How To Stop Drinking Soda

How To Stop Drinking Soda
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Many readers are interested in the following topic: How to quit drinking soda in 2022. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

In addition to sparkling water, flavored seltzers and fruit-infused water, a number of healthier soda-like drinks have popped up on store shelves. Olipop , for example, makes a “Vintage Cola” sweetened with stevia. It only has 35 calories and two grams of sugar — and, interestingly, Olipop contains nine grams of prebiotic fiber. That is definitely something you won’t find in a Sprite!

How Can I Stop Drinking So Much Soda?

Do you have a soda habit? Here’s some advice on how to cut back.

Written by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
From the WebMD Archives

Soda — it’s everywhere! Even if you wanted to drink something else, you’d be hard-pressed to find it as prominently displayed in vending machines, at fast-food chains, and supermarket checkouts. You might not realize how ubiquitous Coke, Pepsi, and the like are in our society until you try to stop drinking soda.

For some people, drinking several sodas a day is a fierce habit. You know drinking soda is a habit when you find yourself going to the grocery store at 10 p.m. because your refrigerator is tapped out, or you feel like having a tantrum when the drive-through attendant tells you the soda machine is broken. If the idea of drinking one token soda a day is unfathomable, you just might have a serious soda habit.

Why Stop Drinking So Much Soda?

So why would you want to make the effort to kick the soda habit? As the beverage industry out, soft drinks, in and of themselves, aren’t necessarily a dietary “don’t.”

“All of our industry’s beverages — including regular or diet soft drinks — can be part of a healthy way of life when consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced lifestyle,” says Tracey Halliday, a spokesperson for the American Beverage Association.

The problem, say many health experts, is that Americans don’t always drink their sodas in moderation. Many believe we should cut back on our intake of the two sweeteners used in sweetened soda: fructose (like the high-fructose corn syrup often used in sodas) and sugar. Calories from beverages make up 21% of the total daily calories consumed by Americans over 2 years old, according to a 2004 article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. And the proportion of calories Americans consume from sweetened soft drinks and fruit “drinks” has tripled between 1977 and 2001.

“Many people either forget or don’t realize how many extra calories they consume in what they drink, yet beverages are a major contributor to the alarming increase in obesity,” Barry Popkin, PhD, director of the University of North Carolina Interdisciplinary Obesity Program, says in an email interview.

In 2006, a panel of experts assembled by Popkin developed the first Healthy Beverage Guidelines, which recommended people should drink more water and limit or eliminate high-calorie beverages with little or no nutritional value.

So is simply switching to diet soda the answer? Not necessarily, some experts believe.

Popkin has said there’s no proof that artificial sweeteners are bad for you, but because the data are slim, the Beverage Guidance Panel was uneasy about recommending them.

Michael Jacobson, executive director of the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), suggests that people who drink diet sodas should choose those sweetened with Splenda when possible.

Of the alternative sweeteners used in soda, CSPI gives the “avoid” label to Acesulfame-K, aspartame, and saccharin, but the “appears to be safe” label to sucralose (Splenda). All these sweeteners have received FDA approval. And, in a 100-page report published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology in September, an expert panel said it was confident aspartame poses no health risks. But CSPI believes those on its “avoid” list need more or better testing.

Still, while Jacobson believes “less is better” when it comes to alternative sweeteners, he concedes that drinking diet soda is better than gulping down the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar — which is what you’ll get in a can of regular soda.

And just how do you go about kicking a soda habit? If you want to stop drinking so much soda, it basically comes down to four steps, according to the experts:

1. Make Up Your Mind. You have to make up your mind to give it up, notes Jacobson. Even if you’re just trying to cut back on your soda consumption, it can take a firm commitment to make it happen.

2.Switch to Diet Sodas. Gradually make the switch to diet sodas, suggests Paul Rozin, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “Just make a small decrease at a time, like one sugared soda a day,” he says in an email interview. If you’re drinking much more than one soda a day, work toward decreasing the amount of diet sodas you drink as well — eventually.

3. Go Caffeine-Free. Popkin and Jacobson believe that caffeine, and the fact that it is mildly addictive, is part of the reason soda is such a hard habit to break. Look for caffeine-free soft drinks, and gradually decrease the number of caffeinated drinks you have each day as you work toward kicking the soda habit completely. If you’re addicted to the caffeine in soda, you’re really kicking two habits — the soda habit and the caffeine habit. “It takes a few weeks to truly forget the craving,” Popkin says.

4. Stock Up on Alternatives. Keep plenty of tasty non-soda drinks on hand to make giving up soda as convenient as possible.

What Are Some Soda Alternatives?

Here is a list of non-soda beverage possibilities to consider. You’ll notice the drinks that contain calories also contribute important nutrients like calcium or vitamin C.

