So You Want to Stop… Drinking Soda

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The reasons to stop drinking soda are abundant. Whether you want to cut down on empty calories and added sugars, consume less artificial sweeteners, wean off of caffeine, or even save money, ditching soda is a great place to start.

I actually used to be a big soda drinker–the diet type in particular. Something about it being calorie-free gave me permission to drink it with reckless abandon–so I did. At one point, I consumed more soda than water throughout the course of the day.

Back in 2006 I decided I wanted to rid myself of a dependence on artificial sweeteners, so naturally I started with soda. Over the course of about a year I went from drinking 2-3 sodas per day to 2 to 3 per month. I still very much enjoy a cola with my cheeseburger and french fries, but now that I drink it so much less frequently, I have no problem treating myself to the real deal.

As a former soda-drinker myself, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks I found helpful along the way for those of you who also want to get off the sweet stuff:

1. Be okay with scaling back slowly. If you drink 3+ sodas a day, switching to tap water cold turkey will most likely make every sip feel like a punishment… not to mention induce some serious caffeine withdrawal headaches. I bet you can rather painlessly replace 3 sodas per week with tap or sparkling water, though. Heck, maybe even 1 per day! Whatever the number, make it reasonable. Soda has not, and will not kill you over the next few weeks or months while you gradually get off of it. Over time, you’ll miss those first few sodas less and less and eventually you’ll be ready to cut out one or two more.

2. Get on a soda schedule. Keeping #1 in mind, jot down a schedule for weaning your soda consumption. By writing a plan, you’re thinking through and committing to a reasonable approach to drinking less. For example, if you normally drink 3 sodas per day, cut down to 2 per day for an entire month, and then 1 per day the month after. From there, you can gradually cut down even further. Allow yourself 5 per week for the 3rd month, 4 per week for the 4th month, and so on.

3. Explore tasty alternatives. Once you start cutting out soda, you’re going to want to replace it with other fluids so you don’t get dehydrated. When I first started cutting down on soda, I really missed the carbonation + flavor combo. Bored with tap water, I began exploring the wonders of sparkling water. Most of the time the carbonation alone did the trick–but when I craved a sweeter beverage, I found just a splash of juice worked wonders. 1-2 ounces of cranberry, orange or any other 100% fruit juice blend can make all the difference. Another favorite soda alternative is flavored water. Adding some cucumber slices, berries, citrus fruit or fresh mint to a pitcher of water gives it a refreshing essence of flavor.

4. Have alternatives handy. Once you find a few suitable soda alternatives, make sure they’re within reach when you get thirsty. If you just love the tingle of carbonation on your tongue,  keep your cabinets stocked with club soda, or invest in a Soda Stream or one of these more classic soda carbonators and make it yourself at home. If you like flavored water, slice up a bunch of oranges, cucumbers or rinse off some berries at the beginning of the week and make a fresh pitcher every morning. Fill up a water bottle before heading out to run those afternoon errands. If you’re prepared, when thirst strikes you’ll have one less excuse to grab for a soda. Oh, and if you’re prone to caffeine headaches, have an an anti-inflammatory on hand, or a bag of green or black tea to help ease those withdrawal pains.

5. Adopt a no soda policy. When I first decided I wanted to stop drinking soda, the first thing I did to start scaling back was adopt a “No Soda at Home” policy. It was highly effective. Seriously, if it’s not in your house you can’t drink it! This one change helped kickstart my journey to cut back. Here are some other “No Soda” policy ideas:

No Soda…

  • At work
  • On campus
  • On road trips
  • Before 5pm
  • At restaurants
  • At the movies
  • As mixers in alcoholic drinks

Try choosing one to start, and then adopt more as you feel ready.

6. Break the routine…by substituting a new one. For me, soda drinking, much like my morning cup of coffee, was a ritual. I found my daily walk to the soda machine was just as much an excuse to escape the office and chat with a co-worker as it was about getting a cold drink. Luckily I was able to convince my colleague to trade the soda for a few flights of stairs and a pit stop at the water fountain after. Think about when you habitually grab a soda and then figure out how you can change the scenario and make a healthier beverage choice. After just a few weeks your old, bad habit will likely be replaced with your healthier routine.

7. Make yourself accountable. If you’re the type of person who is motivated by accountability, telling your family, co-workers and friends that you’re giving up soda really works. When I decided to cut out soda, I told all of my girlfriends. It kept me honest when we were together, but I also found their support made a big difference. They still check up on me to this day to make sure I haven’t fallen back into my old soda habit! When you start cutting out soda, keep yourself accountable by telling people around you, and reap the benefits of having their support along the way.

8. Redefine the word “stop”. After reading the 2nd paragraph you might look at the title and think, “She still drinks soda though…” Why yes, on occasion I do! But I no longer consider myself a “soda drinker.” There’s a big difference! Just because you want to “stop drinking soda” doesn’t mean you can never enjoy one again. Maybe for you “stop” means getting down to 1 per week, say when you’re out to a nice dinner or as a lunchtime treat on Fridays. The best way to approach a long-lasting behavior change is by making it sustainable and avoiding those feelings of deprivation. If allowing yourself a soda on occasion makes you happy, by all means! In the end, it’s about making healthy habits the default and enjoying treats along the way.

Have questions or other tips about how to stop drinking soda? Share them in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

  • Jackeline

    Great article! I used to drink 2-3 regular sodas a day! Nowit’s about two a week. And I’m still working on it. Best advice is to slowly and subtly get off the sugary drug.

