Written by Celestine Chua
Do you drink soda drinks? How often do you drink it?
When I was young, I was an avid drinker of Coca-Cola and other soft drinks. Actually, I was pretty much a coke addict. I could never get past a day without drinking Coca-Cola. It was normal for me to have days when I would finish almost a whole 1.5 liter coke bottle.
As I grew up, I became more conscious of the need to be healthy. I started to relook into my diet, including my staple drink of Coke and soda. Over time, I realized Coke is actually quite detrimental to our health – so much so that I wonder why it even became such an ubiquitous drink! In my pursuit for a healthier life, I made the decision to quit drinking Coke at 18. I started to slowly forgo Coca-Cola and soda drinks. When I reached my early 20s, they were almost completely out of my diet. In the rare occasions where I do drink it, I would find the taste excessively sweet, acidic and unpalatable. When I look back, it was hard for me to even fathom myself putting so much of this chemical junk into my body when I was younger.
Here is a list of 5 top reasons why you should just quit drinking Coca-Cola and soda drinks.
1. Counteractive to Weight Loss Efforts.
One 330ml can of Coke contains around 160 calories. Assuming you drink one can of Coke everyday: that’s 4800 extra calories every month or 1.4lbs. In a year, that adds up to 57,600 extra calories or 16.8lbs! Granted, you will not be gaining an absolute 16.8lbs since our body metabolism adapts accordingly from consuming more/less calories, but you will still be gaining an extra layer of weight just by drinking Coke/soda drinks over other healthier, lower calories options.
Contrary to popular belief, Diet Coke/soda is counteractive to weight loss efforts as well. I used to think Diet Coke should be a diet staple when I was trying to lose weight, which I later I found out wasn’t the case at all. Diet soda has been found to increase possibility of weight gain by 41%. While there are many theories explaining this counter-intuitive finding, I thought to test this out for myself. I tried the following two scenarios in separate stretches of time: one drinking diet coke and another drinking just water.
The result? I found a much higher tendency to go into binging attacks when I drink diet coke. The most plausible explanation I found is artificial sugar in diet sodas confuses your body when it tastes something sweet that isn’t sugar. As a result, it makes your body crave for actual, sweet food. So while you may be taking in 0 calories from drinking diet soda, there is a higher likelihood you will grab consume more food after drinking the soda, which then leads to weight gain.
2. Stains and corrodes your teeth.
Coca-Cola and sodas with colorings stain yourteeth, as many are already aware. In addition, they have been shown to destroy 10 times more teeth material than fruit juices in just the first three minutes of drinking in a test. Slices of enamel were placed in Coke and other carbonated drinks for 48 hours, where there was a 5% weight loss of the enamel in the end. The high acidity content (pH 2.0~4.0) causes corrosion of your enamel. Granted, lab conditions do not mirror reality, but the corrosive effect of Coke on your teeth is something that accumulates over time.
3. Limited hydration.
Coke and soft drinks contain caffeine, which is a diuretic. A diuretic is a drug that speeds up the rate of urine production – meaning it removes water from your body. While you can get your thirst quenched when drinking Coke, you do not get as hydrated as compared to if you just drink pure water.
4. Artificial stimulant which alters your mind.
Caffeine is also a psychoactive stimulant drug. It affects the central nervous system and alters brain function, resulting in temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness and behavior. By increasing the levels of adrenaline (a stress hormone) in your body, you end off setting off feelings of anxiety and tension in your body. Instead of being able to operate as a fully conscious being, you end up having less control of your thoughts, emotions and behavior.
I noticed that whenever I do drink Coca-Cola or soda, my mental thinking is not as clear. It feels as though my thoughts become more rapid, jumbled and haphazard. Even though I’m supposedly more alert, I’m not fully in control of the higher faculties of my mind. It feels more like my mind is operating by itself and my conscious self is only allowed to observe in the background to give limited inputs. If this was in the past where I was drinking Coke everyday, I would never have been able to make this observation. However, drinking Coke after being Coke/soda-free for many months made the contrast very stark to me.
5. Causes insomnia and sleeping disorders.
The caffeine prevents drowsiness by (i) blocking the effects of hormones serotonin and melatonin and (ii) blocking adenosine receptors (sleep-inducers) from being binded. Apart from causing insomnia, it also prevents you from getting the full benefits of sleep, as the excerpt below from How Stuff Works shows:
The most important long-term problem (of caffeine) is the effect (it) has on sleep. Adenosine reception (sleep inducers) is important to sleep, and especially to deep sleep. The half-life of caffeine in your body is about six hours. That means that if you consume a big cup of coffee with 200 mg of caffeine in it at 3:00 p.m., by 9:00 p.m. about 100 mg of that caffeine is still in your system. You may be able to fall asleep, but your body will probably miss out on the benefits of deep sleep.
