Whether you call it pop or soda, you probably know that sweet, carbonated beverages are bad for you. Many people have taken a look at what soda does to your body.
One pharmacist even created a detailed infographic showing the effects of one can of Coca-Cola on a person’s system. Check out that infographic here.
Of course, all of this information is of little use if you struggle with a serious soda addiction. Although a soda addiction may not seem like a big deal compared to other kinds of addictions, it can still take a serious toll on the body.
If you’re still not convinced kicking soda can be difficult, just try going without it for a few days. You are likely to experience mood swings, headaches, and irritability.
Even diet soda can be hard to give up, since aspartame – the artificial sweetener that gives diet soda its sweet taste – has been shown to interfere with how the body processes tryptophan, which in turn helps regulate levels of serotonin in the brain. Read more about the effects of diet soda here.
So, how do you kick your soda habit to the curb? Here are a few ways to put your dependence on these calorie-laden drinks behind you:
Make a Switch to Diet Sodas
There is something to be said for baby steps. If you don’t think you can go cold turkey on soda, try switching to diet drinks. Although diet sodas are not the best thing you can put in your body, they don’t pack the caloric punch of regular soda.
They are also free of the sugar (20 teaspoons!) found in sodas like regular Coca-Cola. Over time, you may find it easier to wean yourself off the diet drinks in favor of healthier alternatives.
Transition to Caffeine-free Sodas
Another option is switching to caffeine-free soda. Caffeine is a drug, and like any drug it can get you hooked quickly. Just ask a coffee drinker to function without his or her morning cup of coffee (or two or three). By eliminating one substance from your diet at a time, you can gradually work your way toward giving up soda altogether.
Try Flavored Water
Many people turn to soda because they simply don’t like water. They’re looking for flavor, and soda delivers. If you are bored by water, consider flavored water as a replacement.
The Food Network has a list of flavored water recipes that are both healthy and delicious. Options include strawberry-cucumber water, tomato-basil water, and pineapple-mint-ginger water. Now who said H20 wasn’t exciting?
Give Sparkling Water a Try
Some soda devotees claim they struggle with a soda addiction because they love the carbonation. If you need to feel the burn, carbonated or sparkling water may be for you.
Although most brands of sparkling water contain sodium, they are usually calorie-free. In fact, Americans spend $1.5 billion on these drinks every year. Research has debunked myths linking sparkling water to osteoporosis and tooth decay.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says soda is linked to low bone mineral density in older women, but other carbonated beverages show no such correlation.
There is some evidence that certain types of sparkling waters can damage tooth enamel, however, the studies suggest the decay is caused by the acidity found in fruit-flavored water – not the water itself.
Check out the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition here.
If you have tried to give up soda before and failed, there is still hope. Tales abound of soda aficionados who have abandoned soda for good, even after two, three, and sometimes four attempts have been successful. By replacing soda with something else, you can create new habits, and you can be proud of making a meaningful change in your health.