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Why Should I Quit Soda?

Updated on July 21, 2017
D_2011_4_500 Mint Cola Bottling Company, Raleigh, NC, 1910s
D_2011_4_500 Mint Cola Bottling Company, Raleigh, NC, 1910s | Source

DISCLAIMER

"Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?" Shakespeare (As You Like It Act 4, scene 1, 115-124)

First, I'm not picking on any particular brand of soda or beverage company. I see all soda as equal including diet soda. Actually, depending on who you ask, diet soda can be even more unhealthy.

Also, an occasional soda isn't a catastrophe. I believe it can be enjoyed in moderation. It won't lead to a sudden epidemic or the collapse of civilization. Humanity has bigger problems to face.

So, why should I quit soda?

Soda is great!

My parents owned their own restaurant when I was younger. They rarely brought home the food--mostly fast food--because they knew how unhealthy it can be. So when I worked for them during my high school summers, I knew how much was too much. But soda somehow slipped under the radar. During an eight-hour day working with them, I drank two or three cans. After work I'd have a couple more.

College wasn't much better. I stayed away from alcohol but soda was everywhere. It was in the dining hall and there were soda machines in every building, including the dorms. I always seemed to have something cold and fizzy nearby while studying. Between the exams and papers, I hardly gave it another thought.

In the Army it was more of the same. They weren't keen on soda so their vending machines were filled with those fluorescent, sugary sports drinks. But in the dining facility and throughout base, both choices were readily available. By then I didn't think twice because of all the exercise I was getting. Also, my habit didn't seem so bad when I saw other soldiers drinking or smoking.

Then my intake plateaued. I'd drink at least a two liter bottle of soda a day. There have been days when over half my calorie intake was from soda. My friends and co-workers sometimes looked at me. Or maybe they were looking at the soda in my hand.

At that point, there was no more denial, no more running away. If I'm not sure whether the people in my life are looking at me or my habit but I decided it was time to change.

It's been about about three years since then. Along the way, I learned a few things. Now when I think of soda, it's much harder to stomach.

You can even find generic ghetto soda in Japan!
You can even find generic ghetto soda in Japan! | Source

Think soda is harmless?

The health reason alone was enough to wake me up. But why is it unhealthy? How is it unhealthy? If I could get to the bottom of it all then I knew I'd have a chance.

There are plenty of resources out there that discuss the "why." Do a little homework and you'll have enough information to remove all doubt. I've included a link below to "Killer Colas" by Nancy Appleton. In the meantime, here is a quick list of health problems linked to soda:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis and poor dental health

That's a lot of damage. In fairness, none of these problems are soda specific. In other words, removing soda from the diet won't cure any of them. Also, anyone can get any of these diseases even if they do not drink soda at all.

The only concern I have is that the amount and consistency of soda I drank over the years. Day by day, I was bombarding my system with each can, bottle, cup and refill. Each drink was steadily increasing my risks of all of the above.

This is how all bad habits affect our lives. It's the constant drip that reinforces itself. The constant drip that we then ignore. The constant drip that kills us.

Killer Colas: The Hard Truth About Soft Drinks
Killer Colas: The Hard Truth About Soft Drinks

The title is not very subtle but it is very telling in what effects soda has on the body.

 

It's an addiction

It's hard to think of soda as an addiction. It may even seem offensive, especially with so many people facing alcohol dependency or drug abuse. Such addictions are destroying lives every day. Then there is nicotine found in cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Also many people face "behavioral addictions" such as gambling or shopping that can easily ruin anyone's finances.

So what does any of this have to do with soda?

There are two things going on here. First is how these beverages are marketed towards our children. As participants in any consumer economy we are forever bombarded with commercials and jingles. By the time we are young adults we are able to shake them off, mainly because we are desensitized to them.

But the damage has been done. We know what we want by brand. Whether it's your girlfriend and her super-expensive designer bag or the beer you always go for after work, we expect a specific experience with our brand. And we always get it. Only with soda, it happens to us much earlier and much more frequently.

The next is a bit more complicated, please bear with me. As a species, homo sapiens have dominated the globe by craving sugar, fat and salt. The hunter-gatherer brain found that by craving sugar they would find the softest fruit: a valuable package of vitamins, fiber and water. Then, by craving fat and salt they would find the juiciest meat: a valuable package of protein and calories. Although all these nutrients are easily available today our brains are still wired to crave sugar, fat and salt.

The sugar of fruit is now superseded by the sugar of soda because soda is far more sweeter. However, we do not get the vitamins and fiber from soda that our bodies need to function properly. Our bodies prepare for nutrients but only get high fructose corn syrup and caffeine. Also there's the added damage soda does to our bodies that we discussed earlier. The more soda we drink the more we crave it above fruit.

