What if I told you that I lost 5 lbs in the month following full cessation of diet coke? That’s right….and I didn’t change anything about my diet or exercise routine! Want to know how to quit too? We’ll figure it out together….
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To be quite honest I’ve been trying to quit soda and specifically diet soda for YEARS. I’ve had many stops and re-starts over the last few years. At my peak, I was drinking a diet soda everyday (sometimes twice a day). I had a stressful job with a crack of dawn wake up which is how I justified my intake. When I quit my day job I told myself I didn’t need soda anymore to get through the day….regrettably, I still continued to drink it.
Then, last year ANOTHER study was released linking diet soda to dementia and increased risk of stroke. Over the last few years I’ve seen studies showing that diet soda (specifically aspartame) can actually lead to the unhealthiest kind of fat around the waistline.
As if this wasn’t troubling enough, a very recent study found a sharp increase in colon-rectal cancers for individuals born in 1990 or later. There was a DOUBLING of the incidence of cancer among these very young people. While the study wasn’t linked to soda per-se, my personal opinion is that those of us born around this time frame are exposed to more processed foods, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors than previous generations which could be causing this type of cancer. Again, just my opinion.
Facing a mounting pile of negative data regarding diet soda I could no longer ignore, I finally kicked my habit. It wasn’t easy and as a person that has tried to quit many times and failed I can tell you that only one thing worked for me! Creating a workable plan for weening off soda and finding a really good substitute for soda.
I’ve done the hard work for you and I’m here to give some really fantastic alternatives to soda that won’t have you hating every day of your life! There’s even an option for getting your caffeine fix (if you don’t drink tea or coffee). Finding a source of caffeine to get me through those long days was absolutely essential to my quitting success.
One final thought on quitting soda….it’s best not to go cold turkey. I’ve tried that and failed multiple times. It’s best to really take your time and slowly ween off. Below is the plan of action that worked for me and it might work for you too. If you think you can step down in four weeks then great! If you think you need extra time then add it! Keep yourself honest and write down your plan. Also, keep track of your intake on a monthly calendar to track your progress.
- Week 1-2: Soda intake limited to one soda every other day. Max intake 4 Sodas a week
- Week 3-4: Soda intake limited to 3 per week
- Week 5-6: Soda intake limited to 2 per week
- Week 6-8: Soda intake once a week
If you’re a full sugar soda drinker you WILL lose weight. I lost about 5 lbs after quitting diet soda alone. YES…DIET SODA. So here are the secrets to kicking that soda habit and maybe losing some pounds too! You can click on any of the photos/links to learn more about that specific product or actually make a purchase.
1. Replace Diet Coke with Natural Sodas
Depending on the area you live in, you may be able to find natural sodas from companies like Hansens. If time is in short supply this may be a good alternative. Having tested many natural sodas at this point, my personal favorite brand is Hansen’s. It’s also the least expensive relative to other natural sodas out there.
My favorite flavor is black cherry but there is a variety of flavors available like creamy root beer, tangerine lime or kiwi strawberry. I have to order on Amazon because our nearest supplier is about 45 mins away. Here’s a link where you can find more information or purchase your favorite flavor:
Hansen’s Naturally Flavored/Sweetened Diet Sodas
Invest in a Soda Stream
Besides caffeine, the thing I missed the most about soda was the bubbly carbonation in my beverages. The Soda Stream takes any water and adds carbination to turn it into a bubbly beverage. It was a small up front investment but when I did the math on what I was spending to drink a soda everyday it was huge COST SAVINGS! Not to mention you’ll be participating in a greener way of living (by keeping soda packaging waste out of the landfill and oceans). If you take into account the health benefits it was worth it to have something I would enjoy drinking in place of soda without all the artificial colors, flavorings and sweeteners.
When I stumbled upon the Soda Stream I was pretty excited to see some of the all natural options that were available with this system like the Soda Stream Fruit Drops variety pack.
I personally have the My Water Variety Pack on regular subscription with Amazon because it has more of the flavors I enjoy. You can also buy each flavor individually.
There are a ton of options for the Soda Stream if you need a little variety. Just do a search for “Soda Stream Flavors” on Amazon or Google and you’ll see what I mean!