  • Sheri Wichner

    I have stop drinking pop it has been one month and I am still not drinking pop. Just no sweeten Tea

  • Jennifer Brum

    Valentine’s Day will be my 4th anniversary of quitting pop cold turkey. I only remember the date because we were at a wedding. I took a sip of my Coke and it was watered down and nasty. Right then, I decided I was done. I was used to drinking 2-4 cans of Mt Dew a day. I switched to black tea and water. Occassionally I’ll drink milk, juice, etc. I’ve accidently had a sip twice since then when I grabbed my husband’s glass when we’ve been out to dinner and it was horrible.

    My husband was drinking a six pack of Mt Dew a day. After he had the flu last year, he only drinks it when we go to dinner/at family gatherings, etc. We no longer have it in the house.

  • poppthechute

    True Lemon, True Lime and True Orange. Dehydrated fruit juice and citrus oil, no sugar. Add a packet to a bottle of water and you’re set. It’s great for cooking as well. No calories.

    • Msfranxie

      Sweetened with stevia, has one carb per serving.

    • Judy

      Where do you buy True Lemon? I have never seen it!

      • Katydyd

        When in Florida, I get mine at Publix; When in NE Ohio, Acme. I carry True Lime with me at all times. I’m a “well water girl,” and when I’m stuck with “city water,” the True Lime does a nice job of hiding the chlorine taste. True Lime is definitely my favorite, True Lemon is OK, and I’m not very fond of the True Orange. (Personal preferance, I’m sure.)

  • Samantha

    I had to quit cold turkey. My husband drinks so much Mt. Dew that he can get physically sick, so it is definitely not easy, and I even now have the urge to drink one, but I am coming up on a month clean with absolutely NO soda. I’ve been drinking orange, apple, and grape juice and milk like no tomorrow. But I know if I didn’t quit right when I decided to I would never be able to cut back from the two or three a day.

  • crystalfire294

    Your article was great, and reminded me of myself a while back. When I first tried to cut out soda completely I didn’t allow myself any, and after a while I would get so frustrated that I would eventually break down and practically binge on sodas. Later I tried a less extreme approach of letting myself have one on Saturday, and Sunday. It really made a difference. In the mean time, tea gives me the caffeine pickup I need without the calories and sweeteners. :)

  • Shannon Benson Algren

    I honestly use to drink 3 3liters a day ,,,yes I said 3 3liters a day,,,when I would open the last 3 liter I would start worrying if I could get more,,,,,addiction you bet…..I stopped cold turkey until I could control it now a 3 liter goes bad most of the time before I drink it I tend to forget its there

    • http://www.justweightandsee.com Just Weight and See

      An addiction without question. Good for you cutting it out, Shannon!

      • loni

        ThIs Is A Huge Accomplishment! Wow! Good For You, And I Don’t Even Know You, But I’m Proud Of You!

  • David Zachary

    I was a 2-3 cup/day coffee drinker and a 2-3/can of soda drinker. I did not suffer from headaches and I know I was piling in a ton of calories.

    I quit cold turkey around the middle of January (along with coffee). Found out I had gout, the caffeine is a diuretic (which is a no-no) and the carbonation can influence your pH (another no-no). The withdrawal head aches were a bear. I quit on a Friday and by that evening I was incapacitated: head ache, nausea, light sensitivity… basically a migraine. Saturday was a repeat, but all day. I took some head ache meds and Fenegrin. Sunday was better, still taking meds to lessen the symptoms. I was operating at about 80% for at least the next week (head ache and trouble focusing). For the remainder of the month I could “feel” them calling me. This month has been a lot better, though minor head aches are off an on.

    Don’t kid yourself. If you are a heavy caffeine drinker… you are addicted. The physical and mental withdrawals can be a hurdle. If you realize you are a caffeine addict, then getting a glass every now and again may not be the best thing. You may change from soda to coffee or tea, to keep your addiction fed. It then come down to one simple point, do you want caffeine to have a hold of you. A lot of people say “Duh, YES!” You may not be one of those.

    I wish I had seen this article when I quit. The author makes a lot of excellent suggestions.

  • Shelley

    I read somewhere that diet soda will trick your brain and you eventually drink more and more diet soda. I believe that happened to me. I try drinking water especially at the office but you know something…I hate water and I know it’s good for you so I’m going try again with putting some citrus fruits in the water. Thanks for the information.

    • Andrew Lewis

      It’s the aspartame in the soda that makes you thirsty. It’s an artificial sweetener in which the goal is to cause the person drinking the soda to crave more. So yes, their marketing trick must be working.

    • Christine

      Or you can try drinking crystal light. They have great flavors and 0 sugar and only 5 calories. I thought it was gonna be hard, but in only 2 weeks I started losing weight. Amazing what a little change in your drink habits can make.

      • tj

        The only problem with Crystal Light is the artificial sweetener, and I have to stay away from that.

  • Lia

    So you show a very appealing photo of a soda in an article about not drinking soda?

    • Christine

      So true! Looks icy cold and fizzy and fabulous!