Let's take a break

Diabeetus! Yum! Yum!
Diabeetus! Yum! Yum! | Source

What'll it be: fruit or soda? I'm ashamed to say that I used to go for the soda. Only out of guilt would I have settled for fruit. How about lunch? A salad (no dressing) or steak? Personally, I'm trying to cut down on beef as a whole but I can make an exception for steak. If it's too early for lunch, how about breakfast? Water and oatmeal or bacon and eggs with orange juice?

Now, by finally understanding why I love soda, it's much easier to face the craving but choose fruit instead.

Let's take a break

Waistland: The R/evolutionary Science Behind Our Weight and Fitness Crisis
Waistland: The R/evolutionary Science Behind Our Weight and Fitness Crisis

These urges are so strong and deeply-rooted in our minds that they have shaped our entire culture for as long as we have existed. Deirdre Barrett makes this point clear in her book, "Wasteland." You can find more information here.

 

Soda is expensive

As soon as I started to cut down on soda for the reasons above, I noticed that I was richer. It wasn't by a much but this was unexpected. Let's do the math:

The difference is huge depending on what we do with our new found wealth. If you cut just two sodas a day, you save $3.00 (assuming a soda is $1.50). That's $1,095 a year. Invest your $1,095 in an index fund with an average annual performance of 6% and you will double your money in just under twelve years. That's only if you cut soda for one year!

Don't want to invest? You'll do even better if you use this money to pay off a credit card you have. For example, imagine you have $5,000 in debt at an interest rate of 17%. If you make a minimum monthly payment of $100 (and stop using your card), you will be free of this debt in 87 months or 7.25 years. However, if you add the money you would save on cutting soda then your monthly payment will be $190. You will be free of this debt (assuming you do not use your card any longer) in 34 months--under 3 years. Not bad.

Seeing these figures in black and white helped me out whenever I had change in my pocket as I walked by a vending machine. Hopefully it will do the same for you.

Soda is tough on the Earth

Like everything else, soda takes its toll on the Earth. You'd think that soda is water and sugar with a few chemicals, right? It's not that simple. According to the Wall Street Journal, it takes almost 500 liters of water to make 2 liters of soda.

High fructose corn syrup comes from corn which has to be grown using pesticides and more water. We drink soda from packages: aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles. All of which take energy and valuable resources from our planet. All of this these materials along with the final product have to be stored and shipped all over the world so it can be right at your fingertips whenever you need it: cold and inviting.

While there are many other products out there that do much more damage, if you cut some soda out of your daily life the planet will thank you. Below is a short trailer for the film "Last Call at the Oasis." The world's fresh water is not infinite. Cutting back on soda is just one of the things we can do to help save it.

Last Call at the Oasis

Soda is a part of a killer combo

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

This book takes a serious look at what fast food is doing to our bodies and our country. It doesn't focus specifically on soda but the sugar and caffeine soda provides follows up the killer combo of fat and salt every fast food joint serves nice and hot.

 

Does America have a problem? - Or is it just me?

Do you think you can quit soda?

See results

Any other reasons to quit? - As if we need more!

Submit a Comment

  • PaigSr profile image

    PaigSr 3 years ago from State of Confussion

    I used to go through a two liter of Dew every other day. Then our church had a 40 day fast and I chose the soda. After that I rarely drink soda. Its more of a treat when I go out for a meal.

    Basically world take your own 40 day challenge to see if you can stop drinking the soda or at least reduce the amount of intake.

  • profile image

    Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

    Personally, I'm addicted to Diet Pepsi/Pepsi Max. I have been since I was 17. And I don't want to go to rehab.

  • Johanna Eisler profile image

    Johanna Eisler 4 years ago

    Thank you for the wake-up call. I grew up in a household that didn't drink soda. I don't think my husband's family did, either. We rarely bought it for years. What happened? I don't know. Now it's in the house all the time. I think something's gotta change.

  • profile image

    MintySea 5 years ago

    I have not quit it but I don't buy it all that often. I mostly make punch for the kids.

    If I get caffine free diet rootbeer I tend to drink a lot of it so it's a once in a while treat. I rarely drink caffeine soda because the caffeine withdraw can give me headaches.

  • RoadMonkey profile image

    RoadMonkey 5 years ago

    I have already quit soda - the statistics show that teenagers who drink soda are 3 times more likely to suffer bone fractures than those who drink milk or water!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Anymore I don't think I drink more than the equivalent of 5 cans a month and I don't miss it. Your lens is spot on. Soda is NOT healthy and it is certainly not good for you.