1. Give Soy Milk a Chance. If you’d like to work in a serving of soy a day, give soy milk a try. Lots of brands and flavors are available. If calories are an issue, try one of the lower-calorie options.

2. Don’t Skimp on Skim Milk. Skim milk is a great way to boost your intake of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients. One cup of skim milk has only around 85 calories. The Beverage Guidance Panel recommends up to two servings a day of nonfat or 1% milk and fortified soy beverages.

3. Pimp Your Water. To an avid soda drinker, water can seem a little unexciting. One of the best ways around that is to add noncaloric flavors to your water. A sprig of mint or a slice of lemon or lemon will do wonders. If you like subtler flavors, try a slice or two of cucumber or a frozen strawberry.

4. Make Green or Black Tea Your New Drink Habit. Popkin says tea is a healthy alternative to water for people who prefer flavored beverages. Tea is calorie free and contains powerful phytochemicals like the antioxidant in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Great-tasting green and black teas abound in supermarkets and specialty stores. If you’re cutting back on caffeine, look for caffeine-free teas.

5. Think Outside the Juice Box. Although 100% fruit or vegetable juice contains important nutrients, the Beverage Guidance Panel recommends having no more than one serving a day because they can also contain plenty of calories (about 100 in 1 cup of fresh orange or carrot juice). One way to cut those calories is by making a homemade juice spritzer: Combine one or two parts seltzer, mineral water, or club soda with one part 100% fruit juice (try fresh orange juice). Or try the new vegetable juice flavors in your supermarket, as well as fruit and vegetable juice blends. While they’re not super low in calories, each serving contains a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetable.

6. Discover the Coffee Cure. For java lovers, coffee can be a calorie-free, flavorful alternative to soda. And you can easily find lower-caffeine coffees in coffee shops and supermarkets. But to keep coffee low-calorie, be sure to keep it simple — skip the syrups, whipped cream, and whole milk.

7. Make Good Old H2O Convenient. The Beverage Guidance Panel recommends at least 4 servings a day of water for women and at least 6 servings for men. When you need to quench thirst or hydrate your body, nothing does it better than water. If cold, refreshing water was more convenient, and if we were reminded to drink it during our day, a lot more people would reach this daily goal. So keep water bottles ready to go in your refrigerator, and every time you leave the house, take a bottle with you. If chilled water is sitting in your car or on your desk at work, you’ll be more likely to get into the water-drinking habit.

Show Sources

SOURCES: Center for Science in the Public Interest web site: “Food Additives.” Paul Rozin, PhD, professor of psychology, University of Pennsylvania. Barry Popkin, PhD, director, UNC Interdisciplinary Obesity Program, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Michael Jacobson, PhD, executive director, Center for Science in the Public Interest; author, 6 Arguments for a Greener Diet. Tracey Halliday, director of communications, American Beverage Association. Popkin B.M. et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006; vol 83: pp 529-42. Nielsen, S.J., et al., American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2004; vol 27: pp 205-210. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Publication No. D291, September 2005: “Herbs At a Glance — Cranberry.” WebMD Medical News: “Soft Drinks Up Calorie Counts.”

How to quit drinking soda in 2022


Looking to quit drinking soda in 2022? You’re not alone. While the number of sugary drinks Americans consume seems to be decreasing, research still shows that about half of all American adults drink at least one a day. “Sugary drink” includes fruit juice and other beverages, but soda makes up the majority of that category.

Anyway, it’s probably fair to say that a chunk of people who currently drink soda want to stop — ’cause self improvement and stuff. If you’re ready to quit, keep reading to learn the best tips for kicking those cans to the curb.

Benefits of reducing soda consumption

Considering regular (non-diet) sodas contain as much sugar as candy (and don’t contain protein, fiber or fat), it won’t come as a surprise that reducing your soda intake brings ample benefits.

Removing extra sugar from your diet means you have room for more filling and more satisfying nutrition and flavor, says registered dietitian Wendy Bazilian. Excess sugar has been linked to a number of health complications, including:

  • Dental caries (cavities)
  • Weight and fat gain (especially visceral fat around the organs)
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • High blood triglycerides
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

Eating less sugar, particularly added sugar like that in soda, has the power to reduce your risk of all of the above. The benefits to your health are clear, yet quitting soda feels impossible for many.

Why is it so hard to quit drinking soda?


It’s simple: Habits are hard to break. Physiology likely plays a role, Bazilian says, due to the sugar and caffeine content of soda.

“But let’s face it. Soda is not an essential beverage,” Bazilian says, “but many people like or choose it because of some habit or taste or expectation, even if it becomes almost unconscious over time.”

When a behavior becomes habituated, it takes some strategy, effort and alternative behaviors to overcome. Then you need ways to monitor and reinforce the new behavior. This takes time, it’s tedious and, quite frankly, giving up something you like is no fun.

