Is Sierra Mist Healthy? 10 Things You Should Know

Is Sierra Mist considered a healthy beverage?

No, Sierra Mist is not considered a healthy beverage due to the presence of GMO sugar.

Continue reading to find out more and check your knowledge!

Ingredients to be cautious about

  • Msg
  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • 'natural flavors'
  • Potassium benzoate
  • Citric acid

Possible short-term side effects

  • Depression
  • Muscle aches / pains
  • Fatigue
  • Sweet cravings
  • Muscle spasms
  • Migraines
  • May induce hunger

Possible long-term side effects

  • Systemic lupus
  • Ringin in the ears
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Tumors
  • Tooth erosion
  • Visual changes

Benefits

  • Zero sugar
  • Low in sodium
  • Caffeine free
  • Zero fat

Healthy alternatives

  • Fresh juice
  • (Non-diet) Sierra Mist
  • Carbonated water

Did you know...? 🤔

Is Sierra Mist considered a healthy beverage?

Does Sierra Mist contain GMO sugar?

Are there short term side effects of consuming Sierra Mist?

Related videos

Sierra Mist has been reformulated many times over the years. We’ve seen versions that are sweetened with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and even stevia. So what’s the verdict on the current version, made with “Real Sugar”? Is it bad for you?

Sierra Mist is not very healthy because it has 37g of sugar per can (12 fl oz). Just one can of Sierra Mist puts you above the American Heart Association’s recommended daily limit for sugar. However, it may be a slightly healthier choice than other sodas like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Below, I’ll discuss Sierra Mist’s sugar content, whether it is fattening, how it compares to other popular sodas, and whether it’s bad to drink it every day.

Is Sierra Mist Bad for You?

Here are the 10 specific questions I’ll be answering about Sierra Mist nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:

  1. What Is Sierra Mist Made Of?
  2. How Much Sugar Is in Sierra Mist?
  3. Is the Sugar in Sierra Mist Better Than HFCS?
  4. Does Sierra Mist Have Caffeine?
  5. Is Sierra Mist High in Sodium?
  6. Does Sierra Mist Make You Gain Weight?
  7. Does Sierra Mist Cause Acne?
  8. Is Sierra Mist Healthier Than Other Sodas?
  9. Is It Bad to Drink Sierra Mist Every Day?
  10. Is Sierra Mist Vegan?

1. What Is Sierra Mist Made Of?

Let’s start by looking at what Sierra Mist actually contains:

Sierra Mist Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Potassium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness), Potassium Citrate, Calcium Disodium EDTA (To Protect Flavor)

Here are my takeaway points on these ingredients:

  • Sierra Mist has added sugar. Sierra Mist has real sugar, which isn’t much better than high fructose corn syrup nutritionally. Specifically, Sierra Mist has 37g of sugar per can. That’s a lot. Even one can of Sierra Mist puts you over the American Heart Association’s daily sugar limit. More about the sugar content below.
  • Sierra Mist is free of artificial colors. Sierra Mist is clear, so there is no need for dyes like Red 40 or Yellow 5. Artificial dyes seem to cause behavioral issues for some children. So it’s a good thing that Sierra Mist doesn’t have them.
  • Sierra Mist has only seven ingredients. Generally, I appreciate when my foods only have a few simple ingredients—not a ton of crazy chemical ingredient names. That said, despite Sierra Mist’s somewhat low number of ingredients, the sugar content is still quite high.

The biggest nutritional concern with Sierra Mist for most people will be the sugar. So let’s look at the sugar content in the next two sections below.

Related questions:

  • Does Sierra Mist Have Alcohol in It? Sierra Mist is a non-alcoholic soda. It does not have alcohol. However, some people may use Sierra Mist as a mixer along with vodka, tequila, rum, or other alcoholic drinks.
  • Does Sierra Mist have aspartame? Normal Sierra Mist does not have aspartame or other artificial sweeteners. However, Sierra Mist Zero Sugar is sweetened with aspartame and another artificial sweetener, acesulfame potassium.

2. How Much Sugar Is in Sierra Mist?

Sierra Mist has 37 grams of sugar per can (12 fl oz). That is around the same amount as in Sprite, 7 Up, Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper, or Monster Energy. Drinking just one can of Sierra Mist puts you above the daily sugar limit recommended by the American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 25g of sugar per day for women and 36g per day for men. Even just one can of Sierra Mist already puts you above that.