    • Maggie

      I thought it was a picture of stewed prunes… ;-P

  • shayne

    ugh i hate pop i think it is honestly one of those things that the earth would be better off if it had never been invented i drink lots of water crystal light sugar free kool aide and unsweetened ice tea

    • Louise

      I am trying to drink more water but I only like cold fridge temp. I don’t drink water at work as I cant get to the loo all the time but at home I just bought diet cordial. A few drops to change the colour and Im right. I only had a diet coke or energy drink at lunch at work and still do. Just the one a day but weekends are my bad times. I don’t have diet coke in the house that’s my water time.Cordials done wonders.

      • brendanstallard

        Um-I know I’m going to be in the kak for offering this opinion here, but my question is genuine, personal and wondering.

        I’ve _never_ in my life drunk much cola/fizzy stuff. Just didn’t fancy it much. I knew that it was made from sugar-and being English-my dentistry needs all the help it can get.

        Then, before I had gastric-bypass surgery, the nutritionist showed the class how much sugar there is in a can of coke/cola. That was scary enough.

        Two years into the bypass surgery, and having lost a ton of weight-I still get a lot of times, even following rigid discipline, where I suffer vomiting. (After by-pass surgery, the only safe food is goop.)

        On one of these occasions, throwing up and feeling terrible-it HURTS till it’s out, and then you feel just wretched……we happened to keep some Coca-cola in the house for the visits of my FIL.

        I snagged one of those and felt INSTANTLY better, it was like a wonder cure.

        I’m still dead careful about what I ingest, but I do enjoy the occasional Coke Zero mixed with ice and water. It does seem to settle my stomach a bit, especially when it’s grumbling-then I take it neat.

        It’s maybe four 12oz cans a week.

        Is there any reason I shouldn’t keep drinking this stuff?

        brendan

        • debbie

          Hi Brendan,

          It’s the ginger in Coke products that settles your stomach. I had a long bout with nausea and sipping Coke was the cure. I suppose ginger ale would do the same thing. Wondering if there might be another non-soda alternative out there.

          • brendanstallard

            “It’s the ginger in Coke products that settles your stomach.”

            Debbie,

            Ah! How interesting!

            I’m not married to Coke-I’ll happily glug some ginger ale. I’ll give it a whizz.

            Thanks for the knowledge.

            brendan

          • Coach Stevo

            You might also want to give some ginger tea a shot. As ginger-y as you want it and none of the calories and sugar.

          • brendanstallard

            Stevo,

            Wilko, researching it as we speak.

            Gracias!

            brendan

          • Maria

            Debbie & Brendan,
            My massage therapist told me about Red Raspberry Herbal Tea to calm my stomach. On a side note for women with cramps: Take Evening Primrose Oil (looks like gel pills) & drink the raspberry tea to relieve cramps. It works a lot better than the 800 mg of ibuprofen I was taking several times a day & the herbal way was much better on my stomach.
            A guy I know swears by the Ginger Root for not only health benefits but also for upset stomachs & takes a little piece of it to eat or puts it in a glass of water. I cannot eat or drink the straight Ginger like that so I found that Sprite helps – that’s what I grew up on. If you like Japanese food, they serve pickled ginger with sushi. I can eat the Japanese Ginger when I eat sushi & I have to admit that it does help with my Nausea.
            Hope this helps.

          • Kay

            I had the same problem when I was pregnant, I never drank coke, just diet coke which was a big no no being pregnant. I was soooo nauseas the only thing that settled my stomach was coke. Gingery ale didn’t even work for me, it had to be coke. I tried not to drink it to much…only when it was really bad but I def know where you’re coming from. That being said. I drink diet coke at least once or twice a day now and not much water. I keep telling myself I’m going to stop because my two yr old son sees it and wants it and I don’t want him to start off unhealthy. I just bought orange juice this week and I think I’m going to start substituting OJ with the soda. Diet soda is really bad for you by the way, it crosses the blood brain barrier, it’s horrible for your bones, it’s terrible for diabetics. Even knowing all of this I still drink this. I def have to stop!

          • Katydyd

            Ginger tea for nausea. Fennel and Peppermint tea for a stomach ache.

  • Marcia

    It has helped me a lot not to keep it in the house and when I am out and want soda I either order it with a meal or purchase a small bottle at home when I choose to. Usually its that day but also, its usually only every 3 to 4 weeks I have one. This is so much better than a 2 liter a day.

  • Audra Allen

    I have started to cut back on soda also. More water in my diet and it seems to be working. I do have the craving at times. Sometimes it feels like if I just can have a mouth full I be ok :) its a working process but I’m very determine to reach my goal

  • Maria

    Thank You very much for the very useful information! I tried to cut down on soda on my own but was not able to even though I knew it was bad for me. The diet soda did not work for me, not only because of the taste but also because I would see people drink either a Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi with their large meal. I finally knew that I could not lose weight & drink less soda on my own so I chose to go to a Medically Supervised Weight Loss Program & that was the best decision I ever made because they helped with my Soda addiction by slowly cutting down on soda & switching to Diet Soda then lessening the amount of soda I drink on a daily basis. Now, I usually only drink soda when I’m at my Mom’s restaurant or on Sunday when my entire family gets together for lunch. Many days I don’t even drink soda because I’ve gotten use to drinking more Green Tea & flavored water since I still like the carbonation at times. I’ve also have increased my water intake & I always have water or some other healthy drink in my car since I drink a lot. Along with decreasing the amount of food I’ve been eating & exercising more I’ve lost around 25 lbs. so far. I haven’t felt this good in many years!

