Soda intake has increased dramatically over the last decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Americans now drink more than 100 gallons of sweetened soft drinks every year. Thankfully, you don’t have to give up soda forever. There are simple ways to reduce your soda intake without sacrificing taste or convenience, while simultaneously developing healthy habits. In this article, we share tips to help you control your soda intake.
Why is it important to cut down on soda?
As the beverage industry begins to take steps toward phasing out artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, some people are wondering whether it makes sense to stop drinking soda altogether.
Below are a few reasons as to why you should cut down on soda:
- It is not hydrating
- It is bad for your dental health
- It contains a lot of sugar and calories
- It causes weight gain and increases the risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes
Is diet soda a better option?
Although switching to diet soda often seems easier than giving up sugary drinks, there are many reasons why it might not work out well for you. After all, diet soda contains artificial sweeteners so it is much sweeter than regular soda, making it even harder to give up.
Also, most people don’t realize how harmful diet sodas actually are. They contain no nutrients, and some are full of unhealthy ingredients that could lead to serious problems down the road. There’s also evidence that suggests that diet soda drinkers are less likely to drink water, which makes it difficult for them to stick to a healthy lifestyle.
7 tips to stop drinking soda
Drinking soda is bad for you. It has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, tooth decay, gum disease, and cavities. It is therefore in your best interest to reduce your soda consumption, or, even better, cut it out altogether. Below are some expert tips to help you stop drinking soda.
Drink sparkling water
One of the best ways to stop yourself from drinking soda is to start drinking sparkling water. Although this might initially seem like a boring option, sparkling water is extremely versatile and can save you money. Since sparkling water is really just water that has been carbonated, its flavor profile is a blank slate, meaning you can give it the flavor of your choosing.
You can add natural ingredients to it to create funky flavors, such as fresh fruit, herbs, and tea. You can even spice it up with alcohol if you're in the mood. You can avoid bad habits and cut down on drinking cans of soda by drinking sparkling water instead. By drinking sparkling water, you also gain the health benefits that come with regular water, making it a healthy and beneficial alternative to sugary sodas.
Opt for healthier sweet sodas
If you have a craving for soda, it might be tempting to reach for a can but drinking soda isn’t good for your health. Instead, you should opt for a healthier sweet drink, such as fruit juice! Try choosing juices over sodas because they contain fewer calories and less added sugar. Since the carbonation process accentuates the flavor, you can achieve the same drink (even better!) at a fraction the calories. Many Spärkel recipes use only 30% juice while offering 100% flavor: try it out, you won't be disappointed!
Keep yourself full
The number one reason people crave sugary beverages is because they're feeling hungry. After all, food provides energy and helps us maintain our body temperature. To keep yourself from getting hungry, try planning ahead. If possible, prepare your meals the night before. Also, place healthy snacks like nuts and dried fruit around the house to grab and munch on during times when you might normally snack. These small changes can help you avoid situations where you experience sugar cravings.
Set attainable goals
Quitting cold turkey might work well for some people, but it doesn’t always go smoothly. Setting smaller goals like consuming less sugar or eating healthier foods is generally an easier strategy. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed when you hit a roadblock. You can still enjoy life without feeling deprived, and you'll avoid setting unrealistic goals.
One way could be to start with half-juice and half water when preparing a beverage with your Spärkel, and slowly reduce the amount of juice overtime.
If you feel a soda craving coming on, try to distance yourself mentally from the thought. You might want to go for a walk or take a shower. This could help shift your thought process away from the craving, and eliminate the urge completely. Some studies have shown that chewing a piece of gum may help curb cravings too. Chewing gum helps release dopamine into your brain, which makes you less likely to crave sweets. Another thing you can do is make sure that there are no sodas in your house, or at least in easily accessible areas.
Avoid soda triggers
You may think you know what triggers you to reach for a sugary treat, but there are actually many different factors involved. Some people are more sensitive to sweet tastes than others, while some trigger foods are associated with particular times of day. If you find yourself reaching for a soda every day around noon, you can substitute sparkling water! Instead of the usual noon soda, make yourself a sparkling infusion at 11:30. You will see the habit slowly fade away!
Don't give up
Remember that craving is normal and not something to feel ashamed about. Instead, try to see it as a temporary lapse in judgment. It is okay to have a cheat day every now and then if you need it. However, do not let this lead you down a path of perpetual guilt. This isn't a punishment; it's merely a part of life. Accepting responsibility for your poor diet decisions helps you learn from them, and prevent similar mistakes in the future.
What are some soda alternatives?
If you're trying to cut down on soda consumption, here are some alternatives to consider:
- Cold brew tea infusions
- Sparkling water
- Flavored water
- Unsweetened tea
- Fruit juice
Make your own carbonated water at home
If you have a soda habit that you are trying to kick to the curb, switching to carbonated water is the ultimate solution. Luckily for you, there is a way for you to drink sparkling water on a regular basis at a low cost, and it comes with none of the health risks that accompany soda.
Spärkels is dedicated to ensuring that you have a viable and affordable way to cut down on sugary drinks by replacing them with sparkling water. This is why we developed an innovative sparkling water technology. Our sparkling water machine doesn't require a CO2 tank and is created from recycled disposable bottles, making it a more environmentally friendly alternative to buying bottled sparkling water.