Learn How to Stop Drinking Soda Pop: Tips and Tricks for Kicking the Bad Habit
Soda and I have had a very intimate relationship for many, many years. The only time we parted ways was during both of my pregnancies in my 30's. Not only did it sound awful to me, but I was avoiding anything with caffeine. When I turned 40 I had to take a long, hard look at this soda habit of mine. The dark syrup beginning to stain my teeth, I was barely drinking any water anymore, and we were spending a fortune on the stuff. I decided this would be the decade I'd kick the habit.
I thought it would be easy, I'd stopped drinking any alcohol years before, so I was pretty sure I could easily stop drinking soda. I figured I'd just not given it a try. I'd switch to water, it would be a breeze! Well, I was wrong... The truth is after all the taste in soda, water was just plain old boring to me. No flavor, no carbonation, no nothing. I lasted 2 days and was back at the store buying Diet Dr. Pepper.
I bounced back and forth like this for a while... abstaining then overindulging. I finally decided I needed to make a few changes in how I was approaching the seemingly monumental task of quitting the bubbly garbage. Here's how I did it and I hope it works for you, too!
Nutritional Information for a 12 oz. Can of Coca Cola
|Serving size: 12 ounces|
|Calories from Fat||0|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 39 g||13%|
|Sugar 39 g|
|Protein 0 g|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
How to Stop Drinking Soda: Know the Facts
- Regular soda will make you gain weight. If you're drinking regular, sugary soda you're consuming a lot of empty calories. Look at the nutritional information to the right for one 12 ounce can of regular Coca Cola. 140 calories is a LOT of empty calories. Let's say you drink two cans per day, that's 280 calories per day. There are 3500 calories in one pound, so it will only take you twelve and a half days to gain one pound. Over the course of one year, that's a whopping 102,200 calories, which translates into 29.2 pounds every year! Yikes!
- Diet soda consumption has been tied to weight gain! Say what? I know it seems counter-intuitive that a non-caloric beverage could be associated with weight gain, but a 2005 University of Texas Health Science Center study found those who drink more than two daily servings of soda pop were at a a 57.1% risk of obesity.
- Regular soda may deprive your body of essential nutrients. Studies have shown that regular soda pop users have a lower intake of magnesium, calcium, vitamin A, ascorbic acid and riboflavin.
- Sodas will erode and can stain your teeth. Soda contains a lot of acids, both phosphoric and citric acids can corrode the enamel on your teeth. If you're drinking dark sodas, the syrup can also stain your teeth.
- Drinking diet soda can negatively affect kidney function. A 2009 nurses health study of 3,256 women showed an association between consuming more than two daily servings artificially sweetened soda and a 2-fold increased odds for kidney function decline. Their kidneys were filtering 30% less than women who weren't drinking diet sodas.
- Drinking diet soda can also lead to bone loss. Osteoporosis is a great enough threat to any person's health, particularly women. But, drinking diet soda increases one's risk of bone loss due to high levels of phosphoric acid. Our bodies are in a constant state of attempting to maintain balance or "homeostasis". Too much phosphorus in our bodies isn't good, so in order to level out the high phosphorus, our bodies pull calcium from our bones. Decreased bone calcium is a precursor to osteoporosis.
- Drinking soda can lead to dehydration. Soda contains plenty of caffeine, a known diuretic. Drinking soda leads to increased urination, which in turn leads to increased thirst... somewhat of a vicious cycle. Soda also contains a lot of sodium, which only adds to the dehydration.
Tips to Kick the Soda Habit
Hopefully you're a bit more motivated now that you've read some of the more alarming facts about the detrimental health effects of soda pop consumption. Keep these in mind when you have a craving.
Start exercising! When you begin exercising, you're naturally more aware of your health and what you put into your body. You will also find you're very thirsty when you're done with your routine. Grabbing a soda probably won't sound as good as a nice, big glass of ice water.
Make a commitment to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day! Make that decision, then stick to it! Make sure you always have a water bottle with you. If you already have water on hand, you're much less likely to seek out a soda machine at work, for example. Carry it around with you at home, too. You'll find the more hydrated you are, the less you'll crave soda.
Make your water more exciting! I love lemon in my water, so I squeeze a wedge and plop it into my glass. You can do that with a lime, orange, cucumber, mint, watermelon, mango, or whatever else you enjoy. Get creative and add variety.
Grab a popsicle during a bad craving! When water just isn't cutting it, grab a fruity popsicle. It does wonders for the cravings and is definitely better than grabbing a soda. Look for the ones made from all fruit, like Dole Fruit Bars, for example.
Make a smoothie! Grab some yogurt, fruit, ice, your blender and make a healthy smoothie. Getting that burst of sweetness really helps.
Keep fresh fruit on hand! Having watermelon around can be a life-saver when you're trying to stop drinking soda. It has a lot of flavor and is filled with water. Most melons and berries go a long way to stave off soda cravings!