When you’re drinking more soda than water every day, you may have a problem. If you’ve decided to scale back or quit soda altogether, you’ll have to face some serious withdrawal symptoms, related to both caffeine and sugar, if you’re not into diet soda.
Find out how to quit soda with the least amount of discomfort and replace it with better habits. Whether you’re drawn to it for the caffeine, sugar or fizz, here’s how you can kick the habit for good.
Figure Out Why You’re Addicted to It
The most important step in giving up soda is figuring out what’s drawing you to it. Both sugar and caffeine are mildly addictive, but drinking too much soda can also be a social habit. If you drink it throughout the whole day, then it’s probably more about the stimulants, or if you usually go for soda in the afternoon you need the energy boost or the reward in the middle of a stressful day.
Accept the Long Term Effects of Soda
One of the major steps you need to take when you’re wondering how to quit soda is to accept that it’s bad for you when you don’t drink it in moderation. Even diet sodas that are completely sugar free can contribute to weight gain, and the acidity in most sodas can have a very harmful effect on the enamel of your teeth in the long run.
See also: Foods That Mess With Your Metabolism
Trying to quit cold turkey works for some, but most soda drinkers achieve better results by making small changes. Start by removing one soda from your daily or weekly allowance, depending on just how much of it you drink regularly. Replace the missing soda with something else, whether it’s tea or a juice spritzer.
Fight the Caffeine Withdrawal with Coffee
Replacing a missing soda with a cup of coffee is another great option that helps you avoid the headaches and other symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. Instead of drinking a 12-ounce can of soda, drink 4 ounces of coffee. If you’re hoping to find an answer to the question of how to quit soda without drinking more coffee, then black and green tea are your best bets.
Try a Little Sugar
If you’re addicted to diet soda, the problem is that the artificial sweeteners make you crave the real thing without knowing it. You don’t want to use too much sugar, but a teaspoon in a cup of tea or coffee can actually help you move on from your soda urges temporarily. You can give up the sugar later on, but it can be really helpful when you’re really dying to drink a diet soda.
Eat a High Protein Breakfast
The answer to the question how to quit soda could be as simple as making some changes in your diet. Caffeine withdrawal can be held at bay with a high protein breakfast and keep your energy levels up without the need for extra stimulants. Try eggs or whey protein, which also helps increase your serotonin, when you’re making breakfast.
Add Fizz to Juice
If you miss the fizziness the most, mix fruit juice with club soda or seltzer over ice. You could also buy a home carbonation system to get the bubbles you want in lightly flavored water, replacing all the caffeine and chemicals found in most sodas.
Have a Drink
When the soda cravings hit you hardest in the evening, an easy way to defeat them is to have a glass of wine or a beer. Drinking extra calories in the form of alcohol might not be the answer you wanted when you started looking for ways to quit soda, but it can be a temporary solution.
Stay Hydrated with Water
Drinking water is good for you in a lot of ways, and sparkling water can also deliver the fizz you’re craving. But when you’re quitting soda, the best way to switch to water is to flavor it. Use citrus fruit or watermelon to give a glass of water a new twist. You can start with more juice at first, when you’re really craving the sugar and caffeine, but try to reduce it as you get over your soda withdrawal symptoms.
Ask for Help
Even with all the answers to the question of how to quit soda, you’ll still need the support of the people closest to you. Ask for a temporary ban of sodas from your home and tell your friends that you’re going through a hard time giving up soda. With their support, you can kick this habit for good.