“It takes a while to rewire the mind and the behavior but it’s not impossible,” Bazilian says. “A person must want to do it, set him or herself up to succeed, practice and stay at it sufficiently and long enough to leave or shift a behavior or habit like this.”

It’s not always about taste or reliance on sugar and caffeine, says Maria Sylvester Terry, registered dietitian at Eat Fit NOLA in New Orleans, Louisiana.

For some, drinking soda makes them happy: They love the taste, the carbonation, the quick burst of energy. They may associate it with joyful, nostalgic feelings — “A cold soda on the beach with family, for example,” Terry says. Breaking away from this happiness takes time and commitment to that process, which ultimately requires a focus on the long game, she adds.

As for soda addiction, that’s not a widely studied topic. There isn’t sufficient evidence that allows anyone to say true soda addiction makes quitting challenging. “However, those who feel they are addicted to drinking soda will find that it is physically and emotionally difficult to visualize their day without soda,” Terry says.

How to quit drinking soda in 5 steps


1. Plan and commit

You have to be ready for this, Bazilian says. Establish some ground rules around how much soda, if any, you’ll consume and when. You don’t have to be ridiculously rigid — life happens — but if you have zero guidelines for yourself, you can’t follow a plan for success. You can always adjust things if they aren’t working, Bazilian says, but don’t go into this resolution blindly.

2. Set small, measurable goals

Quitting cold turkey may work for some, but setting small goals you can realistically reach is more likely to help you build long-lasting healthy habits, Terry says. Otherwise, you may set yourself up for disappointment and failure. For example, if you currently drink two cans of soda every day, try decreasing to one can of soda first. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and share your goal with someone who can support you and hold you accountable.

3. Have alternatives ready


In addition to sparkling water, flavored seltzers and fruit-infused water, a number of healthier soda-like drinks have popped up on store shelves. Olipop , for example, makes a “Vintage Cola” sweetened with stevia. It only has 35 calories and two grams of sugar — and, interestingly, Olipop contains nine grams of prebiotic fiber. That is definitely something you won’t find in a Sprite!

You can find several similar brands, such as Spindrift, Zevia, Minna, AHA (ironically brought to you by The Coca-Cola Company), Bubly (from Pepsi), Bai Bubbly, Perrier, and trusty ol’ LaCroix.

If it’s not about the calories or sugar, fruit juices and other sweet beverages can make great hydration options, Bazilian says. You get nutrition with 100% fruit juice — even though you lose the fiber from the whole fruit, many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients remain.

4. Set a hydration goal

Terry recommends choosing a number of ounces of water to drink and tracking your water intake. Start with a number higher than you currently meet, but make it attainable (don’t aim for 100 ounces when you currently drink 50). This tactic may reduce your desire to grab a soda since you’re staying quenched, and it’ll help you create a healthy habit alongside decreasing soda intake.

5. Be prepared for caffeine withdrawal

If you drink caffeinated soda, prepare yourself to contend with caffeine withdrawal. You may experience symptoms such as increased fatigue, headaches and mood swings as your body adjusts to a lower caffeine intake, Bazilian says.

You can remedy this with other sources of caffeine, such as coffee or black tea. Just know the grogginess and irritability will come back if you plan to quit those beverages, too.

Don’t give up if you give in

Don’t ditch your entire resolution if you have a soda. If you give into the urge for a soda, enjoy it, acknowledge it and move on. Don’t dwell on it or adopt the “well, I already ruined it” mentality — that doesn’t help anyone or anything.

All foods (and drinks) fit


It’s fine and great to cut soda completely if you want to, Bazilian says — the key phrase being “if you want to.” In terms of physical health, there’s really no reason to drink soda. In terms of mental health, though, it can be beneficial to allow yourself to enjoy soda sometimes.

“The last thing I like to see and hear is guilt around food choices. If you purposefully choose to have a cookie or soda, love it and skip the guilt!” Bazilian encourages.

“Try to eat good nutrition elsewhere in your day, not to balance or make up for [soda], but because that’s what makes a healthy, high-performing human,” she says. Basically, it doesn’t have to be so black-and-white.

As for whether or not you should keep soda in the house while you’re trying to quit, Terry says that depends on the person. “I feel that if soda is kept out of the house out of fear, you won’t be able to control your intake and you actually set yourself up for failure,” she says. “Making peace with food and beverages is important in order to overcome our feelings of fear.”

However, “You may find that simply having it available is the reason why you drink it, so replacing it with an item you find as enjoyable would be incredibly helpful,” Terry offers.

Consider your relationship with soda, as funny as that may sound. If it doesn’t feel scary to quit, you may be able to go without it in your house and it won’t evoke feelings of restriction or guilt from setbacks.

Bazilian reminds us that everything nutrition-related is dependent on the individual, their goals and a number of interwoven factors. “We are the cumulative effect of what we put in our bodies, not the product of any one food, one drink or one meal, or even one day.”

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.