How to Kick Your Soda Habit for Good

soda

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Whether you know it as soda, pop, or soda pop, you probably already know that the sugary, carbonated substance is not exactly great for you. From the moment that first gulp of deliciousness hits your lips, it causes problems. The sugar and acid dissolves tooth enamel, the high fructose corn syrup elevates your risk of diabetes and heart disease, and the high levels of phosphoric acid in sodas has been linked to kidney stones, something every man should be wary of.

While the health implications of drinking soda may be enough to scare you into quitting, the act of breaking a habit is never easy. Maybe you use soda to give you that boost of energy needed to get through your day. Or maybe it’s become a staple in your daily lunch. No matter how many sodas you consume a day or how reliant you are on that sugary burst of energy, with some tricks and tips from the pros you’ll be able to replace that not-so-healthy habit and start a new chapter free of soda.

Wean yourself off slowly

diet coke

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Don’t attempt to go cold turkey on this habit. When you’re in the habit of having an afternoon soda, your body is used to getting a regular sugar and caffeine fix at that time. Dr. Oz’s soda quitting plan has participants go from regular to diet soda the first week to wean them off of the routine sugar craving. He recommends eating lots of protein during that time to curb sugar cravings. Next, make the transition from diet soda to caffeine-free diet soda to rid your body of the caffeine fix. If you experience headaches, turn to food rich in vitamin B or using ibuprofen when needed. Only after you’ve survived these transitions do you start cutting your actual soda intake.

Create a new habit

iced coffee

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Habits are largely unconscious and difficult to break. When you’re in a habit of enjoying a soda at certain times of the day, your body and brain will be used to getting that routine fix. To break the habit, you may need to replace your daily soda intake with another substance. Many soda quitters find that replacing soda with tea or coffee does the trick. By physically walking to the nearby café rather than the vending machine and choosing an iced tea over an icy soda, you’ll be creating a new habit.

Hold out for the good stuff

If you completely cut yourself off from soda, you may be more likely to go on a soda binge after a particularly challenging day. Instead, give yourself permission to indulge every once in a while. Maybe only enjoy soda in the form of your local brewery’s homemade concoctions or only when you have a nice dinner out. By transforming soda from something you drink daily to something you drink only at special occasions, you’ll make great strides in your efforts to cut the habit.

Think of your weight

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If the health benefits of quitting soda won’t shock you into action, the added calories may. Each 12-ounce can of Coke contains 140 empty calories. It may not seem like much but even if you only drink one soda a day that’s 980 extra calories a week, which quickly adds up and leads to weight gain. Start noticing the number of soda’s you consume and if it helps, download a free calorie-tracking app like Lose It. Keep an eye out for refills and the giant portions you may be served at the movie theatre and some restaurants.

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