2. Replace Diet Coke with Flavored Sparkling Mineral Water
Thankfully there are a ton of natural, flavored sparkling water beverages available. They taste great and don’t have any of the chemicals and preservatives we’ve seen in the past. My personal favorite is Spindrift Sparkling Mineral Water. It comes in a variety of natural flavors using real fruit juice. It’s better tasting than Bubbly in my opinion. If you don’t like super sweet beverages this may be a great option for you.
3. Replace Diet Coke with the BEST Tasting Water Additives
I’ve tasted many water additives on this journey. Let me tell you, all water additives are NOT created equal. You have to read the labels closely for ingredients because many of the supermarket variety water additives are JUST AS BAD AS SODA. They’re loaded with preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colors and flavoring.
From a flavor standpoint I can’t recommend anything that comes in a powder form. Something seems to be lost when you dehydrate fruit and grind it into powder form. The powdered drink mixes are just too chalky and tart in my opinion. If the goal is to successfully kick a soda habit I just don’t think powdered drink mixes are going to be a successful replacement. That’s why I can only recommend the liquid form of a product called Stur.
My favorite water additive BY FAR is Stur. This product is all natural, zero calories, zero sugar, GMO free, gluten free, high in antioxidants, no artificial ANYTHING. It’s a product you can feel good about drinking or even letting your kids drink.
Stur was founded by a father who was tired of trying to get his kids to drink water. He developed an all natural water additive that would get his kids to drink more water. I absolutely love this product and I drink it everyday.
Living out in the country, I have a really hard time finding this product in the grocery store so I order this directly through Amazon (as of this writing, prime subscribers get an additional 15% discount). Amazon has the biggest selection of Stur flavors I’ve been able to find. As an added bonus some flavors are available with CAFFEINE from organic coffee beans! Here are some links to options I personally recommend. The multi-packs present the best value.
Stur Mixed Berry Natural Energy Water Additive with Organic Coffee Caffeine
Stur Hunger Control with Fiber in Black Cherry & Citrus
Stur Fruit Flavor Variety Pack
4. Replace Soda with a Fruit Infusion Water Bottle & Stevia
If you have access to good produce a great option for you may be to buy a fruit infusion water bottle and make your own fruity cocktails. I’ve been using this method all summer. I can chop up a fruit medley and put it in my infuser along with some Truvia (which is Stevia all natural sweetener). This is my favorite fruit infuser which is really reasonably priced for the quality:
32 Ounce Sport Fruit Infuser Water Bottle- BPA Free
If you haven’t tried Truvia….you have no idea what you’re missing! It is the CLOSEST thing to sugar taste without the sugar guilt. It’s made from the stevia plant which means it’s a plant based all natural sweetener. I take Truvia with me everywhere because most restaurants don’t carry it yet. I mix it in my iced tea, lemon water and especially my fruit water infusions. I also use it to replace sugar in my baking. I use it so much that I buy restaurant sized boxes off of Amazon. You can find trial size versions here:
Truvia All Natural Sweetener
5. Replace Diet Coke with Coffee & Tea
There are a few more traditional soda replacements you can also try such as tea and lemon water. I replaced my morning soda caffeine fix with caffeinated vanilla tea. Tea has tremendous amount of health benefits. Just to name a few:
- Reduces risk of heart attack or stroke
- Contains antioxidants which help protect the body from pollutants
- It may help with weight loss and prevent bone loss
If you can drink tea (especially Green Tea) with Truvia instead of soda then you don’t have to worry about additional sugar intake.
6. Replace Diet Coke with Lemon Water
Another traditional alternative is mixing water with fresh squeezed lemon (or grapefruit). I also do this but I add a few Truvia packets so it tastes more like lemonade. If you don’t have fresh lemons available then consider using bottled lemon juice. You really have to follow labeling closely on commercially packaged lemon juice. They often contain preservatives equal to those found in soda. As a result these lemon juices taste more like preservatives then lemon juice. I found a fantastic organic lemon juice that I highly recommend:
Italian Volcano Organic Lemon Juice
They say that variety is the spice of life….and it’s really true when you are trying to quit using a long time companion like soda. I literally use all of the products I’ve talked about here to kick the habit and have a healthy beverage that I can enjoy just as much as I used to enjoy soda.
I hope that this post has encouraged or inspired you to start your journey! I wish that I had done this years ago! I’m delighted that we now have healthier alternatives at our disposal to make quitting SO much easier. If you have quit or are in the process of quitting let me know what you have done or are doing to quit! It could help others!
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