The last time I drank (diet) coke, it kept me up all night until 6am, even though I tried turning in at 2am. My mind just went into overdrive mode and I could not sleep even though my body felt physically tired. If you drink coke/soda and you are finding it hard to manage your sleeping schedule, it might be the caffeine causing the problem. The problem is further aggravated if you are a naturally hyperactive person too (like me).
While you may appreciate caffeine for keeping you awake for a particular morning meeting or presentation, bear in mind that the boost is only temporaryand at the expense of the natural functions of your mind (see point 5 above). While you may feel more alert after a dose of caffeine, it is just a stimulated feeling. Whenever I consume caffeine, I feel like my mind has been pried awake beyond its desires. Even though the lights are on in my brain, I can only perform low level tasks which do not require much thinking. Higher functions of my mind seem to be beyond me. I pretty much feel like a zombie walking around with limited mental capacities and a body heavy as lead.
To make things worse, after the initial effects wear off, I am left with a state of fatigue worse than beforesince I was denying your body of the rest it deserved. To quote Jacob Teitelbaum, “Caffeine is an energy loan shark. What it lends you in the morning it takes back with heavy interest in the afternoon.”
How To Quit Drinking Coke / Sodas Successfully
So, how can you quit coke and soft drinks?
1. Identify a substitute drink (that’s healthier). For me, after I quit drinking soda, my natural inclinations for drinks are:
(1) Plain water – (nearly) free, healthy, gives a fountain of benefits. Doesn’t get any better than this. If you are to dine outside, plain/mineral water will always be a reliable option.
(2) Fruit and/or vegetable smoothies which I make myself using my blender.
I would recommend not to substitute it with coffee – the higher caffeine levels makes it an unhealthy drink as well (more than 2 times compared to Coke, on a per oz basis). I personally do not drink coffee because of that. I have also never been fond of the taste of coffee anyway – it has a bitter undertone which does not sit so well with my taste buds.
2. Get rid of the soda drinks in the fridge. Remove all traces of Coke and soda drinks inside your fridge. It may seem like a waste but it’s better than downing them into your body and ruining it.
3. ….And stop buying them home. After you eliminate the remaining traces of those drinks, don’t purchase them anymore! Tell your family (or housemates if you live with other people) about your goal and tell them to stop buying the drinks. Better yet, educate them on why they should quit drinking and get them to quit as well. If this is not possible, ask for their help to put the drinks out of your side.
4. Tell your friends of your goal. This way, you are accountable to them as well. Your friends can serve as gatekeepers of your decision.
5. Mentally block out the soda section in the menu when you dine outside. Since you are going to give up sodas, there is no need for you to look at the soda section. This prevents any second thoughts.
6. Ensure you have enough sleep. So you do not have to resort to drinking caffeinated sodas to keep you awake later in the day.
7. Keep a record of the days you go without drinking Coke or sodas. Mark it on your calendar if you have one. When you start seeing a whole succession of soda-free days, you will be tempted to keep the ball rolling.
8. Persevere. As you start cutting away Coke and sodas from your life, you may find withdrawal symptoms in the first week (depending on how heavy a drinker you were before). These symptoms may come in the form of restlessness, anxiety, cravings to drink again. Push through! They will start melting away after a few days in the face of your determination.
Try it and see how it works for you Chances are, as you start freeing yourself of Coca-Cola and soda drinks, you will find your body feels so much more refreshed and cleansed. You can feel yourself becoming healthier. Your thinking becomes clearer as well. 🙂
You can make a good substitute soda, especially after you’ve weaned yourself from the high sugar soft drinks, by mixing fruit juice and club soda. A diabetic friend calls it diabetic soft drinks.
I mix about 1/4 to 1/3 cran-raspberry juice with cold club soda, and it makes a refreshing, sparkling drink. You can vary the kind of juice and amounts, depending on how sweet you like it, but like you, I don’t care for super sweet drinks, and this is just right for me.
#1 is the most flawed argument ever. Remember, the average diet has around 2000 calories a day or 60,000 a month. Thats 17.5 lbs a month! If you’re going to take in 2000 calories and use 160 of them on a soda, whats the difference if you drink a soda with a salad or just eat a fatty steak???
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Thanks for this article – I’m a current Coke addict and just Stumbled across this page. You’ve really made me think about my habit, and just may have started the giving-up process!
