Are you (or someone you know) addicted to sodas? I have a confession to make; a long time ago I was addicted to sodas. I wasn’t addicted to all sodas, only to Coke. In the beginning it was regular Coke and later on diet Coke. I didn’t care for Pepsi, only for Coke. I probably drank about 3 cans a day. Addiction to sodas and other sweet drinks is common.
We are addicted to their sweetness and in the case of colas, also to their caffeine. My addiction lasted many years, I kept stopping and returning after a year or so until I finally kicked it off for good.
What worked for me? Becoming conscious of how bad it was for my health and my looks. Now I have a soda once in a while usually while traveling by road and eating along the way. But you know what? I don’t like it anymore. Because I know a lot of people drink a lot of soda, today I want to share some strategies to stop soda addiction.
Know your why
Why to stop the soda addiction? There are a lot of good reasons to stop drinking sodas and other sugary drinks, let’s see some of them:
Protect your bones and teeth
Sodas are more than sugar or artificial sweeteners. Sodas are a cocktail of artificial ingredients that causes damage to our bodies and our looks, including teeth and bones.
They have way too many calories and zero nutrients. Carbonated drinks are highly acidic and contain high levels of phosphoric acid and carbonic acid. This is terrible for your teeth and bones.
Phosphate affects calcium absorption debilitating bones and teeth. Other ingredients in sodas further affect the now weaker bones and teeth causing even more damage. For women who are at higher risk of osteoporosis, it could be even more damaging.
Getting enough calcium is very important during childhood and adolescence, when bones are being built. Imagine the damage to those forming bones. They are also bad at any age, especially when we don’t have the protection of our estrogens after menopause.
Beauty, health and happiness
One word, sugar. The regular versions of soda have a lot of sugar. Sugar is bad by itself, combined with extra caffeine and all those acids and gas, it is even worse.
Regular sodas have a lot of sugar, and let me repeat, zero nutrients. Regular sodas (12 ounces) have between 7 to 10 teaspoons of sugar. Sugar is not bad only because of its calories but for the cycle of high energy and energy slumps it produces and the inflammation it creates in the body. High sugar consumption is now thought to be the largest cause of heart disease, fatty liver disease, obesity and many other illnesses.
Excess sugar is really bad for your skin. Excess sugar affects the pH of the skin and makes it more susceptible to damage that shows up as wrinkles, pimples and inflammation.
Some people say we are what we eat. In Ayurveda we say, we are what we digest. Excess sugar or artificial sweeteners, gas in the form of carbon dioxide or CO2, and the acidity have a negative effect on our digestion.
What about diet soda?
Diet soda is even worse. Our gut bacteria gets affected by artificial sweeteners and this causes all sort of problems: from depression to hormonal imbalance issues.
Really, is soda that bad?
To drink one soda occasionally is not so bad. However one can every day or many cans every day will take a toll on your health sooner or later depending on your overall lifestyle. I know women who were addicted to soda and now have osteopenia (the condition before osteoporosis), others have really bad teeth and have had extensive dental work. And others have digestive issues caused in part by the imbalance produced by sodas.
Besides all the risks, sodas don’t have any health benefit. We may say that the pleasure they give is a benefit, and it is. But when people drink a lot of sodas, that pleasure goes down, especially when it is only a habit and the person drinks it unconsciously.
Tips to stop the soda habit
The first step to kick the soda habit is to know your why
Know your why or your whys and remember them when you are choosing your drinks. This was the key to my success.
Make it special
All sodas are bad, some worse than others. If you treat soda as a treat, it is okay to have it, you can have it once in a while. When you do have it, make it special.
Some people prefer to quit sodas cold turkey, others prefer to do so slowly. Try quitting cold turkey first and if it doesn’t work, drink less and slowly cut it off or almost off.
Have a plan
Water is the best liquid you can drink. But it can lack flavor in the beginning. You can allow yourself to have one glass of soda a day (about 8 ounces). You can drink it at once or divide it during the day. The rest of the day drink other liquids. Remember those 8 glasses of water a day? This is the time to drink them. You can add flavor to your water with fruits (recipes follow) or drink herbal tea, green tea, some juice (only a little) etc.
If you are having regular soda, you can add maple syrup or another natural sweetener to some of the liquids you drink in the beginning. Don’t overdo it; this is the time to also reduce sugar.
After a while, cut the amount of soda to only a few times a week. Continue lowering it until you reach no more than once a week. You can reach zero if you like. However be careful not to aim for perfection; it is not necessary and it can create problems and frustration.
If you create a system you are more likely to succeed. Let’s see some of substitutes you can have.
Continue reading: Delicious soda substitutes
I hope these tips can be helpful to you. Subscribe to our newsletter if you like these type of topics. If you have any other tips and recipes please comment below.