Kicking the soda habit

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chroot
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I'm now "recovering" from what I recently realized was an incredibly bad soft drink (soda) habit, and I thought I'd share my experiences.

I'm a 28 year old white male, 175 lbs. I exercise plenty (50-100 miles on a road bike every week, and lift weights three times a week), but have always had to be fairly conscious of my diet. In fact, compared to most people, I ate very little -- I had a small breakfast and often skipped lunch. I've always been a night owl, and have been known to sleep 'til noon when I'd had the opportunity.

I consumed probably 6-7 cans of soda daily. Now, I know that anyone with four neurons can tell me that that's nearly 1,000 kcals a day, but, for some reason, this fact just never really had an impact on me until.... I stopped.

I stopped drinking soda because I have actually grown to dislike it. Over the past year, I'd find myself craving a soda, but not really enjoying it. I'd often almost have to force myself to finish the can. I didn't like the bad taste it left in my mouth, or the digestive effects, or anything else.

A week later, without a drop of soda, I have a few experiences to share.

The truth is, the caffeine withdrawal was the easy part! I didn't have any headaches, but I experienced most of the other known symptoms, mostly sleepiness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating at work. Besides getting uncharacteristically pissed off a few times in traffic, and having a little trouble motivating myself at work, the caffeine withdrawal wasn't all that bad. In fact, I've discovered an amazing new ability to... sleep. I can go to bed before midnight, get a very good night's sleep, and wake up feeling rested before my alarm even goes off. I can barely remember the last time I went to bed before midnight.

The hard part, believe it or not, has been adjusting my diet to the sudden absence of 1,000 kcals per day. It takes a LOT of food to deliver 1,000 kcals. I could blame my addiction for blinding me to this obvious fact, but, truly, I had just never really thought about it.

The first few days were the worst. I continued to eat my normal diet -- minus the soda -- and do my normal exercises. I was promptly met with the symptoms of starvation -- cold hands, disorientation, a desire to eat in binges, constant, unrelenting hunger, etc. I quickly realized I needed to bring more calories into my diet.

I'm having to seek the advice of friends to figure out what to do! I'm adding things like peanut butter on whole-wheat bagels, protein shakes, and other forms of energy to my diet. I'm having to bring healthy snack foods with me to work; previously, the logistics of my caloric needs were as simple as having a ready supply of $1 bills. I'm literally have to rediscover how to shop and eat, something I never expected to happen simply by eliminating soda from my diet.

I feel great! I'm losing weight without even trying to. If anyone else is trying to kick the habit, just know that it's possible. It's easy, really. Just stick with it for a week, and you'll be surprised just how much your tastes and your behaviors will change. I really feel almost as if some kind of spell has been lifted from me.

- Warren
 
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I kicked the soda habit a few years ago and I feel great. It is a smart move. Once you stop drinking alot of soda, most foods will taste sweeter and better. I now drink natural flavored sparkling water like La Croix. To anyone used to sweets, it tastes bad. However if you cut soda out and many sweets, La Croix starts to taste really really good and it's just water.
 
chroot
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I've been just drinking water with lemon... I'm kind of afraid of getting addicted to yet another productized beverage!

- Warren
 
congrats on kicking the habit! Lemon water is my soda alternative too. I'd say just try to eat a healthy meal 3 times a day and you'll live forever.
 
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YES MAN! I can down a 2 liter in a day. I love that liquid gold! MMMM pepsi and coke.

Im now drinking budweiser. It does not have the sugar in it like soda. I usually have one every day ~16-24 oz in size.
 
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I try to only drink diet soda but I'm limited; Nutrasweet gives me, my brothers, and my parents all headaches if we have more than 8oz.
So now I will only drink occasionally Diet Rite, Pepsi One, and other sodas made with Splenda. I love Splenda, I just hope it doesn't cause cancer more rapidly that everything else.
Also Lemon Propel.
 
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I drink Pop only a few times a month. I really don't care for it much. I do know some real additcts, ones who carry emergency pop in there car, just in case. So good job on stopping.
 
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Soda habit is so much better than an energy drink habit though. I drink 2 16oz energy drinks every day. Then I also drink quite a bit of soda... About a year ago I was also drinking 2 energy drinks a day, on top of a lot of soda, and I decided to see if I could go a week without drinking anything but water. It was hard but I did it... The chain of only water ended when I accidentally ordered lemonade when I was eating somewhere. Im thinking of trying that again...
 
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congrats on kicking the habit! Lemon water is my soda alternative too. I'd say just try to eat a healthy meal 3 times a day and you'll live forever.
I stopped eating natural foods when I learned that most people die of natural causes.
 
