Soda and diet soda are full of undesirable and unnecessary ingredients that have been linked to obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Not to mention, soda is addictive. When you are addicted, a 32 oz. soda can be the difference between a good and a bad day. And if you've ever tried to stop drinking soda, you know that it is HARD. You have less energy, you may experience headaches, and you may have a hard time focusing.
Shown below is a picture taken directly from Coca-Cola's website, looking at the ingredients found in a typical Diet Coke.
There are a couple of red flags that I see here.
The first I notice here is the amount of caffeine in one serving is about half the amount that is found in a cup of coffee Now that might seem like a good thing. Less caffeine, right? Yeah, if you were to only drink one can a day. But how often do you drink just one Diet Coke. You usually drink a "Big Gulp" sized amount of Diet Coke. So you are getting more than double the chemicals in order to get the caffeine buzz you are searching for.
The second red flag I see is that is contains an artificial sweetener called Aspartame. Aspartame has been linked to migraines and headaches, anxiety, and panic attacks. And that is just what research has uncovered so far. We do not know the extended long term effects of the sweetener, but we know it won't promote a healthy lifestyle.
Another reason for alarm is that is contains phosphoric acid, which may reduce bone mineral density by depleting calcium reserves in bones.
And lastly, I see that the ingredients are made with genetically engineered crops (GMOs). The FDA regards them as safe, but there isn't enough long term research to really prove this. My gut says, STAY FAR AWAY.
Hopefully you are now feeling the motivation you need to stop drinking soda. Wondering how to stop your soda addiction? Here is how to stop drinking soda!
Prepare to DETOX: When you stop drinking soda symptoms you may experience are headaches, sugar cravings, fatigue, irritability, and a foggy brain. The worst symptoms usually last only 3-5 days. So just get through the first week, it will be the hardest!
Go cold turkey. Purge your home off all soda, and avoid places you normally go that have become a ritual. A common one is picking up your morning mountain dew at the nearest gas station. Proximity is IMPORTANT! If soda is in your home, YOU WILL DRINK IT. Let's not kid ourselves.
Bring your own drink to gatherings. Ice-cold soda is most likely to be at EVERY gathering. It is hard to avoid. So if you know it is something that will tempt you, bring your own bottle of kombucha or sparkling water to drink, and just say no. Every time you say no, it gets easier.
Remove social media influences that make cause temptations. If you are following an account on Instagram that regularly promotes root beer floats, mountain dew slushies, and ice cold cokes, UNFOLLOW THEM. They have no benefit to you!
GET OUTSIDE. Being outside can help distract you from your kitchen. Plus, it is just so good for you, and we are inside an unnatural amount of time.
- Find a replacement for the caffeine. If you are needing the caffeine in order to function, detoxing and stopping caffeine intake is a better option. But if you aren't reliant on caffeine, and you are properly fat-adapted, switching to an herbal tea or coffee could be a great addition to replace your usual morning ritual, and help you eliminate all the terrible chemicals that are found in soda. My favorite coffee alternative is Crio Bru. It is made from roasted and ground cacao beans, with no sugar added. I add in a TBSP of MCT oil, and little coconut milk, and I am energized and ready to start my day.
- Find a replacement for the carbonation. There are some great alternatives to soda, that can still give you that carbonated fizziness you are looking for. Kombucha is a fermented tea. The culture used to ferment the tea "eats" up most of the sugar in the drink, so it is a great alternative. It is also a probiotic, so it will help support digestion. Kombucha is more expensive than soda, but is easy to make at home yourself. Or you can try sparkling water. It is just carbonated water, so you can still get the fizziness you are craving. You can add low carb fruit, such as blueberries, or add a little lemon or lime, and a couple drops of a natural sweetener, such as Stevia or Lakanto. My favorite brand is La Croix.
I really hope you really give it your all to eliminate soda from your life. Your health is guaranteed to improve, and your loved ones will thank you for it! Not to mention, you will be setting a great example to others around you when you stop drinking soda!
Samantha Stephenson, Primal Health Coach, ACE Certified Personal Trainer