    Your article is very timely for me since before my weight loss I wouldn’t have ready to hear the truth of what you were telling us on this blog. Hearing your words again along with still being in the weight loss program has wanted me to continue the healthy plan that I’m on & continuing to decrease the amount of soda that I’m drinking now. The Soda Stream machine sounds like a great idea & I’ve seen it in stores so I will check it out further. Keep up the great informative posts that I enjoy reading!

    • Coach Stevo

      Wow, Maria! What a great story!

      • Maria

        Thanks Coach Stevo for the nice compliment.

    • Ceri

      Maria – what an encouragement, I am just starting my journey to lessen my pop intake as is it way above the needed amount, but it has been one of those things in my life over the last couple of years I have come to ‘need’.
      The only thing that concerns me and this is a note that you may need to research a little more due to my inability to retain correct information for long periods of time….You say you always have water or some other healthy drink in your car….This is not a scare tactic now but a genuine note that I saw on research that had been linked between water that was kept in cars overnight and breast cancer?????
      And like I say I don’t want to go scaremongering but it was something I read along the way somewhere?
      Keep up the good work though and thank you for your inspiriation

  • JessicaW

    I stopped smoking AND drinking soda a little over a week and a half ago and surprisingly it wasn’t really all that bad for me. I miss it, but in the long run, my life will be 100x’s better than it was!

    • Maria

      Congratulations Jessica!!!

    • http://jakekaskey.com/ Jake Kaskey

      Let me echo Maria with some massive congrats! Not just slaying one beast but two at the same time? Takes not just skills but guts :) Keep up the amazing work!

    • Anna Farrow

      Way to go. How are you doing so far?

  • mm

    I have 8 to 10 litres a day ha

  • Trisha Lynn Dux

    I solved my caffeine and sugar craving/addiction issues with the addition of a good, natural multi vitamin. I would tell myself I needed to quit/cut down, but couldn’t fight the insane cravings I would have for carbs as I did it. Once I added a proper vitamin, to give me what my body was actually craving, I was able to cut back with no issues. Don’t rely on a store bought vitamin, get one that actually dissolves in your body and contains forms of vitamins you can actually absorb. Happy to share where I get mine, if you message me.

  • Coach Stevo

    I really enjoyed this article, Elle. I like “harm reduction” approach and your suggestion of breaking a soda habit with a healthier alternative. Time and again, the habit research points to how much easier it is to replace a habit than stop cold turkey. My own soda replacement was Perrier and then an old-fashioned seltzer bottle.

  • Slippy

    I was a nothing but soda kind of girl until 3 or 4 years ago. I cold turkey quit. I was already drinking caffeine free soda, so no withdrawal symptoms. I personally think cold turkey is the way to go. But, we all have to do what works best for ourselves. I just stopped. Never replaced soda with something else. Here is the most unbelievable part, I CAN’T stand soda anymore. The couple times I have had a sip…..blah! Good luck to anyone trying to give it up! It took years of trying and not succeeding.

  • Gloria Bennett

    I have found something that I really like and it is Lipton Green Tea w/honey in the Pineapple/Mango flavor that you add to water. I drink it now and I really have not missed the cokes at all. It comes in individual sizes that you can mix in water on the go, and it also comes in a large pitcher size that I make and keep i the fridge all the time.

  • Wendy

    I used to think I couldn’t eat a meal without a soda…or two, sometimes three. I knew, however, I wanted to cut the calories, the sugar, the yucky additives but how to do that when addicted? I started with the caffeine. I switched to Sprite or Sierra Mist or other caffeine free alternatives. That was hard. I had caffeine withdrawal headaches but I got through it.
    Then I limited the number of sodas I allowed myself and began substituting juice for soda. Still wanting to kick the sugar and calories, I went to milk and finally water. I used to think I couldn’t drink water which is funny because I now keep a reusable water bottle at hand nearly all the time. I didn’t try going cold turkey, I knew I couldn’t but I was also convinced that I could, in fact, kick the soda habit. Given how addicted I was if I can do it, so can you. You just have to find what works for you :)

  • Darlene

    Elle, Thanks for a great blog! I got off the soda kick too! But I did it by first going cold turkey at home…that’s what worked for me. Everyone is different. Do what works for you. I’d still have soda when we went out for dinner, the movies or a pit stop at Wawa. When I was comfortable with not having it at home I took another step and stopped having soda when we were out to dinner. As time went on I stopped having a soda when we stopped at Wawa. My choice of beverage for the most part has been ice cold water and an occasional no sugar ice tea out to dinner or at Wawa and an occassional glass of 1% milk at home. Now I have one about once a month if that and I don’t miss it either. In fact my husband decided to start buying Root Beer for home and I might take a sip once in a blue moon. What really helped me stop was when I read how they make soda…what”s in it. But I have to say, having plenty of ice water available was and is key to me not drinking the bubbly. I also made up a schedule of how to get 8 cups 8 times a day. This is my schedule: 8am – 8oz. for breakfast; 10am – 16oz. for snack; 12pm – 16oz. for lunch; 5pm – 16oz. for dinner; 7pm – 8oz. for snack. Now that I’m getting use to that amount I’ve been upping the water even more by 16 more ounces! And I feel great!!! I don’t feel as sluggish from over dosing on soda. Thanks again for a great blog!

  • Gretchen Hill

    After my surgery 2years ago, I never try drinking soda because we know that this is not good for the health. But after reading this article, I wanna try to get back soda, will try to drink 2-3 soda’s a day.