Amazing! Yes, I too have to quit. It’s an absolute sham this so called diet soda. I might just be their biggest consumer till date. Anyway crossing my fingers & sealing me soda lips for a while. Lets see whether the weight drops off too. Thanks for writing this lovely article! 🙂 CHANEL
Everyone! READ THIS:
if you’re feeling addicted to soft drinks (where you try to quit but can’t), you may have sugar sensitivity or sugar addiction.
it doesn’t have to be a huge deal. by just starting to eat breakfast with protein you can overcome it, but becoming informed about how your brain (by not producing enough beta-endorphins and so therefore opening more receptors for sugar) sets you up at birth to become addicted to things like soft drinks. sugar sensitivity has been found, in research and at rehab centers, to be a potentially underlying factor in drug/alcohol addiction. i inherited my sugar sensitivity from having alcoholics in my family.
radiantrecovery.com is one site to look at just to get informed (there are many, just google). It’s about more than just soft drinks. Sodas are my sugar of choice, but when i quit i’m craving every other form of sugar. it affects my mood, energy level, etc. read the statements below. if you answered yes to three or more, start thinking about healing your body and fixing your brain chemistry…
I really like sweet foods
I eat a lot of sweets
I am very fond of bread, cereal, popcorn or pasta
I have a problem with alcohol or drugs
I am in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction
One or both of my parents are alcoholic
One or both of my parents are/were especially fond of sugar
I am overweight and don’t seem to be able to easily lose the extra pounds
I continue to be depressed no matter what I do
I often find myself overreacting to stress
I have a temper or short fuse
I’ve been drinking about 2 cokes a day for the last 3 years… trying to quit now and it’s been really hard, emotionallyI feel really anxious, agresive, mad at everybody… today was my 3rd. day without it and I can feel already a difference in my stomach wich was always blowed. But again I feel wick mostly in the midle of the day dealing with my two toddlers. I’m trying to substitute coke with smoothies, and they’re great but from times to times I picture myself drinking a coke. I know I can quit, I quit smoking 4 years ago after 10 years of habit… I just need more determination I guess.
I swear by diet cola, but that’s just me. It doesn’t affect me or cause any cravings. I had a regular coke today and I was just shocked at the amount of calories in it. 160 calories for a regular coke? How much sugar are they shoveling into these things? I could imagine ingesting some much more enjoyable things for that amount of calories.
Sure you could make room in your diet for it, no one says those calories have to be “extra” but who the hell wants to make room for a drink (unless it’s beer)? SCREW THAT!
I quit drinking pop towards the end of September. I was a pop adict, if I missed one day of drinking pop I would get these awful headaches. Then one day, I went to the dentist and found-out that I had goten four cavities. I decided that I would go cold turkey. It has now been almost a month. The first couple of weeks were horrible, I had awful headaches and I was usually in a bad mood. Now though, I usually have a lot of more energy I still get cravings but that aren’t usually as bad and are a lot more rare. Overall, i’m glad that I decided to quit! For anyone who is considering it, you should! Once you get past the first week, maybe two or three it’s not that bad and you’ll be glad that you did. It may seem really hard to quit for the rest of your life, so if you don’t think that you could quit for good, I would recomend doing what I did, once a month, have one pop and ONLY THEN! GOOD LUCK, I KNOW THAT YOU CAN DO IT IF YOU REALLY WANT TO!
I just recently quit drinking diet sodas and I feel a lot better already. I was drinking about a 2 liter a day of diet coke. I’m noticing my energy levels rising throughout the day and it’s only been a week. Most likely, I was dehydrating myself. I still drink a couple of cups of coffee in the morning, but water through out the rest of the day. As far as weight loss, I don’t know about that, but my appetite has been dropping.
You folks are pikers. My wife drinks over 2 2L jugs of diet coke A DAY.
Yes, that’s 4 liters. Over a gallon. As a minimum. It’s frequently more than that.
She’ll drain nearly 20 2L jugs each week.
But that much carbolic acid for so long has leached enough calcium from her bones that she broke a bone in her foot last weekend running her 5 miles.
So we’re looking for ways she can get her caffeine fix without it being pop.
She absolutely hates tea, “it’s horrid”. By comparison, she merely dislikes the aftertaste of coffee.
Because she’s a calorie-conscious workout nut, it’s gotta be low or no-cal.
I’ll take all suggestions. rwilymz @ att.net
I drink on average 10-15 330ml cans per day and am about to begin a quitting program – however that is going to go i don’t know.
The one thing not mentioned in this article is the fact that major caffeine addicts suffer very bad withdrawals for up to a couple of weeks (so i’ve read), so going cold turkey is really not advisable. I’m looking for a feasible way to quit.
I quit smoking 2 years ago and, believe me, that was easier!!
Is drinking club soda in replacement of the Cokes an acceptable way to kick the habit? I currently drink 7-8 cans of Coke a day. I have gained about 10 pounds a year and have to change my habits!
i drink 3 or 4 a day, but im quitting. not good for me
Have been off soda and or pop since the beginning of the year except for a sip of a kiddie cocktail. I forgot there was Sprite in there. Haha. I’m trying to keep myself away. Good luck to anyone else trying!!
Really good info – I had never heard about mixing fruit juice with club soda, that sounds like a good way to get a great tasting refreshment without the refined sugar and calories.