We already told you that average Americans consume around 17 spoons of sugar a day. For a more graphic effect try pouring an actual 17 spoons of sugar in a bowl and see the difference. Your next reaction will be pure wonder: how on earth do I eat that much sugar?
Source #1 of sugar is sneaky hidden sugars in products like low-fat yogurt, cereals, muesli bars, sauces, preservatives, spreads, etc. which are commonly perceived as “healthy foods”.
Source #2 is even sneakier because it is easiest to consume: a lot of beverages, starting from juices and ending with soda. And the consumption statistics of the latter are alarming. In 2011-2014, 6 in 10 youth (63%) and 5 in 10 adults (49%) drank a sugar-sweetened beverage on a given day. According to CDC data, on average, U.S. youth consume 143 calories from sugar-filled beverages and U.S. adults consume 145 calories from sugar-filled beverages.
Imagine drinking a glass of water with 9 tablespoons of sugar. This is what the average can of soda contains. Now imagine drinking that every day.
The effects of drinking soda every day are dramatic: heightened risks of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, visceral fat, not to mention mood swings! If you are impressed by this introduction and already wondering how to stop drinking soda, then you are on the right track!
You may have already heard about different ways to stop drinking soda. Here we have a whole list! You can use them all or combine them the way that most suits you. Remember that it’s your body and your well-being that is your primary concern and you should always proceed with caution:
1. Take your time.
If you are an adult, by this time you might have already tried quitting a lot of bad habits. Whenever you deal with giving up a bad habit one of the first ideas is literally burning all the bridges. We have this inherent idea that going cold turkey is one of the best ways to stop drinking soda. But truth be told, it is not. Overall, this approach is outdated, and several statistics show that. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, evidence shows that roughly 90% of people with alcoholism relapse within 4 years after completing treatment. Bad habits and addictions are persistent and never hesitate to retaliate. Caffeine-induced withdrawal is no less harsh and merciless. This is why it is wiser to take your recovery from the habit step by step. You are in no rush here. Otherwise, you may slip into a vicious circle of abstinence and soda binge, guilt trip and repeat.
2. Don’t give in completely.
You shouldn’t overdo and fall into a slip. You may not notice the fine line between “okay, just one glass of soda” and “It’s just a second bottle!”. Yes, they will. Again, don’t fall into extremities. If you are at a family gathering or friend’s party just let yourself a glass of soda and then stick to other drinks. Be sympathetic to your needs but still vigilant and responsible adult for yourself. You are not going to quit drinking soda in a day or two; it’s a long pathway.
3. Be an adult, schedule!
You don’t have to keep a diary though. Just a mental check for two drinks a day instead of three. Once you put a mental checkmark you can actually control it and reduce more effectively. Thus, from two drinks a day you can slowly move to “once a day” and then “once a week” on a Saturday night out with the girls or the boys. It’s up to you.
4. Find a delicious replacement.
Unlike your Tinder rebound after an emotional breakup with your toxic partner, soda rebound is a great move. Every ingredient of soda is replaceable with a healthier alternative. If you want something sweet and savory, swap your artificial flavors for real fruit and berries. Check out our healthy smoothie recipes for more ideas! If you suffer from harsh caffeine deprivation, you can soothe it with green tea. This is how you can stop drinking soda without headaches. For carbonation use any sparkling sugar-free water. You can also fix yourself your own lemonade. Mix green tea, sparkling water and any citrus (lemon, grapefruit, lime). Add cinnamon and mint and enjoy! Add a spoon of honey for sweetness if you need some.
5. Get used to your replacement
Get used to drinking your healthy replacements! If you can’t watch a movie without a can of cola just swap it with a bottle of water or your homemade cold drink. Not only it will create a new healthy bond it will also feel lighter on your budget and environment.
6. …Or create a new habit instead.
Why don’t you eat an apple every time you want a soda? An apple a day, as they say. You can also replace your morning walk to the office vending machine with a stroll in the nearby park. Or you could run up and down the stairs. Or you could walk outside for a cup of green tea. There are definitely some nice spots near your office or home if you are a freelancer.
7. Reward yourself when you make progress!
Sometimes you can let yourself off the hook and drink a cup or two just off the schedule. Or you can drink a cup of sweet coffee for that dose of caffeine. As a matter of fact, as you will make progress in your battle you will feel less need in rewarding yourself, as you will also realize that this is not the “true” reward.
8. Don’t tempt yourself
One of the most widespread diet tips is to question yourself whether you want to eat because you are hungry or because you are bored. Do you have this habit of walking spontaneously into the kitchen and opening the fridge a couple of hundred times in a row, because you know you have something in there?
If you want to beat the temptation, then get rid of the temptation. Don’t keep soda in your home or work fridge.
You can also adopt some other “no soda policy” ideas, like “no soda after 6 pm” or “no soda on my way to work/college” or “no soda on a weekend out”. Don’t get too harsh, again!
We hope that these tips will help you to quit drinking soda without headaches. Keep calm and stay healthy!