  • liswar

    great ideas – here’s my fave bubbly bevvy (aside from champagne, which of course is a treat) – although it is also nice with tap water: add equal splashes of apple cider vinegar & apple juice concentrate – about a capful of each in a pint of mineral, soda or still water. There is also an ACV/honey blend that you can get in health food sections, but I find it a little too sweet. ACV is very good for you in lots of ways, & this drink is so refreshing! Cheers :-)

  • MMFabrizio

    Excellent article! I just recently stopped drinking soda myself. I was drinking 4 – 5 20 ouce bottles of Mt. Dew a day. I had to do cold turkey though, because I’ve tried the weaning off so many times before and failed. I decided to stop cold turkey when I measured my hips so I could start tracking my progress on MyFitnessPal, and REALLY didn’t like what I saw.

    It was on grocery shopping day, and I had just ran out of soda and had been looking forward to buying a bunch more, but decided at that moment, that no, I wasn’t going to buy any. I bought 3 huge packs of water bottles (I think they hold like 20 bottles each). And some Crystal Lite.

    Now yes, I realize I’m using that as a replacement, but I’m okay with that because it is still much healthier, and I’m actually drinking water now. I used to NEVER drink any water at all. And I don’t always use the Crystal Lite, I do drink some of the bottles of water, as plain water, which I never did before.

    So, it’s a great improvement.

    And it’s great to see how many other people are kicking the soda habit too!=)

  • Sarah Yates

    I absolutely agree the method of cutting down vs. going cold turkey. I’m a coke-zero-holic and I know I’m a ticking time bomb with all the bad side effects the chemicals cause. Thanks for this article…motivating and great advice.

  • Bridgetwolfbear

    I stopped drinking soda cold turkey. Though it’s not easy as my whole family is still drinking soda. So now I make homemade sun tea, green tea, herbal tea, and drink a lot more water. Every now and then I will make up a small bottle of crystal light. But this gives me a few more ideas about to add to my water.

  • Becky

    We bought ourselves a SodaStream for Christmas. It carbonates our (filtered) tap water. We don’t use any of the flavor packets that come with it. But we do sometimes add a splash of tart cherry juice, or pure ( no sugar added) pomegranate juice, or a squeeze of lemon or lime to flavor it sometimes. Sometimes we just drink it plain. No more cans! No more bottles! No more soda pop!

  • Alice

    I have Osteoporosis and my Dr. said caffeine is very hard on your bones. I wish I had never drank any caffeine at all. I sure would have a lot less pain. I used to drink Cherry Coke or Pepsi most of the time, but, I did not know it was harmful then. I sure don’t drink it NOW!

  • Megan

    Cutting soda was probably the best choice I ever made! It reduced so much bloat because I drank soda… a LOT! Even if I try a sip of it now, it tastes horrible to me! Best alternative is that I make sparkling Crystal Light with my sodastream :)

  • Anna Farrow

    I am so glad that I kicked the habit of pop! It was not easy.

  • fittoday14

    It was very hard for me to cut back & stop drinking it for a very long time. I basically only drank soda as a kid- I hated juice and water. It wasn’t until 2005 when my co-workers begged me to get a DeerPark water in our office that I was like, “I don’t drink water, what do I care.” And they were all like, “Why don’t you drink water? You’re killing yourself drinking soda and hardly any water.” It was a wake up call and I’m glad I listened! Since then I began drinking more water and less Soda. I can’t say I cut out soda completely since then, I do have my occasional diet or regular Coke every few months. BuT, it’s nothing like before. I’m so glad I did it! :)

  • jen

    When I started my diet a couple of weeks ago I decided that not only was I going to cut out fizzy drinks, but also a lot of juice too. I was so shocked at how much sugar was in a glass of juice, and whilst all of the soda in my house was always sugar free – the chemicals used in it cannot be healthy!
    I went completely ‘cold turkey’ and now only drink water and haven’t missed it at all. If you miss it, remind yourself what you would be drinking!

  • Sean

    I quit cold turkey 5 or 6 years ago – it’s REALLY expensive in addition to the health issues, and I really got sick of all that recycling piling up, and buying it by the case at Costco. I installed a reverse osmosis filter under the sink and that water tastes outstanding.

    I’ll have ice tea when I go out and periodically I’ll have a soda – it’s not that I can’t drink soda, I just choose not to. Anymore, I find that the diet soda I used to consume by the gallon tastes pretty unappealing. No withdrawal headaches either, for me.

  • beef3309

    Just shared your article with everyone at work in our weight loss group. I am an addict to soda, and what is worse it is something I passed on to my kids. We have already adopted no soda in house except for special occasions and none when we eat out. I haven’t quit but I get the little 8-10 oz bottle and sip on it occasionally over couple of days and throw part of it out. Sody is a tough monkey to shake off! I have noticed since going days without a whole can, when I try a fountain drink it seems super sweet, so I am making progress.

