The Secret to Stop Drinking Soda for Good

by | Mar 12, 2015

Soda has a special place in our nation’s heart (not to mention in pop culture). 54 million Americans drink one sugary soda every day. Additionally, on any given day, 63 million Americans consume diet soda. From an early age, most of us know what it’s like to drink one of these fizzy, sweet treats. But few of us realize what these drinks (even the diet variety) are doing to our bodies.
 
The effects of sugary soda include increased risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gout, and an increased chance of obesity in children. Sugary sodas can also accelerate signs of aging, which are similar to the effects of cigarette smoke on the body.
 
It is not shocking that beverages loaded with sugar are harmful, but diet sodas also come with a multitude of harmful effects including a higher risk of heart disease, kidney problems, high-cholesterol, and an increased likelihood of becoming overweight or obese. That’s right — even diet sodas can lead to weight gain and increased waist size. One study found that casual diet soft drink consumers experienced 70% greater increases in waist circumference than non-diet soft drink consumers over a 10 year period. Frequent consumers (those who had two or more diet sodas a day) experienced waist circumference increases that were 500% greater than those of non-consumers.
 
It’s clear that soda is not good for our bodies but sometimes cravings strike. Is there a way to get a hit of bubbly caffeine without all the unwanted side effects?
 
Maria Hart, in an op-ed piece for Greatist, found stress-relief from work by having a soda every day at 4 p.m. What to do? “My mission was to keep the same habit, but replace the outcome. Afternoon ‘treat time’ could not be undone. But it could be another routine,” she writes. Instead of a soda, when it came time for an afternoon treat, Maria had a soda water to replace the fizz, and a coffee with whole milk and sugar to replace the caffeine and sweetness. Gradually, she weaned herself to a coffee with almond milk and no added sugar.
 
Try to find a similar substitute for yourself. Seltzer is a great replacement for the carbonation of soft-drinks. Mix with iced tea, fruit slices (lemon is a favorite), or mint for flavor. (Beware of fruit juices though, as they often have just as much sugar as soda.) Coffee or tea with a splash of milk or a milk substitute is another way to healthfully get a sweet caffeine kick. Whatever your alternative, give yourself time to adjust and enjoy your healthy new habit.