You can quit drinking soda by either going cold turkey and stopping immediately, or by reducing your intake over a period of time.
Soda is generally loaded with sugars and in some cases also excess caffeine. Both of these substances are highly addictive as they give our body an energy-packed hit, all while being very easy for the body to digest and break down. As a result, our brains are then programmed to enjoy the substances as they are a very efficient energy source.
This is not to mention the fact that large soda manufacturers have tweaked and perfected their recipes over the years to encourage additional consumption of their products (ie. addiction).
As with all addictions, there is a root cause which keeps you performing the same habits or coming back to the same substances. We will focus on soda in this article, but the principles in relation to addiction can be applied to any area of your life.
So how do I quit drinking soda?
There are two main ways in which you can quit drinking soda for good:
- Slow and steady
This method is where you cut out soda from your life progressively. This may mean if you are drinking 4 cups a day you begin by reducing your consumption to 3 cups a day for a week or two.
After your set time period, you would then reduce to 2 cups a day. Eventually, this will lead you to quit drinking soda altogether.
- Cold Turkey
This method is where you just cut out soda from your life altogether, immediately. This is definitely the harder method but is much quicker.
It will also lead to more withdrawal symptoms as your body has a major energy source cut out with no immediate replacement.
On top of the methods above, it is important to establish your “why”. Why do you want to quit drinking soda for good?
Determining your why will give you a reason to continue on even when your cravings for soda are at their strongest! It is a point that you can look back at when you feel like giving in to your cravings, to remind yourself as to why you are trying to quit drinking soda.
An example might be to reduce your body weight, or perhaps you have been told that you need to stop drinking soda for medical reasons. Whatever your “why” is, cement it in your mind and remind yourself of it if you are struggling!
What kind of withdrawal symptoms may I experience?
There are a number of different withdrawal symptoms which you may suffer when removing soda from your diet. These can include:
- Headaches and or migraines.
- Intense cravings for sugar or sweets.
- Fatigue, which can also lead to lethargy. This then will affect your ability to concentrate.
- Emotional swings (being fine and becoming very irritated quickly and seemingly over nothing).
- Possibly constipation due to the lack of caffeine.
- Physical issues such as muscle cramps or a feeling of weakness.
- In some rarer cases anxiety and depression.
Why would I want to quit drinking soda?
When you stop drinking soda, you will begin to experience a number of positive effects across different parts if your body:
- Your Brain
Drinking soda spikes your blood sugar levels and leads to peaks and crashes in your energy levels. Not drinking soda leads to fewer peaks and crashes, allowing you to concentrate better and think more clearly. It also leads to better absorption and more efficient processing of information.
- Your Heart
Soda raises your blood pressure which in turn is harmful to your health. Harvard University completed a study where it was cited that the participants who consumed the most soda could face up to a 20% increased chance of a heart attack. Immediately cutting soda from your diet dramatically reduces this risk.
- Your Bones
Removing soda from your diet can improve your bone health and assist in decreasing your chances of osteoporosis. As an added benefit. the less soda you drink, the better your body becomes at converting calcium filled drinks into nutrients used to strengthen bones.
- Your Waist
Reducing your soda intake lowers the amount of sugar in your diet. This leads to less over-consumption of calories, which if managed properly can be used to create a calorie deficit in your diet. In turn, more calories used vs calories consumed will generally mean weight loss. On a side note, make sure the deficit is not excessive as that can lead to a range of health issues!
- Your Kidney
Excess soda consumption has been linked to an increased risk of kidney disease and kidney failure. Drinking plenty of water daily and eliminating soda will decrease this risk. Your liver function will also improve as a bonus.
- Your Teeth
The citric acid in soda can break down the enamel on your teeth, leading to yellow teeth and easy discoloration. Drinking water and removing soda will lead to healthier teeth more capable of protecting themselves from further acidic damage.
What can I do to mitigate the negative effects while detoxing?
The negative effects can be mitigated by identifying your root cause for continuing to drink soda. Are you addicted to the sweet flavor? Or the sugar rush?
Perhaps even the caffeine hit if relevant? By identifying the cause you can then find ways to counteract the specific negative effects and add appropriate replacements to your diet.
Enjoy the flavor?
Look to find a sweet alternative that you can consume as a replacement. Consuming sweet fruits can help fill the cravings. Also, look for a quality tea with a sweet flavor that is low in sugar and brew a batch. I found a peach and lemon mix from my local health food shop.
It makes for a great home brewed ice tea and helps keep my sugar cravings under control during summer. There is a heap of recipes online for tea, just be sure to select a flavor low in sugar.
Get a buzz from the sugar rush?
Detoxing from sugar is a challenge in itself, let alone any other underlying addictions to soda. Look for alternative drinks with health benefits such as tea, smoothies or juices (natural, not the sugar loaded ones).
The bonus here is receiving the additional benefits while being able to add natural sugars such as raw honey, agave nectar or Stevia extracts for a healthier sugar fix.
Craving for that caffeine hit?
This is a simpler one to counter. Replace your caffeine filled soda with a tea high in caffeine or drink black coffee. Tea has a multitude of health benefits but some types are also high in caffeine. Black or green tea are great examples. As for coffee, black is the best health wise.
You can add milk but I would recommend using almond or coconut as they are both high in healthy fats and low in sugars. Cows milk is actually quite high in sugars, which can trigger some of the above negative effects.
How do I start?
To begin just select which method you think would suit you best and get going! Giving up soda may not be an easy path, but it will be worth it. There are a host of benefits to experience once you have removed soda from your diet.
It may take a few tries before you are successful. I encourage you to keep trying as the benefits also reach far further than just health benefits for your body. You will also experience less bloating, better energy levels and naturally sweet foods will taste much more amazing.
Personally, when I tried the Ketogenic Diet and I had fruit for the first time after finishing, I was amazed by how sweet even a simple apple now tasted. The reduction in sugar allowed my taste buds to reset and gave me more enjoyment when eating healthier and more natural foods.
Have you given up soda from your diet? Share with us below your ultimate tip for quitting drinking soda! I’m sure there are plenty of people who are keen to hear what you have to say about your ideas on ‘How do I quit drinking soda?’