such as lemonade and cranberry cocktail.
- Powdered drink mixes.
- Carbonated water that may or may not be flavored.
Coffee, tea, milk, hot cocoa, and 100-percent fruit and vegetable juices are not considered soft drinks.
Soft drinks usually have no nutritional value beyond caloric intake, but some brands of soft drinks contain added vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical extracts. Vitamin C, as ascorbic acid, is sometimes used as a preservative and flavor enhancer.
Ascorbic acid is sometimes used as a food preservative and flavor enhancer. It's perfectly safe unless it combines with sodium benzoate under certain conditions, because the combination has been known to form benzenes.