3 Tips to Quit Drinking Soda
By Nutritional Weight and Wellness Staff
January 2, 2024
Why is it hard to give up soda?
At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we understand that almost everyone experiences sugar cravings at some point. Sugar cravings are a common topic among our clients, many of whom find that one of the hardest cravings to overcome is for soda, whether it's diet or regular.
The reality is staggering: Americans consume on average 38 gallons of soda per year, amounting to about 13 ounces daily. This high intake is concerning, given the addictive qualities of soda. The sugar in regular sodas triggers the brain's pleasure centers, leading to persistent cravings.
Diet sodas, though sugar-free, contain artificial sweeteners that can mislead the brain into expecting unfulfilled calories, leading to increased hunger and the potential for overeating. This cycle of cravings and the habitual nature of soda consumption make it a challenging habit to break.
However, kicking the soda habit is one of the best decisions you can make for your health. It reduces the long-term negative effects on your physical health and is a crucial step towards a healthier lifestyle.
At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we are committed to guiding our clients through these challenges, offering support and practical advice for making healthier choices.
Reasons for reducing soda consumption:
You'll Be More Hydrated
Drinking less soda and replacing it with water improves hydration. Unlike soda, water does not contain caffeine, which can have diuretic effects leading to dehydration.
Your Gut Will Be Less Irritated
Soda, especially those that are carbonated, can irritate the gut. Reducing soda intake may decrease gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating and gas and aid in healing chronic gut concerns.
Reduce Unwanted Weight Gain
Most sodas are high in sugar and calories, leading to weight gain. Eliminating them reduces calorie intake, aiding weight management, and may help some lose weight.
Improved Bone Health
Some studies suggest that the phosphoric acid in cola-type sodas can interfere with calcium absorption, potentially weakening bones. Cutting back on soda may benefit bone health.
Reduce Your Diabetes Risk:
Regular consumption of soda, particularly those high in sugar, significantly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The high sugar content in sodas leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, placing a strain on the body's ability to manage insulin effectively. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance, a key factor in the development of diabetes.
Furthermore, the excess calories from sodas contribute to obesity, another major risk factor for diabetes. Reducing or cutting soda intake can therefore play a crucial role in increased risk of this chronic health condition.
Caffeinated soda can disrupt sleep in several ways. For the average person, caffeine has a half-life of about 7 hours; this means that if you start your day with 200 milligrams of caffeine (roughly two cups of coffee or a few cans of your favorite diet soda), that will stay in your system full force for seven hours.
Then over the next seven hours, the effects are at their half-life (100 milligrams of caffeine). Finally, at 21 hours, you are still feeling the effects of about 50 milligrams of caffeine content. Caffeine is affecting your system for quite a while, for many of us, enough to prevent a restful nights’ sleep.
Additionally, since caffeine is a natural diuretic, you may be making an extra trip or two to the bathroom at night instead of sleeping the night through.
Tip #1. Set realistic goals to quit drinking soda.
How are you going to quit drinking soda? Think about a habit you've successfully formed in the past and how you achieved that goal. Some people can give up soda cold turkey on Day 1, and others need to slowly wean themselves off so the task seems less daunting.
First, figure out what type of person you are, and then develop a goal that will help support you best. Are you going to stop drinking soda on a certain date and not have any soda after that date? Or, will you start slowly and quit soda by switching from 20-ounce bottles to 12-ounce cans, beginning to reduce your soda intake?
There is no right or wrong way to stop drinking soda, as long as your end goal is to kick the soda habit completely.
Tip #2. Drink water and make it fun!
We are drinking soda because we're thirsty, right? And it makes sense to drink a soda to stay hydrated because soda is a tasty liquid that seemingly would quench thirst! But thirst is a sign of dehydration, which means your body is actually asking you to drink water not sugary drinks.
It's not surprising that our taste buds would prefer to drink a sugary drink over flavorless water.