  • profile image

    DebMartin 5 years ago

    I grew up in a household where soda was not present, even on special occasions.

    So I've been spared the addiction. Your lens here is full of great info and I'm so glad you've provided this for everyone who cares to read. Especially important is the part about the amount of water it takes to make the soda. Such a waste in a world that needs to become more conscious about the amount of water we use.

  • Kae Yo profile image

    Kae Yo 5 years ago

    My teenage years seemed to be full of soda. When I got out on my own as a young adult I slowly grew away from the stuff, drinking flavored waters and juices. It's been a few years now and my kids and I will enjoy a soda on our rare visits out at a restaurant.

  • jdwheeler profile image

    jdwheeler 5 years ago

    I quit drinking sodas about 2 years ago. Best thing I ever did. I really enjoy the money savings at a restaurant because they never charge for water!

  • LaurenIM profile image

    LaurenIM 5 years ago

    been trying quit for the past few decades.

  • GeekGirl1 profile image

    GeekGirl1 5 years ago

    I enjoy a glass of soda every once in a while. I am not addicted to it, though.

  • profile image

    poutine 5 years ago

    I only drink the no sugar, no caffeine soda. And I have slow down a lot.

  • TwistedWiseman profile image

    TwistedWiseman 5 years ago

    I already quit 4 months ago, and I lost 10 KG already, so it is a definite reason why to stop drinking it.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    I never liked soda and I often wonder why people drink it like water !

  • profile image

    cassieann 5 years ago

    Great lens - it should make one really think about soda. I do have friends who drink many sodas a day. My parents rarely had soda in the house, but on Fridays they would let us have a coke. I probably drink more now than I ever did but that still amounts to about 3 a week. Nevertheless, I should make even wiser choices about what I consume. Thanks for the info.

  • adragast24 profile image

    adragast24 5 years ago

    There are many alternatives to soda: water (sparkling or with lemon if you find plain water to be too boring), smoothie (real ones, with lots of fresh fruits and not too much sugar), wine, milk, ...

  • dancerene profile image

    dancerene 5 years ago

    I like soda but don't think I'm addicted cos I can do without it easily. Nonetheless, I still crave for it sometimes.

  • Camden1 profile image

    Camden1 5 years ago

    I once quit drinking sodas for over a year. It was hard at first, but I got used to it. I'm not sure why I started again, but I really should quit.

  • Craftypicks profile image

    Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

    I am on month 5 with no soda in the house. We do allow it outside of the home from time to time.

  • sudokunut profile image

    Mark Falco 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

    We dumped soda about 3 years ago and I haven't missed it. We figured that was a whole lot of sugar, garbage calories and ahem, gas, we could just plain do without. We dumped bottled water around the same time and bought a couple of those reusable sports bottles and a water filter. Although we did it for health reasons and to reduce the amount of plastic and cans we use I expect it has also saved us a few thousand dollars too.

  • profile image

    currios 5 years ago

    I wish I could quite drinking soda's.

  • intermarks profile image

    intermarks 5 years ago

    I have been drinking soda quite little many years ago.

  • cgbroome profile image

    cgbroome 5 years ago

    I usually have one to two 8 ounce glasses of soda a day but used to drink a ton more. I have now turned to flavored water more and find I am reaching for that more and more. Great lens that makes you think.

  • profile image

    ratetea 5 years ago

    I was never a big soda drinker, but I've almost completely stopped drinking it. I used to drink a full soda when I was out somewhere where it was served for free. When I started paying attention to my body, I realized that I would tend to feel better when I didn't drink it. Now I turn it down and just drink water.

  • profile image

    MarkLim81 5 years ago

    Fortunately I've never really liked soda. My two favourite drinks would be water, and whiskey!

  • profile image

    nrallstars 5 years ago

    I love soda, I wish I could quit it, I can't do it. I've tried!

  • RadaFrancis LM profile image

    RadaFrancis LM 5 years ago

    I totally quit soda while I was deployed and the weather was so hot, I never even wanted that sweet yucky stuff. Then when I came home from my deployment I tried drinking soda and the fizz just burnt my tongue and it was so sweet I never wanted to touch it again. I also lost 10 lbs as soon as I stopped drinking it. Great lens! :)

  • eskecime profile image

    eskecime 5 years ago

    I've completely stopped drinking soda a few years ago. The only thing I drink now is water!

    It's amazing how much money I've saved just by doing this!

  • profile image

    kulla 5 years ago

    Call it a synchronicity or what but just last night I was reading something about soda and its effects on health and today I found this lens in a strange sequence of events. You left a comment on my lens so I looked up your profile and here I am.

    A great lens with so much info. Thumbs up!

