You might have a similar story to many young adults and kids these days. Soda is their main source of hydration, their fuel, and their addiction. Kids are powered by Mountain Dew and Pepsi, paired with fast food and processed snacks. Even office workers pop the lid on a can of Diet Pepsi at their desk for a jolt of caffeine and sugar. Now, you want to kick that habit, because you realized something. While many soda brands have removed the high fructose corn syrup from their beverages, soda is still a purely diabolical metabolism and health destroyer.
Drinking soda is a highway to becoming a Pre-Diabetic and gets you a load of other health problems along the way.
Here’s everything you need to know about cutting soda out of your diet forever.
Why Is Soda Bad For Me?
You’re here, so you know soda isn’t good for you. That said, knowing the reasons why soda is a silent killer is motivational. Once you know the extent of the damage, you won’t look back once you’ve kicked your soda-drinking habit.
Soda is devoid of nutrients.
Calories matter, whether you want to believe it or not—and that’s all soda is. Empty calories. The calories that come soda is purely from sugar. There’s no vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants. At about 140 calories per can, that’s a lot of calories that give you nothing.
Soda ruins your blood sugar.
How much sugar is in 1 serving of soda, you ask? Okay, take a heaping teaspoon of sugar and dump it into a 12-ounce glass. Now, do this another 10 times. That’s how much liquidated sugar is in some sodas. The sugar is also what you’re addicted to, and you know what happens when you flood your body with sugar. You develop insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes and other health complications.
Soda is full of gross chemicals.
Although you don’t have to worry about Coca Cola being flavored with cocaine any more, hazardous chemicals continue to be used in soft drinks. For example, the caramel color of some drinks is actually 4-methylimidazole, a cancerous substance created by warming ammonia and sulfites at the same time. Sodas also contain GMO ingredients, have phosphoric acid that erodes the enamel on your teeth and weakens your bones, and contain preservatives like potassium benzoate and sodium benzoate which have been found to create benzene, a known carcinogen.
Obviously, once you quit soda, you benefit from removing the toxicity from your diet. This means that you will no longer be messing with your blood glucose, will be consuming less calories, and even helping out your teeth, bones, and gut by cutting out the acids and other chemicals.
Steps To Break Your Soda Addiction
When you decide to break a soda addiction, you go through the same process as someone addicted to caffeine or to drugs. This means you need to first understand two things: you have a psychological dependence and a physiological dependence to the sugar and caffeine in soda.
You are breaking two addictions at once. More importantly, you’re going to have to rewrite some behaviors.
Step 1. Consider Your Soda-Drinking Habits and Interrupt Them
Think about why you drink soda. Really think about it. Is it the flavor? The fizz? Or is there another reason? If you find yourself reaching for the soda after a long day at work or when you are bored or stressed, that is where you begin to interrupt the habit.
For instance, if you know that you crave soda when you get home, then you do something else to interrupt the habit. Don’t go straight to the refrigerator. Walk the dog. Check the mail. Start forming another habit to distract you from soda.
Step 2. Remove Soda From Your Life
Next, once you figure out a way to interrupt the habit, you need to make the decisive blow. There’s no weening yourself off soda, because you’re going to have a much harder time than if you swear it off into oblivion. Remove soda from your life entirely, as if soda was the worst blind date you ever experienced and you never want to see or hear from it again. Don’t finish what you have left. Don’t cave and have a sip. Pour every can of soda in your possession down the sink and avoid the soda aisle at the supermarket like it’s the gateway to the Underworld, okay?
Step 3. Find Alternatives
With soda gone, you need to replace it with something else entirely. That’s the only way you will be able to forge a new habit. Once you find a beverage that is equally delicious, you won’t miss the soda—at least down the road.
Here are some alternatives that you can make a home or buy at the store:
• Organic kombucha
• Sparkling or soda water flavored with lime juice
• Filtered water infused with cucumbers and frozen/fresh strawberries
• Filtered water infused with ginger and lemon
• Sparkling water flavored with blueberries and mint
• 100% raw coconut water
• Organic, unsweetened black and green tea
• Peppermint tea
• Unsweetened coconut, cashew, or almond milk-alternatives
• Coffee, iced or hot, and flavored with cinnamon (not sugar)
Step 4. Work Through The Withdrawal
The withdrawal phase is when you’re going to be happy you have the fizzy alternatives and no remaining cans of soda hiding out in your basement, because you’re going to have some powerful urges. You are fighting the habit, the addiction, the dependence. Even when the soda is no longer visual, you will crave it—mentally and physically. Fight the withdrawal by scheduling some time to yourself. Go on vacation. Do some self-care by visiting the acupuncturist or massage therapist. Workout frequently. Meet with friends. Do whatever you need to do, but be kind to yourself.
Withdrawal depends on the person, but it typically runs about two weeks.
Step 5. Prepare For Extinction Bursts
You’ve hit the two week mark and now it’s smooth sailing, right? Wrong. You might experience extinction bursts, a phenomenon that occurs when your brain makes one last effort to get you to return to old habits.
These bursts happen randomly over a course of weeks or months. Stay strong. They get weaker as time moves on.
With that, you will have gained a beautiful freedom from a powerful soda addiction. Habits take about 21 days to break, but those days won’t break you. Instead, you will come out of this stronger and healthier.
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