Evo
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About the only soda I drink anymore (for at least the last 10 years) is Fresca, it's sugarless and caffeine free.

I like fruit juice, and tea.
 
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I don't even dare to have a can a day. I don't wanna have diabetes when I turn 30
 
turbo
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Good job, Warren. Years back when I was running a paper machine, the heat and fatigue would get to me, and I started drinking a few cans of Pepsi per shift. It was cold and it was a pick-me-up. I had to give it up pretty soon though - that sugar/caffeine roller-coaster started interfering with my ability to sleep, and when you're working rotating 12-hour shifts on a machine that can kill you in an instant, that last thing you want is to go to work sleep-deprived. I switched to water, with a small black coffee and a sandwich for lunch. Haven't touched a soft drink since (~25 years).
 
Pyrrhus
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Weird, i never had the habit. I drink soda only when served in social situations, i do not buy it or drink it at home. I prefer good ol' regular water. As for the high calorie daily, i eat a lot, but hardly gain any pounds.

I am 22 yo, 175 lbs and 5'11".
 
lisab
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This is timely. I just found out I have high blood pressure and one of my blood lipids is sky-high. Both my doctor and I were surprised -- I'm fairly fit and very healthy, no where near obese.

I started seeing a nutritionist. She said that high fructose corn syrup (the sweetener in soda) is wicked bad for human health, in ways that are only now becoming clear.

"Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia"

http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/pdf/1743-7075-2-5.pdf

"Fructose-induced insulin resistant states are commonly characterized by a profound metabolic dyslipidemia, which appears to result from hepatic and intestinal overproduction of atherogenic lipoprotein particles. Thus, emerging evidence from recent epidemiological and biochemical studies clearly suggests that the high dietary intake of fructose has rapidly become an important causative factor in the development of the metabolic syndrome. There is an urgent need for increased public awareness of the risks associated with high fructose consumption and greater efforts should be made to curb the supplementation of packaged foods with high fructose additives."

High fructose corn syrup -- bad stuff, and it's everywhere, too.
 
Moonbear
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Yep, high fructose corn syrup is awful for you, and so hard to avoid anymore. I ebb and flow when it comes to soda drinking. Over the past two weeks or so, I've only had at most a can of soda per day (if any). Then I'll go through periods of time when I just crave a ton of it. I have some birch beer from a brand that doesn't use corn syrup...they still use old-fashioned cane sugar...but you have to mail order that stuff unless you live near Kutztown, PA. It tastes so much better than the overly sweet corn syrup stuff though.

I've read about diet sodas being really bad if you're trying to diet too. A recent study confirmed what has been suspected for years...the sweet taste can trigger release of insulin in the absence of any sugar for the insulin to act on, which leaves you hypoglycemic and craving more sugar to make up for it.

Tonosaki K, Hori Y, Shimizu Y, Tonosaki K. Relationships between insulin release and taste. Biomed Res. 2007 Apr;28(2):79-83.

Tasting sweet food elicits insulin release prior to increasing plasma glucose levels, known as cephalic phase insulin release (CPIR). The characteristic of CPIR is that plasma insulin secretion occurs before the rise of the plasma glucose level. In this experiment, we examined whether taste stimuli placed on the tongue could induce CPIR. We used female Wistar rats and five basic taste stimuli: sucrose (sweet), sodium chloride (salty), HCl (sour), quinine (bitter) or monosodium glutamate (umami). Rats reliably exhibited CPIR to sucrose. Sodium chloride, HCl, quinine, or monosodium glutamate did not elicit CPIR. The non-nutritive sweetener saccharine elicited CPIR. However, starch, which is nutritive but non-sweet, did not elicit CPIR although rats showed a strong preference for starch which is a source of glucose. In addition, we studied whether CPIR was related to taste receptor cell activity. We carried out the experiment in rats with bilaterally cut chorda tympani nerves, one of the gustatory nerves. After sectioning, CPIR was not observed for sweet stimulation. From these results, we conclude that sweetness information conducted by thistaste nerve provides essential information for eliciting CPIR.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17510492?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

So, if you're trying to lose weight, you might want to skip the diet soda too.
 
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Haha yeah that fructose corn syrup will get you for sure, it pretty much just converts pop into "diabetes in a can". I hardly ever drink pop myself, I don't even like it that much, but if I'm at a restaurant or a party or something I occassionaly drink it. I do however like Jones Soda and Stewarts, some of the varieties of Jones' are made with cane sugar, which is much better than fructose corn syrup.
 
lisab
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If I have lunch at a restaurant, I order milk. Makes me feel eight years old again!