  • Paid-To-Rave profile image

    Paid-To-Rave 5 years ago

    I would quit soda if it wasn't freely available to me. Thanks for stopping by my lens and liking it.

  • Melissa Miotke profile image

    Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

    I drink very little already.

  • EbooksFreeWeekl1 profile image

    EbooksFreeWeekl1 5 years ago

    Totally agree with this lens. One day my favorite niece up and said she quit drinking soda and started drinking water and juices only. For some reason that was all it took for me and I stopped cold turkey some years ago.

    Besides, the thought that you are ingesting soda or pop whichever you say, a substance known to clean automobile battery posts and dissolve rusty nails is not appealing.

  • WriterJanis2 profile image

    WriterJanis2 5 years ago

    I have to admit that I love soda. Bad me.

  • WritingForChange profile image

    WritingForChange 5 years ago

    Great lens. Soda is loaded with sugar and there seem to be potential health issues with all the artificial sweetners too. A can of soda now and then may not hurt but drinking it all day every day can't be good for you. My kids know we don't keep soda in the house and never will. Doesn't mean they can't have it occasionally when we go out, just not as their go-to drink every time they're thirsty!

  • JoyfulReviewer profile image

    JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

    Webmd states that a can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar! Now multiply that by the number of cans of soda you drink each day. There's no way I'd consume that much sugar by itself. So why is it so darn hard to ween myself off of cola? I get a headache when I go cold turkey, so will just have to *discipline* myself to reach for water more often and sodas less and less often. Thanks for publishing this very helpful article. ~~Blessed~~

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Sodas are bad for me. Coffee is bad for me. Alcohol is bad for me. Sugary fruit drinks are bad for me. Energy drinks are bad for me. Wow at this rate I will never live to be a hundred-and-ten. Thanks for the warning. Nice lens too!

  • MJsConsignments profile image

    Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

    I quit drinking high test years ago and I only drink diet now. I know even diet is bad for my teeth and that all caffeine is bad but I do love it. It would be hard to quit. Most days, I try to limit myself to one can.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Great information. I actually just watched an interesting documentary a couple of days ago that talks about whether fruit juices are good for our health. Just look up "Part 2: Choices (HBO: The Weight of the Nation)" on youtube and you will find it. It's about 30 min in the video that they talk about it. You may even want to embed it here.

  • hntrssthmpsn profile image

    hntrssthmpsn 5 years ago

    I love a cold soda on a hot day, but it really is horrible for you! Lately, I've taken to having a seltzer water with a few squeezes of lemon juice in the afternoon. It satisfies my carbonation craving, and keeps me away from the soda fountain most days.

  • Countryluthier profile image

    E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

    Great lens! Blessed by COUNTRYLUTHIER. The sugar content alon is off the chart and give me the heebie jeebies. I need to stop it with the sugar free ones as well. Thanks for sharing!!

  • profile image

    getmoreinfo 5 years ago

    I had to limit my soda consumption too because it has too much sugar, and causes diabetes in people. I try to use alternative drinks such as adding sparkling mineral water to my fresh squeezed juice.

  • profile image

    SteveKaye 5 years ago

    Thank you for publishing this lens. I'll share that I drink water. From the tap. Without ice. Amazing, right?

  • profile image

    sybil watson 5 years ago

    Fantastic lens with such valuable information. I've given up soda in favor of bottled green tea, although I do crave the occasional diet Pepsi. Great job!

  • Elsie Hagley profile image

    Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

    This is a great lens, straight from the heart. Good on you, you will break the habit. Thanks for sharing with us. Blessed.

  • rallo-smith profile image

    rallo-smith 5 years ago

    I have never been a soda drinker.

  • sockii profile image

    Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

    It's definitely a hard habit to break. I try not to drink more than 1 can of soda a day. :)

  • chas65 profile image

    chas65 5 years ago

    I love them, but know they are not healthy. So I limit myself to an occasional one.

  • designsbyharriet profile image

    Harriet 5 years ago from Indiana

    I've always dislike soda. I can't stand the fizz. My son drinks only milk and water and he is now an adult. I see no purpose for soda other than to make you sick.

  • menskincaretips profile image

    menskincaretips 5 years ago

    Great lens, I try to drink soda only a few times each month, but definitely something that I cannot stop drinking completely. Thanks for the health facts!

  • lclchors profile image

    lclchors 5 years ago

    I quit is several years ago. diet soda is really even worse for you. too much can mimic MS Nice lens

  • flycatcherrr profile image

    flycatcherrr 5 years ago

    I've never been one for soft drinks myself, but I know a lot of people who down a huge amount of the stuff. There certainly must be something habit-forming about it, for sure.