  • Natasha

    I gave up fizzy drinks September 2013. Just stopped having them completely (on their own) and now I have 2L (or less depends on what the day holds) water a day, lemon barley water, probably some juice and a cup of tea in the morning. I barely have coffee any more and the weekends I sometimes have a few glasses of alcohol but its a lot better then I used to be.
    I used to love drinking Coke-Cola and Lemonade… but now the only time I have it (probably once a month as well) is in a Bacardi and coke… that’s the only time I drink the fizzy stuff now…

  • Paperdollprincess

    I recently began changing my lifestyle to healthier eating habits – basically the “make healthy choices” approach rather than “diet”. Deep down I have known I need to cut out sodas. I regularly start with a 32 oz in the morning for breakfast, then drink it throughout the day with every meal and sometimes in between. As I am seeking to adopt a healthier lifestyle overall, sodas are high on my list of things that need to go – Diet Coke specifically. I have justified it because it’s “diet”, but I am convinced it is not healthy to put that much artificial sweetener in my body or artificial other stuff. My new eating approach comes from a Biblical verse that says “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.” I know Diet Coke is not profitable to my body in any way. Over the years, I’ve wondered how much the carbonation and artificial ingredients might be affecting my internal organs (i.e. kidneys, urine imbalances, etc.). Today, before I saw this article, I had decided to set out three bottles of water a day on the counter. Before picking up a soda, I am committing to drink at least one 16 oz bottle of water first. Then I’ll allow myself all the soda I want. So far today, it is 3:30 pm and I’ve only had about 2.5 oz of soda and I’m not craving it. After drinking the water first, the soda is not as appealing as it was before. Another recent decision regarding this change is that I am now buying my sodas in bottles rather than cans. When I open a canned soda, I feel I must not waste it, so I end up drinking all of it regardless of whether I am that thirsty or not. With the bottles, I can take a sip or two if I am having a strong craving and then close the bottle until another time. One other new thing I am doing toward this goal is I’m logging what water and soda I drink into Myfitnesspal app. That just gives me that little extra accountability and visual of what I’m putting into my body. Hopefully these ideas will be a good start for me as well as some of those listed from the article above. Thanks for the article and the encouragement.

  • Jessica Schultz

    I stopped drinking soda a few months ago. Instead, I drink water and milk. It does a fairly good difference in my health, and helps out with my weight loss.

  • Me

    I stopped drinking soda as I was concerned about the amount of artificial sweeteners I was consuming. I find now that I actually dislike lemonade, and I’m rapidly going right off of other fizzy drinks too. I had a bottle of Pepsi max, a former favourite, given to me at the weekend, and it remains unfinished in the fridge. Previously I’d have drank that in one sitting. (It is designed as a single drink). I am so pleased that I bothered. Now, the most part I now drink water, tea, coffee and somethimes no added sugar cordials. Not course I’m still consuming artificial sweeteners, but fewer.

  • Jordan

    I think your dentist – at least – would disagree that there are no health benefits to giving up fizzy drinks!

  • Jordan

    Point #6 is a great reminder of a truth that’s very easy to overlook/forget! :)

  • Andrew Lewis

    Aspartame, while it does not inflict hunger, is designed to make the user’s mouth dry, which makes them want to drink more. This is why most gum brands use aspartame now. You eat the gum expecting for it to bring moisture into your mouth, but it just causes you to think you need another piece of gum. It’s a huge marketing trick. Thirst, not hunger.

    • lynette

      Thanks for that post .I love gum it helps me focus but I always get extremely thirsty .now I know why.

  • Brittany

    At one point I know there was a study about artificial sweeteners being linked to cancer. I’m not sure if it was ever ruled out but just a thought.

  • Micki74

    I wanted to quit smoking and give up sodas too but decided that I should probably do them one a time because one may help keep me sane while I was giving up the other. I quit smoking 18 months ago and do not miss it one single bit. I started weaning myself off of soda 2 weeks ago, I’m weaning a LOT faster than the article but the headaches are already starting to be less and less and this is my 3rd day with absolutely no soda whatsoever.

  • Sterling

    i used to drink alot of Mt Dew. I stopped that after learning about one of the ingredients and its effects on your brain. I still drank alot of soda. I stopped that complete and, for a week or 2, did get headaches and stuff but I went on through it. I havent had soda since around the first week of october and feel much better. I still drink coffee, but its black so no superfluous calories and black coffee can act as an appetite suppressant, so thats a bonus too.

  • Geraldine

    I started with giving up soda for Lent and I got used to drinking Iced tea instead and since then I only drink one on a special occasion.. Then I drink water….

  • Margaux Milchen

    I drink lots of coffee…my doc said it was good for me and so …I do and will continue. I only drink zevia soda which is made with Stevia and only when I am having mixed drinks. Of course if I’m out…which isn’t often, then any diet soda will do. I don’t want to drink shots lol.

  • LL11

    “The reality is that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are perfectly safe”. Many doctors, scientists and others disagree with you. There are a lot of conflicting studies on it though.

  • agentrock

    I admit, I am a soda addict. It’s horrible because it’s so bad for you. I have to stop drinking it last year though when I got my wisdom teeth pulled because it hinders the healing process. Had to quit cold turkey and mad did that suck. I went through the caffeine withdrawal and felt like total crap for about a week or so. After that, however, I felt better than I ever had before! And I lost a couple inches off my waist. For awhile afterwards, I would only have one once a month if that when we ate out at a restaurant.
    This winter, being cooped up indoors, I drank it a little bit more and got hooked on drinking it again. It’s tough, just like any addiction. I got back off of it but it was harder the second time around, probably because I didn’t HAVE to like I did last spring.

