If you drink a lot of full-sugar soda, quitting that practice is one of the simplest ways to improve the quality of your diet. It’s a fantastic beginning step toward a Paleo or keto way of eating, especially if you want to make a positive change but aren’t sure which approach is best for you. Soda, whether strict vegans, calorie counters, or all-meat carnivores agree that it’s sugar water with no nutritional value.
Soda addiction, often known as sugar addiction, is becoming increasingly prevalent in many nations. According to an American Heart Association research, the average American eats around 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day, with a large percentage of it coming from sugary beverages like soda. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease can all be caused by excessive sugar consumption. Consuming significant amounts of sugary drinks has also been found in studies to cause addiction-like behaviors similar to those seen in drug addiction. In reality, research has discovered that ingesting sugary drinks can activate the pleasure and reward regions in the brain, which can lead to cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the individual attempts to quit.
The environment has a significant influence on what you eat and drink, far more than you might imagine. In the long run, selecting your environment is at least half of the battle of deciding what to eat. Most people can resist environmental signals for one or two dinners, weeks, or even a month, but it takes a great deal of mental effort to maintain that routine. The majority of individuals eventually begin subconsciously following the “instructions” from their surroundings.
Furthermore, according to a research published in the journal “Obesity,” around 35% of individuals in the United States consume at least one sugar-sweetened beverage every day. This is a troubling trend that emphasizes the importance of educating and raising awareness about the hazards of soda addiction. (Falbe et al.)
Maybe you’re one of those folks who doesn’t like the taste (or lack thereof) of water. The goal is to make the change stick by employing the most likely method to succeed. For most people, that’s the least uncomfortable, disruptive, and unpleasant approach. If you don’t enjoy drinking water, don’t try forcing yourself to drink it straight out of the tap. That’s a wonderful way to spend one miserable week drinking water before rushing back to Mountain Dew when you’re too tired or irritated to fight it any longer.
Keep a variety of drinks that you enjoy and that don’t trigger the same dopamine response on hand to make sure you don’t become dependent on soda once more.
For beverages with a twist, consider:
- Simply add some fruit like orange/lime/lemon, a few ice cubes, and water to a pitcher of water and let it infuse the water. I personally like cucumber slices and/or fresh mint sprigs.
- High protein fruit drinks like those found here are a fantastic way to get some lean protein while staying hydrated.
- Sparkling water, with or without a flavor – or just add a dash of your favorite juice for a bit of zing.
- Flavored teas, like this gluten-free peach tea with 15g of protein and zero sugar is a great drink to enjoy either hot or cold.
Did you know that Coca-Cola has 9.75 teaspoons of sugar in each 12-ounce can (100 calories)? A 20 bottle that you find in a vending machine contains about 16 teaspoons of sugar (240 calories), while a 2-liter container has around 54 teaspoons (790 calories). Calculate how many tablespoons of sugar you consume on a daily or weekly basis simply from soda based on that number.
If you’re really looking for visual motivation to kick the high-sugar diet, get yourself a large container and fill it with the equivalent number of sugar every day to see how much sugar you’re not putting into your body. In a few weeks, that mountain of sugar is going to look horrendous – but amazing since it’s in the container rather than inside you! It’s one of the easiest ways to lose weight if you’re struggling to keep your figure.
If it’s caffeine that you’re craving in order to stay alert, rather than the soda itself, try:
- Going to bed earlier
- Getting more exercise
- Taking a day off to catch up on rest or to get chores done
- Coming up with a meal-prep system to reduce your time spent in the kitchen
- Asking your significant other (and kids) to help out a bit with household chores
- Seeing a physician to see if there’s an underlying condition that contributes to your sense of fatigue
Here’s to us all living healthy, treating our bodies right, and loving the process of being our best self this week and beyond.