Here are some water upgrades to help in quitting soda:
Give flavored water a try to help you drink less soda. How about making fruit-infused water by adding some frozen fresh fruit to your glass? Maybe a bit of lemon juice or lime juice sounds more appealing?
I know what you're thinking—“I'll miss the bubbles from soda!” How about having a LaCroix sparkling water or Zevia to replace soda with a fizzy alternative while you get used to drinking pure water? Other delicious and healthy ways to flavor your water without added sugar are Stevia Drops or Key Greens & Fruit.
Herbal tea can be a healthier alternative as you transition away from drinking soda, too.
Pay attention to your temperature preferences. Do you find that you drink more water when it's ice cold? Then don't forget the ice cubes. Do you love to sip a warm beverage? Try hot water with lemon.
Filtered water is best and can be more refreshing and tastier, making it easier to drink.
Remember, the ultimate goal is to eventually be drinking pure water most of the time, with one or two of our favorite other beverages mixed in. You can do this!
But some people just hate plain water. If that's you, it may be the time to evaluate your health. Schedule a nutrition counseling appointment with one of our nutritionists who can help you make a plan that works for you.
Tip #3. Eat in balance.
Did you know that you can decrease sugar and soda cravings simply by eating balanced meals?
When we eat protein, healthy fats, and vegetable or fruit carbohydrates, our blood sugar stays balanced and our brain's desire for sweet treats and sugary drinks decreases.
Also, over time, our taste buds become used to less sweetness, and when you drink soda will you'll notice it starts tasting too sweet and less desirable..
Is diet soda a good alternative to regular soda?
A can of diet soda is absolutely full of chemicals as well as artificial sweeteners. Add the food coloring onto the list, not good for our bodies because dyes have been linked to behavior problems and difficulty concentrating.
Nothing about diet soda is real, which means the body has to process chemicals and the artificial sweeteners to get rid of it all, which is a burden on the liver and prevents it from doing its main job of keeping our body running smoothly, processing fat, keeping metabolism moving, etc.
And remember, when consuming artificial sweeteners used in most diet soda, the brain expects more calories that don't arrive, potentially leading to increased hunger and subsequent overeating. This effect can undermine diet efforts, as the body craves more food to satisfy the expected calorie intake.
We strongly advise against the regular consumption of diet sodas.
Our focus is on fostering healthier lifestyle choices, and we believe that the artificial sweeteners and chemicals in diet sodas place an unnecessary burden on your liver and metabolic health.
Wrapping Up How to quit drinking soda:
We understand that overcoming cravings for sweetened beverages can be challenging, but we're here to guide you towards more balanced eating habits that naturally curb these sugar cravings. Over time, your taste preferences will adapt, and you'll likely find that regular and diet sodas become less appealing.
By choosing healthier alternatives, drinking more water, and focusing on nutritionally rich meals, you'll be taking a significant step towards improved health and well-being. Remember, every small change counts on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
Further Support for Health & Habit Challenges:
Your journey to a healthier lifestyle is a series of small, yet impactful changes. To support you further, we offer our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss Program, designed to provide deeper insights into nutrition and healthy eating habits as help you stay accountable.
This program combines the expertise of our nutritionists with practical advice, and a strong support system to help you successfully navigate away unhealthy habits and towards a more nourishing lifestyle.
We would love to work with you towards improved health and well-being.
Success Story on Eliminating Soda:
“I was very skeptical at first but after three months I have much better habits and feel better about myself. This class gave me new ways to look at food choices. I never thought I could give up bread and pop.” – Dawn N
Additional education to support in your efforts to stop drinking soda:
NutriKey Products Mentioned:
NutriKey Key Greens & Fruit: The Superfood Drink Mix That Makes Getting All Your Daily Nutrients Irresistible
Sweet Drops: A tasty, convenient and calorie-free way to flavor water, yogurt, smoothies, coffee, and much more
Medical News Today
Harvard Health Publishing
National Osteoporosis Foundation
American Diabetes Association