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How to Quit Soda Pop

Three Parts:Cementing your determination to quitFinding substitutesKeeping on top of reducing your soda intake

If you're someone who's drinking eight or more cups of soda pop a day, instead of eight cups of water, then it may be time for a change. Sweetened drinks are one of the substances linked directly to weight gain, comprising a good portion of daily calorie intake. A possible explanation is that you're consuming calories without feeling full.[1] Since the weight loss benefits of diet soda have come into question[2] more and more people are considering giving up their precious pop completely. Read on if you would like to take a step into becoming a healthier person by banning soda from your life.

Part 1
Cementing your determination to quit

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    Determine why you are quitting soda. There can be several reasons, and any one of them can make living a soda-free life an attractive option:

Part 2
Finding substitutes

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    Stock up on substitutes. Water is the healthiest and cheapest replacement for soda, but quitting soda cold turkey and making the big switch to water might mean setting yourself up for failure. The best way to quit any kind of addiction is to ease your way out of it, but check your numbers. Some fruit juices have more calories and cost more than soda which may defeat the goals you just set up. Here are some suggested soda substitutes:
    • flavored water
    • juice
    • seltzer/ sparkling water
    • juice spritzers (carbonated juices)
    • sports drinks
    • iced tea (e.g. iced green tea) or tea
    • Minty water w/ lemon
    • milk alternatives (soy, almond, hazelnut, hemp, oat, rice, etc.)
    • water with stevia (a no-calorie sweetener).

Part 3
Keeping on top of reducing your soda intake

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    Track your soda consumption. Estimate, as accurately as you can, how much soda you're drinking per week. (This is very important for the next step.) Do you drink soda with lunch at work? In between classes? While you're unwinding in front of the TV? Calculate how many calories you're racking up from soda alone; to get an idea of how fizz might be affecting your weight, calculate how many calories you're supposed to be getting per day and see how much of that you're getting from soda. For many people, this is a powerful observation that might give you the motivation you need to change this habit.
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    Develop a quitting schedule. Whatever the amount of soda you drink per week, cut that amount by 25% for one week, then by 50% the next, and so on.
    • Gradually increase your consumption of the substitutes you chose.
    • Be sure that you're still consuming the same amount of liquid (if not more) or else you may become dehydrated, which will make quitting even more difficult.

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    Buy less and less soda every week. If you drink most of your soda at home, this will be easier to do. If the soda isn't purchased, then you won't feel the urge to drink it when you're at home.
    • If you drink a lot of soda from vending machines, don't carry a lot of extra change with you. If you carry a lot of extra change around, it may be time to start paying for other items with that change so you won't have the urge to stick that money in the machine for the soda.
    • If somebody who you live with loves to drink soda, then ask them to hide it so you won't have to drink any. This may seem a little strange, but it will eventually pay off.
    • Start buying 8oz soda cans instead of the other 12oz cans. You can easily do this to reduce your soda intake by 33%. Also, avoid buying those big 2–3 liter (0.5–0.8 US gal) bottles. They are only open invitations to drink more soda than you should.
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    Prepare for caffeine withdrawal. Do not underestimate the addictive power of caffeine. If most of the soda you drink has caffeine, you may experience headaches and other withdrawal symptoms for about a week, especially if you cut your soda consumption dramatically. Likewise, if you depend on both the caffeine and sugar fix that soda pop brings to get you through the day, you'll probably feel more tired while your body adjusts to not having carbonated "pick-me-ups".[4]
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    Take a gradual approach if need be. If the symptoms are too dramatic, tweak your schedule so that you're weaning yourself off more gradually.
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    Remind yourself what your goal is constantly so you will remember more easily. Write yourself a note that says something along the lines of "Drink water," and stick this note in a place where you are likely to see it. Avoid negative phrases like "Don't drink soda." You only have to tell a three year old not to do something to figure out why that is. This is because a phrase that tells you not to do something has that something right in the sentence. Your brain can't help but imagine doing the very thing you are trying to refrain from!
    • One very effective way to remember that a 20-ounce bottle of soda is the equivalent of 17 teaspoons of straight sugar[5] is to fill empty bottles with that amount of sugar and keep them in places that you normally drink soda (the fridge, at your desk, etc.).
    • If you normally drink from the can, find out how much sugar is in each can, put it in a zip lock bag, and drape it over the top of an empty can. The sight of all that sugar can be a sobering reminder of what you're really trying to avoid.

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    Calculate how much sugar is in a particular bottle or can: to do so look on the nutrition label for how many grams of sugar there are per serving. If you have a scale, weigh out that amount of sugar; you can also remember that there are about 4 grams of sugar per level teaspoon. Repeat for every serving that there is in the container (check the label) and you'll see how much sugar you're consuming with each bottle or can.[6]


  • Drink water more often. If you used to drink soda for supper, then replace your soda can with a glass of water. This way, you will be starting a healthier habit.
  • Don't drink any energy drinks, because they are just as addictive and unhealthy as soda.
  • Buy a refillable water bottle. When you have something you can grab and go, even if its to the other room, it helps a great deal!
  • If you get the urge to drink a soda, do something constructive then when you are busy the time will fly until you get thirsty enough to appreciate some tea or water.
  • Don't go cold turkey. This could lead to sugar withdrawal. Start by slowly decreasing your intake until you are down to nothing.
  • If you want something sweet or a snack, try fruit for a healthy option, or a cookie or two. Fruit contains important nutrients, and even cookies do not carry as great of a health risk as soda.
  • Remember, drinking soda pop once in a long while is okay. Everything in moderation.
  • Another good substitute is a refillable water bottle with an herbal or fruit-flavored tea bag. No boiling necessary. Just put in the tea bag, fill it with water, and by the time you get to work, you'll have a flavorful, no-calorie, no sugar, no artificial ingredients drink.
  • Try seltzer water as a substitute. It has the same can and fizz to mimic your soda habit with less cost and no unhealthy ingredients.
  • Decaffeinated coffee can be a good substitute. Research shows coffee can help improve cardiovascular health if consumed in moderation.
  • Also try xylitol. Despite its chemical-sounding name, it's a natural sweetener, made from plant fibre.
  • Put a watercooler in your home.


  • Though fruit juice is healthier than soda, one should still try to avoid drinking too much of it, as it does contain slightly more sugar than regular soda. The sugar contained in orange juice is a healthier sugar than that in soda, but still should be taken in moderation (no more than one glass per day), and a piece of fruit (rather than juice) is healthier.
  • If you would like to drink sports drinks, be careful! Sports drinks have electrolytes your body needs after exercising, but if you drink them when you haven't been working out, excessive electrolytes aren't good for you.
  • Anything that you drink or eat between meals feeds the bacteria in your mouth. After the bacteria digest the food substance, they excrete acid on the teeth. This acid causes tooth decay! Therefore, limit all food and drink (other than water) between meals.

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