  • glory0621

    I stopped drinking soda almost 2 weeks now. I stopped cold turkey. After a few days, I experience sweating. My doctor said, I was having withdrawals from the sugar. After the first week the sweating stopped. What I did to stop sodas, was put filtered water into a soda bottle and add little favor..etc orange, berry. Having it in the soda bottle worked for me. :)

  • Judy

    I too have decided to stop drinking diet soda. I have consumed 4-12oz. Cans/day for longer than I can remember. I noticed that I was experiencing ” urgency” to urinate during the day. I was going at least 15 times a day. I was going crazy with it…then I saw a Dr. Oz program addressing the artificial sweetener issue. He stated that there has been no link shown that they cause cancer, however, in some people they trigger your bladder muscles to over contract, causing too frequent urination! Bingo! I am down to drinking 1/day and occasionally 1 every oh her day and have noticed a SIGNIFICANT difference! I hope this helps someone!

  • Sciakath

    Years ago I attended an event where Joan Lunden said something to the effect, “I’ve never seen a thin person drinking a diet soda.” That stuck with me, but did not sink in until just about six months ago, when I found myself drinking 72+ oz. of Diet Coke daily. With my doctor’s gentle urging, I quit cold turkey one day and avoided it altogether for over 3 months. Kept drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day, so caffeine withdrawal was not an issue. I have noticed my energy level is much more consistent over the whole day, my attention/focus is better and I don’t feel bloated. I do miss the bubbles, though! So about 1-2 times a month, I will treat myself to a Diet Coke. It tastes OK, but does not have the “pull” it once had. Kind of like visiting an old boyfriend and wondering what it is you ever loved about the guy….

  • Carol W

    Good article. Thanks!

  • mssheila

    I appreciated the timeliness and suggestions in the article. I gave up ‘sugar’ for lent and that meant giving up my not so secret nemesis, Coca Cola. I love it. I limited myself to 1 a day, but even giving up 1 was hard. I have given it up in the past and started back with the rule only on weekends, but it crept into the week. I never liked diet soda, the taste is nasty. I will see if I can make it an occasional treat using some of the suggestions. I noticed a weight loss right away after giving up sugar (high fructose corn syrup is the worst for you), perhaps that will be my incentive!

  • BB

    i used to drink about 1 2 liter a day of diet. I got sick in 2012 w/ an autoimmune disease and the only thing i got to drink in hospital was ginger ale. I’m totally off diet soda, but the ginger ale sure packs on the calories. Any suggestions

  • http://mooncity.zhuncity.com mooncity.zhuncity.com

    I really did too much diet soda. I will make an effort to cut back.

  • Serabeth

    I’m currently drinking diet soda as I read this…I never drink water. I drink at least a 2 liter bottle a day. Two to three cups sounds like a joke to me, lol….Hardly classified as an addiction compared to what I do. I’ve been addicted to diet soda on and off since I was 16 years old, and I’m 25 now. I have at various points in my life quit for certain periods of time…Here and there a week or two, sometimes a few months, and once or twice close to a year.

    I’m kind of like an alcoholic, though, in that one drink brings it all back and I’m hooked again. I do lose the craving for it after a while, but if I drink even 1 soda, I need to go to the store to get some more.

  • kat

    my hubby must have soda if I don’t buy it he will ..no way I can drink a can but each time he gets a glass I Must get I a sip! a must ;)

  • http://cdloken.blogspot.com/ C.d. Loken

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been ‘contemplating’ cutting back on my soda intake, but kept putting it off because I didn’t have a plan. With your great tips-now I can!

  • Linda Horner-Segovia

    I am just starting to cut my soda intake, I will try cutting down to 2 a day, I am at 4 aday now, I get the head aces. If I cut it cold turkey, tried that did not work for me, thanks for the insite of how to do this in a good way,

  • Jamie

    I am working on eliminating Diet Soda from my diet right now, mainly because of the artificial sweaters in it that aggravates a lot of my health conditions, Migraines, Vertigo, joint pain and so on and so forth, so far, so good I have only had one Diet Soda since Sunday and that was tonight. My cousin, a doctor said that it would be better to consume 1-2 regular sodas a day then the diet soda because of the artificial sweeteners (she by the way is my person who is checking up on me :) ) I have not had any with drawl headaches so far. I still have my cup of coffee in the morning witch helps curb the caffeine craving

  • mystic1709

    im glad im allergic to diet soda or actually the artifical sweater in it but it make replacing with alternate sweet drinks a hassle because most have aspartame in it. i do however drink regular soda but rarely more then 3 12oz cans a day. and also drink atleast 1 large glass of water a day. i used to drink alot more but cut down. from time to time it fluctuates and i may drink more. after i quit smoking i stress drink now instead of stress smoke. so its just one more habit i need to cut. been smoke free for about 5yrs now. so if i can do that i can do this.

  • AnswersOnTheT

    Water upsets my stomach, a Doctor told me drinking to much Skim Milk or Fruit Juice is bad, & even Decaffinated Tea makes my Migraines worse….. So what’s left, besides soda?

    • metoadtoo

      Water gives me heartburn. I drink two to three cans of caffeine free Coke (not diet) a day. Yes, I’d love to stop drinking cola, but I do not like water or juice or tea or coffee. I drink milk and cola, with a little water too. I’m not a person that can just drink all day. People who can drink bottles upon bottles of liquids (of whatever kind) befuddle me. How do they do it? If I drink 50 ounces of liquids a day I’m doing great. Would love to change, just don’t know how.

