Soda may seem like an innocent treat, but the truth is that drinking too much can wreak havoc on your health. With sky-high amounts of sugar, soda has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more. If it's time for you to break up with soda for good, this 10-step guide will help you kiss those sugary sodas goodbye.
Understand the Problem with Sugary Soda
First, let's explore why soda is so unhealthy in the first place. A 12-ounce can of regular cola contains a whopping 35 grams of added sugar - that's nearly 9 teaspoons dumped into a single can! Similarly, lemon-lime sodas and root beers also contain up to 38 grams of added sugar per serving.
Consuming too much added sugar from soda can lead to weight gain, tooth decay, inflammation, and puts you at a higher risk for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. What's more, soda provides zero nutritional value. It offers empty calories without any protein, fiber, vitamins, or minerals.
While opting for diet soda may seem like a healthier choice, artificial sweeteners have their own drawbacks. Studies show that frequently drinking artificially sweetened beverages may lead to strokes, depression, and extra belly fat. For the best health, cutting back on regular and diet sodas is key.
Take It Slow with Gradual Changes
Don't try to go cold turkey if you currently drink multiple sodas every single day. Making drastic, sweeping changes rarely leads to lasting success. You're better off taking a gradual approach.
Start by setting a specific goal such as only drinking soda two days per week. Or only indulging during the weekends. You can also set a goal to limit yourself to one small soda per day.
As your taste buds adjust and soda cravings diminish over time, you can lower your soda intake even further. Just be patient with yourself through this process. Slip ups will happen! When they do, reflect on what led to it, forgive yourself, and simply refocus on your goal.
Stay Hydrated with Flavorful, Healthy Drinks
One of the hardest parts of giving up soda is finding replacements that satisfy your cravings for carbonation and flavor. Simply switching to plain water probably won't cut it long-term.
The good news? You have tons of healthy, delicious options! For a fizzy fix, try switching to unsweetened seltzers or sparkling mineral waters. Herbal teas offer antioxidant benefits with bold fruit flavors. Or brew iced tea at home and lightly sweeten with fresh fruit.
Kombucha offers a probiotic-rich alternative when you want something flavorful and fermented. For an occasional treat, enjoy a small glass of fresh fruit or vegetable juice with no added sugars. Smoothies and shakes made with yogurt and frozen fruit can also hit the spot.
Rethink Your Drink RoutinesSometimes it's not just the craving for soda itself, but the habit and ritual of sipping it throughout your day. You may associate soda with meals, snacks, or as an afternoon pick-me-up. Here are some tips to reroute your drink routines:
- Swap soda for plain or flavored seltzer with meals
- Enjoy soda only occasionally as a weekend treat
- When a soda craving hits, wait at least 10 minutes before indulging
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day
- Choose water, tea, or diluted juice between meals and snacks
With a little planning, you can break those old soda habits. And soon enough, you'll have new, healthier drink rituals in place.
Out of Sight, Out of MindHere's a little secret from the pros: you're way less likely to drink unhealthy options like soda if you simply make them less available at home. It's human nature to choose what's most convenient in the moment. So take these steps to remove temptation:
- Stop buying soda when you grocery shop
- Remove any existing soda from your refrigerator and pantry
- Pick up some new reusable water bottles to carry with you
You'd be amazed at what a difference it makes when soda isn't right there within arm's reach. When it's not around to mindlessly grab and guzzle, you're less likely to miss it.
Get Your Fizz Fix with Homemade SodasOne of the hardest soda habits to break is relying on it for that bubbly carbonation. But there are tons of ways to DIY healthy homemade sodas and infused waters that satisfy your fizzy cravings:
- Fruit spa water - Add sliced fruit and herbs like citrus, berries, cucumber, and mint to a pitcher of water. Let infuse overnight in the fridge for refreshing flavor.
- Fruit-infused water - For light effervescence, mix a splash of 100% fruit juice into sparkling water. Try raspberry, peach, mango, or cherry juice mixed with seltzer.
- Simple syrups - Make simple syrups using fresh herbs, spices, and extracts. Then mix a splash into soda water or iced tea for an instant flavor boost.
- Shrubs - These sweet and tangy drinking vinegars are made from vinegar-steeped fruit and sugar. Add a splash of shrub syrup to seltzer or club soda for a tasty homemade soda.
Indulge Your Cravings in Moderation
Giving up soda doesn't mean you can never ever have it again. Allowing yourself an occasional indulgence is important for sticking to goals long-term without feeling deprived.
The key is indulging mindfully and in moderation. Limit yourself to a small soda just 2 or 3 times per week. And when you do indulge, slow down and savor it. Make it a treat to enjoy rather than mindlessly guzzling.
Stay Strong with Support
Having support and accountability from friends or family can strengthen your resolve when soda cravings kick in. See if any loved ones want to team up with you to cut back or quit soda together. Share your struggles, success stories, and motivate each other along the way.
You can also tap into online communities of people trying to reduce sugar and processed foods. Connecting with like-minded people provides camaraderie as you overhaul your eating habits. Knowing you're not alone makes it much easier to say farewell to soda for good.
Fill the Void with Healthy Habits
After dramatically cutting back on soda, it's normal to experience cravings for a while. That's where it helps to fill the void with other enjoyable habits and activities instead of dwelling on what you're missing.
Rather than meeting friends for happy hour drinks, suggest a walk around town or hiking trail. Take up a new hobby like learning an instrument, painting, or joining a recreational sports league. Or get busy in the kitchen cooking up healthy meals and treats. Staying active and keeping your mind and body occupied helps take your focus off soda.
Give Yourself a Pep Talk
Don't underestimate the power of self-talk. When you're tempted to indulge in soda, remind yourself why you're cutting back - to gain energy, boost your health, and feel better.
Recognize how far you've already come in breaking the habit. If you slip up, avoid feeling guilty. Instead, acknowledge it kindly and get right back on track. Be your own cheerleader through both successes and setbacks.
The Final Healthy Swap: Try BrainPOP
As you reach for fewer sugary sodas, you may find yourself missing that satisfying fizz, flavor, and energy boost. Luckily, there are healthier soda options emerging that ditch the artificial junk without losing the bubbles and taste.
One stellar better-for-you soda? BrainPOP. Our naturally-flavored sodas feature organic juice, adaptogens, amino acids, and just 6-10 grams of sugar.. This allows you to indulge your cravings and support brain health without the blood sugar spikes or artificial sweeteners.
Flavors like Coconut Delight, Mojito Madness, Dragonberry Warrior, and Mango Colada offer juicy fruit flavors and a clean, caffeine-free energy lift from natural botanicals.
For the final step in your journey away from syrupy, sugary sodas, be sure to give BrainPOP a try. Our smart sodas let you feel refreshed and focused without the unwanted effects you get from mainstream soda brands.