Keep in mind: No added sugar is needed for human health. Really, the healthiest diet would likely just have natural sugar from fruit and whole foods. So in a sense, any “added sugar” is already a negative.

Here’s a table showing how the sugar content of Sierra Mist compares to other sugary drinks:

DrinkSugar (per 12 fl oz)
V8 Tomato Juice10g
Vitamin Water15g
Gatorade20g
Simply Orange Juice34g
Sierra Mist37g
Sprite38g
7 Up38g
Dr Pepper39g
Coca-Cola39g
Monster Energy40g
Barq’s Root Beer45g
Mountain Dew46g
Welch’s Grape Juice52g
Sugar Content Comparison Table.

As you can see, sodas are among the most sugary drinks available. Sierra Mist doesn’t have quite as much sugar as Mountain Dew or Barq’s, but it’s still a lot.

3. Is the Sugar in Sierra Mist Better Than HFCS?

Sierra Mist is sweetened with real sugar—and this is depicted as a positive thing in its marketing. Some people may prefer real sugar for its taste, but nutritionally speaking, is it actually better than high fructose corn syrup?

Some research suggests HFCS may increase appetite and contribute to obesity more than regular sugar. However, other research contradicts this. Overall, it’s unclear whether high fructose corn syrup is worse than normal sugar. (source)

The real bottom line is this: Any high-sugar diet, whether it’s HFCS or normal sugar, can increase heart disease and obesity risk while raising blood sugar, triglycerides, and blood pressure. (source)

So with Sierra Mist, the amount of added sugar is a bad thing—regardless of the fact that it is “real sugar.” Thirty-seven grams per can is just a lot of sugar.

4. Does Sierra Mist Have Caffeine?

Sierra Mist does not have caffeine. It is not an energy drink. It is not advertised as providing caffeine, and none of the ingredients have caffeine naturally. Sierra Mist should not keep you awake.

Caffeine is an interesting ingredient because it has documented health benefits, but it can also be bad in many cases. Studies show it may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. But it’s habit forming, and too much can disrupt sleep.

Therefore, caffeine is generally not considered simply “healthy” or “unhealthy.” It’s more complicated than that. It can be good or bad depending how it’s affecting your life specifically.

5. Is Sierra Mist High in Sodium?

Sierra Mist has about 35mg of sodium per 12 oz can. This is only about 1.5% of the daily recommended limit of 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Therefore, Sierra Mist is not high in sodium.

Even if you drank Sierra Mist all day, you would probably only consume a couple hundred milligrams of sodium from it. So, you should be fine on that front. It’s mostly just the sugar that’s unhealthy.

Fun Fact: Sierra Mist has only about 53% of the sodium of Sprite. When comparing Sprite, 7 Up, and Sierra Mist, the lowest sodium option is Sierra Mist. See more soda comparisons below.

6. Does Sierra Mist Make You Gain Weight?

Sierra Mist is high in calories—140 calories per 12 oz can—so it could contribute to weight gain. However, changes in bodyweight depend on overall calorie balance. So drinking Sierra Mist in moderation will not automatically cause weight gain.

Many people misunderstand what actually causes fat gain. It isn’t generally caused by eating a specific unhealthy food. It’s a result of consuming more calories than you burn overall. The overall quantity of calories is what’s important.

For example, it’s possible to gain fat from healthy foods—if you eat large portions and don’t exercise. In the same way, it’s been shown that you can lose weight by eating McDonald’s, if you eat a small amount.

So, there’s a sense in which no specific food is “fattening.” Only overall diets can be fattening. However, there’s still a sense in which Sierra Mist may lead to weight gain: It has a lot of empty calories that don’t fill you up much.

That is, when you drink Sierra Mist, you’re getting a lot of calories, but not much satiation. And that can lead you to consuming more calories than you need for the day. And in turn, that can cause weight gain.

So, yes, there is a sense in which Sierra Mist can cause weight gain, just like other sugary drinks. But the actual key is your overall diet and calorie balance. One specific food generally won’t make or break your diet.

If your goal is weight loss, I would recommend (A) tracking your calories, or (B) following some of these 18 tips for weight loss without counting calories. Whether you drink Sierra Mist will not make or break your weight-loss journey by itself.

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7. Does Sierra Mist Cause Acne?