At dinner in a restaurant, it'll be a glass of wine, of course :smile: .
 
Milk BTW has quite a lot of sugar in it too, just in the form of lactose instead of fructose.

A few years ago I had the sort of realization that Warren had about the carb / sugar problems of soda. I realized that most drinks are actually much sweeter than I want to drink anyways. So all I've done is thin them out.

I take Arizona iced tea, for example, and thin it out with home-made unsweetened bag-tea iced tea so that I'm only drinking about a third of the sugar, which I actually vastly prefer. My favorite is to do half orange juice, half seltzer water, á la Orangina. In restaurants I ask for half lemonade / half unsweetened tea or half sweet / half unsweetened tea.

Something I've also realized is that most restaurant food is much saltier and more seasoned than I prefer. It's seriously insane what a crust of salt and MSG some (most?) of these chain restaurants like Chili's or The Outback will slather on every piece of food.
⚛
 
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Moonbear
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Milk BTW has quite a lot of sugar in it too, just in the form of lactose instead of fructose.
Milk has a lot of other nutrients that are good for you. It's not like soda where there's no nutritional value to go with all the calories.

My favorite is to do half orange juice, half seltzer water, á la Orangina. In restaurants I ask for half lemonade / half unsweetened tea or half sweet / half unsweetened tea.
Most fruit juices are too sweet for me, so I do similar things, either adding just a splash of the juice to a glass of water for a flavored water, or when I'm not worried about the calories as much, I mix it with tonic water for a nice tangy beverage. I don't buy iced tea though, I just make my own so I control the amount of sugar that goes in.

Something I've also realized is that most restaurant food is much saltier and more seasoned than I prefer. It's seriously insane what a crust of salt and MSG some (most?) of these chain restaurants like Chili's or The Outback will slather on every piece of food.
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Okay, I don't even consider those chains as "restaurant food"...I consider them in almost the same category as fast food, just served slower. I can't stand anything served at Chili's, and will eat at Outback about once a year (once in a while I do get a craving for greasy/salty food, though I don't notice too much on their steaks; that's more peppers than salts...the steaks just make 3 meals for me). I love salt on steak anyway, though. I enjoy a nice crust of sea salt when I make steak at home. Yum!
 
Most fruit juices are too sweet for me, so I do similar things, either adding just a splash of the juice to a glass of water for a flavored water, or when I'm not worried about the calories as much, I mix it with tonic water for a nice tangy beverage. I don't buy iced tea though, I just make my own so I control the amount of sugar that goes in.
Yeah, I do a fair amount of that too. But there's some flavor in Arizona iced tea that all of my mad scientist concoctions with exotic fruit juices and kinds of sugar and other ingredients were unable to reproduce, so I just gave up. I even tried using high fructose corn syrup and that wasn't it.

An interesting endeavor is to replace the tangyness of lemon juice in conventional iced tea - which to my taste buds is what balances the sugar - with something else. I've found black cherry juice to be the most efficacious.

Okay, I don't even consider those chains as "restaurant food"...I consider them in almost the same category as fast food, just served slower. I can't stand anything served at Chili's, and will eat at Outback about once a year (once in a while I do get a craving for greasy/salty food, though I don't notice too much on their steaks; that's more peppers than salts...the steaks just make 3 meals for me). I love salt on steak anyway, though. I enjoy a nice crust of sea salt when I make steak at home. Yum!
Oh, yes, I include fast food in the category of restaurant food, but that's my personal categorizing. I probably end up eating it more often than many people because of business travel.

At least the Outback has good Aussie beer though, unlike McDonalds (at least in the U.S.… I've never had the pleasure of a Royale with cheese and a beer.)
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Classic easy experiment that is shown to parents: Take a can of soda and put it into a bucket of water. What does it do? It sinks because the density of the soda is greater than the density of the water since there is sooooooooooo much sugar dissolved in the soda.


A lot of fruit juices are usually worse than soda. A bottle of snapple has 28 g of sugar per serving, and in a bottle there are 2-2.5 servings!
 
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DaveC426913
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About the only soda I drink anymore (for at least the last 10 years) is Fresca, it's sugarless and caffeine free.
Fresca!!! :yuck::yuck::yuck::yuck::yuck::yuck:


You know, I read an article somewhere that said Fresca and mangoes react together to produce an intolerable taste...
 
Evo
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lisab
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I probably have about 3 cans of soda a day, 2 or 3 glasses of water, a glass of milk with dinner, and maybe some kind of juice about once a day. On weekends any of those can be substituted with beer.
 

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