      • K M

        I used to feel the same way. But once I got off soda and just made myself drink the water (I essentially carried my water everywhere even the bathroom and made myself take at least a sip every ten minutes or so) I realized one day that the heartburn was gone and it hasn’t come back. It was definitely a transition that I had to commit to. I posted my strategy above for ditching the soda. It was tough, but I’m so glad I did.

      • K M

        Oh, and my headaches are virtually gone also. Maybe once a month now instead of several days a week. Again it was a tough transition, but it was worth it!

  • funkyc

    A friend of mine stops drinking soda every other year. This year I joined him. I have one exception. On any plane ride this year I allow my self a ginger ale. Because my Dad always had a ginger ale when he flew. Those are the only two sodas I have had this year. I’m not even craving it. Its just milk, water and crystal lite. Next year I might even do no artificial sweetners.

  • Jessie

    Giving up Coca Cola was very hard for me and I had tried many times over the years. When I started a low carb high protein diet Dec 7th 2013 I decided it was time. Back then I could not tell you when the last time was I had a glass of water but I could tell you when I had my last coke. Now 4 months later I am ok without it and don’t crave it like I did at first. I am sure not drinking coke has help with the weight I have lost also.

  • Paul Daniel Cook

    Here is how I stopped. I switched immediately to sweet tea and drank that for a little while. Although there is sugar in it, there was not all of the rest of that “bad stuff”. A few months ago I switched to unsweetened tea, cold turkey. I tried it unsweetened in the past and thought I wouldn’t like it, but I do. If I want anything sweetened now, I use stevia, a very little, because a little goes a long way. Stevia is a sweetener that comes from a plant and has no sugar or calories. I just found out yesterday that there is a soda called Zevia and they have a few flavors to choose from. You could find these at your local health food store or you could ask them to get it, for you die hard soda drinkers. For me, it’s water or unsweetened tea.

  • JillM

    Great ideas !!

  • Jazzinjenn

    I quit drinking soda 6 months ago and coffee 4 weeks ago. I was lucky to not have any headaches. I still crave them both, but resist drinking them. I don’t like juices because they are too sweet. I tried decaffeinated green tea but found that too bitter. I have found I sleep better at night and my skin has also cleared up (finally!).
    I opt for icy-cold water. Boring – maybe. Healthy for me – most definitely!!

  • K M

    I had a revelation one day as I was driving away from the MickeyD’s drive thru with a large Coke, light ice, that I was “killing myself with these things.” I stopped and dumped it out, but my husband is a soda drinker and I needed a strategy to get through the cravings at home. I started picturing the cans with a poison symbol on them and I also told myself that I could have one anytime I wanted, as long as I drank a couple of bottles of water first. So far I haven’t given in to any cravings and the tie between soda and poison has become the first image that pops into my mind.

    Now I need to focus on giving up bottled water, as I can’t stand our tap water here in Phoenix, even filtered multiple times. I started with Dasani (still supporting Coca Cola ;) but have now switched to Costco’s brand. My husband has offered to put in an RO system, but I am under the impression that they waste far more water than they produce. One vice for another?

  • Julie

    This is embarrassing to admit, but I drink close to a 12pack of Diet Pepsi a day. I really want to stop drinking this much, but as you can imagine the withdrawal headaches were horrible when I tried quitting cold turkey before. I guess I just need to start by trading one can a day for a bottle of water and start from there. Anyone want to be by partner/coach in this journey?

    • Carman

      I used to drink that much Diet Dr. Pepper a day, now I limit myself to 4 or 5 a day. Still way too much, but I just started last week. I have a 32 oz glass that I fill up 4 times a day at work, and drink a couple 8 oz glasses in the evening. Hopefully I can cut back more next week. Good luck.

  • Patti

    I stopped drinking (or eating) anything with aspartame about a year ago. It may or may not be bad for you, but I just didn’t want to keep taking chances. I went from being a 3 or more per day Diet Coke drinker, to drinking one regular little “baby” Coke in the morning. Then more gradually crept in — especially on weekends. I gained several pounds as a result of adding those calories in, so finally cut Cokes out altogether. Now I drink LeCroix carbonated water (no sweetener, no sodium, and they have some great flavors) when I want a soda. My current habit is to drink at least four cups of water before breakfast, then a small can of Spicy V-8 juice, water throughout the day, and a LeCroix with lunch and/or dinner. I will occasionally drink a regular Sprite or Sierra mist when we go out. All this to say that, surprisingly, I don’t miss the taste of cola or the caffeine at all! I feel better, my skin looks better, and I’m sleeping more soundly. Seems like a fair trade to me!

  • Chris

    I was drinking 2-3 diet sodas a day (and taking tons of migraine medicine). I discovered that the aspartame was causing about 99% of my migraines!

  • Mary Ann

    I stopped drinking soda after foot surgery. I felt lousy after the surgery and didn’t drink soda for a week. I thought this would be a good time to quit. I’m now drinking ice tea/lemonade mix. It’s delicious. I haven’t had a soda in 7 wks.

  • http://www.jtvsworld2.blogspot.com Jamie

    What I have done since moving out of home, is have a stash of soft drink in cans, but only have 3 in the fridge at a time. My logic is that if I have a friend over I need something to offer them, but having cans mean I don’t open a bottle, as if I did that I would be inclined to drink it. Its easier to say no to can, than it is to an “opened” bottle, and even if I did give in, it is still a substantially less amount than a bottle.

  • Nikki

    I haven’t drink pop for 11 months since I started dieting. I drink nothing but water, but once in a while, i drink Green tea or ice tea.