The relationship between diet and acne is still evolving. But increasingly, there is significant evidence that diet does play a major role in acne. And there are a few specific types of foods that are widely acknowledged as problematic.

One of the foods most strongly associated with acne is sugar. And as covered above, Sierra Mist has a lot of sugar in each can (37 grams). This means Sierra Mist could cause acne for many acne-prone people.

For many acne sufferers, reducing acne is about stabilizing your blood-sugar and insulin levels. And often, that means minimizing or eliminating high-GI carbs like the sugar found in Sierra Mist.

If you want to learn more, I wrote more about acne science and how to clear your acne in this blog post. But suffice it to say—there’s a decent chance Sierra Mist will be a negative for your skin.

8. Is Sierra Mist Healthier Than Other Sodas?

Despite its high sugar content, Sierra Mist may actually be slightly healthier than most other popular sodas. Let’s make a few comparisons:

  • Sierra Mist vs Coca-Cola: Sierra Mist is likely a bit healthier than Coke. They have nearly the same sugar content (37g vs 39g) and similar same sodium content ( 35mg vs 45mg) per can. But Sierra Mist doesn’t have caramel color or phosphoric acid like Coke, making Sierra Mist Up potentially healthier in comparison.
  • Sierra Mist vs Dr Pepper: Sierra Mist may actually be slightly healthier than Dr Pepper, for the same reasons as with Coke: Sierra Mist avoids the caramel color and phosphoric acid, while not being dramatically worse in any other way.
  • Sierra Mist vs Pepsi: Pepsi has 4g more sugar per serving compared to Sierra Mist. And again, like Coke and Dr Pepper, Pepsi has caramel color and phosphoric acid—yikes. So again, Sierra Mist is likely a bit healthier.
  • Sierra Mist vs Mountain Dew: Sierra Mist has about 9g less sugar per serving than Mountain Dew. Mountain Dew also has the artificial color Yellow 5, which may cause behavioral issues for some children. So again, Sierra Mist seems a little bit healthier.
  • Sierra Mist vs Root Beer: Sierra Mist has about 8g less sugar per serving than Barq’s Root Bear. So, Sierra Mist is probably healthier—but again, neither drink is very healthy.
  • Sierra Mist vs Sprite: Sierra Mist has 1g less sugar per serving compared to Sprite. Sierra Mist also has about 47% less sodium. So Sierra Mist may be slightly healthier than Sprite—but not by much.
  • Sierra Mist vs 7 Up: Sierra Mist has 1g less sugar per serving compared to 7 Up. Sierra Mist also has about 22% less sodium. So Sierra Mist may be slightly healthier than 7 Up—but not by much.

But really, any of these sugar-loaded sodas are not very healthy. For a healthier soda option, you can look at Zevia. It’s sweetened with stevia rather than sugar. Read my Zevia review here.

9. Is It Bad to Drink Sierra Mist Every Day?

Generally speaking, yes, it is bad to drink Sierra Mist every day. Even drinking just one can of Sierra Mist already puts you above the American Heart Association’s recommended daily sugar limit.

High-sugar diets lead to increased risk of obesity, heart disease, tooth decay, and more health problems. And if you drink even a can or two of Sierra Mist per day, you’ve already entered into the realm of “high sugar.”

Now, technically, you could drink one sip of Sierra Mist a day, and you could still be consuming a low-sugar diet. So, that would probably be fine. But who is really stopping after one sip? Let’s be realistic.

The most sensible guideline would probably be to only drink Sierra Mist and similar sodas on occasion. Don’t make it a daily habit.

Related question:

  • Is it OK to drink Sierra Mist once in a while? Sure. For most people, your body can tolerate occasional spikes in sugar and empty calories like those in Sierra Mist. What really causes most diet problems is the repeated consumption of unhealthy foods as a habit.

10. Is Sierra Mist Vegan?

Sierra Mist is generally considered vegan, but it may contain sugar that is filtered with animal bone char. Therefore, some strict vegans may avoid Sierra Mist. Sierra Mist Zero Sugar is considered vegan.

Often, non-organic cane sugar is filtered with bone char, making it a controversial ingredient among some groups of vegans. Although many vegans don’t worry about sugar like this, you may find some vegans who avoid Sierra Mist for this reason.

Since Sierra Mist Zero Sugar is sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead of real sugar, it is more solidly vegan.

Two More Recommendations for Your Plant-Based Journey

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