Published: April 30, 2015

    Quitting the Soda Habit

    Sugary, caffeinated, and carbonated, sodas are a constant struggle for anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Sodas are a ubiquitous sight, to the point where you’re almost always within walking distance to satisfying that need for a sugar fix. Soft drinks are America’s number one drug of choice, with many opening a fresh can several times a day.

    Health and Soda

    Unwanted weight gain is by far the biggest health risk of soda consumption. A twelve ounce can of soda contains anywhere from 120 to 140 calories, with a twenty-ounce bottle offering 240 calories. These are “empty” calories—you’re consuming sugar without any minerals, vitamins, or carbohydrates.

    Even limited soda use increases the risk of tooth decay and diabetes. Some evidence links soda consumption to bone thinning, although it’s unclear exactly whether this is due to something inherent to soda, or simply because people substitute sodas for calcium-rich drinks like milk.

    Switching to artificially sweetened sodas doesn’t help much. In addition to all the health risk of regular sodas, diet sodas have been linked to depression and heart disease in women.

    Quitting the Habit

    Reducing—and eventually eliminating—sodas from your diet has a positive effect on health. If you’re drinking two or more sodas a day, however, it’s best not to quit cold-turkey. You may have a soda-dependency, probably due to caffeine consumption.

    Cut back to a single soda a day for two weeks, then down to three cans a week, and so on, to give your body time to adjust. You can also try drinking a half-and-half mix of soda and filtered water, reducing the amount of sugar and caffeine you ingest.

    Some people find it helps to track their calories, so they understand exactly how much each soda affects their calorie consumption. Three cans of Coke a day, for instance, comes out to an extra 420 calories a day or a whopping 2,940 calories a week—approximately 800 calories more than a six-foot tall, twenty-five year old man who engages in heavy exercise requires every day. Calorie counting apps make tracking soda consumption easy, presuming you use the app consistently.

    Water Tricks

    As you cut back on soda, you’ll need to substitute different drinks. Filtered water is your healthiest choice, but can seem bland to someone used to the sugar, caffeine, and bubbles of carbonated drinks.

    Using filtered water gives you the tastiest possible drink, whether you’re enjoying iced water or making unsweetened tea. A Pelican under-counter or countertop filter will provide fresher, better-tasting filter water from the kitchen tap. On average, a can of soda costs $.50 a day, by purchasing a drinking filter and replacing your soda intake with filtered water, you could pay for a drinking filter in just 200 days. Teas are an excellent substitute for caffeine, and can be sweetened or flavored with honey, lemon, mint, or—while you’re weaning off soda—just a little sugar (cut down the amount a little at a time and you’ll quickly lose the need to sweeten tea).

    Spice up your filtered water with lemon or orange wedges, cucumber, mint, or fresh fruit wedges. Pelican’s H2Go Infuser bottle allows you to infuse your water with slices of your favorite fruit—a refreshing, tasty alternative when the soda craving hits.

    Once you’ve weaned yourself off soda, learn to avoid your personal “soda triggers.” Stress, eating out, or needing a quick drink at work can all lend themselves to giving in to the convenience of a quick soda. Keep drink alternatives handy to prevent yourself from backsliding.