Hey, everyone! In case you missed it, I announced last week that moving forward, new Practical Guide objectives will go up on the second Tuesday of each month. This way, you’ll know exactly when to expect new posts, and you’ll have a full month to work on the latest objective.
Now that we’ve got a little housekeeping out of the way, let’s get started! Remember that small changes add up to HUGE results in your overall health. Wellness doesn’t have to be hard, but it does have to become a habit! You want to keep up with the past objectives, and then add in the new ones as they are posted. If you’re just joining us, or you need a bit of a refresher on the past objectives, you can find them all here.
Objective #8: Say Goodbye to Sodas
I know. This is a hard one for some of us. I decided to stop drinking soda in 2013, and it feels like a lifetime ago. Haha. It was right after I had decided to give up gluten for the sake of my health, and so not drinking sodas really just made sense for me. I think at the time, I was drinking a soda maybe every other day or so. I KNOW!! It was a lot. In fact, the last soda I had was a Dr. Pepper in the waiting room at the hospital when my youngest nephew was being born! Is it weird that I remember that? Oh well. Note that I had stopped drinking diet sodas in 2007. I had noticed that the aspartame contributed to headaches for me, so I had been drinking just regular soda. I was a Diet Coke girl, but switched over to Coke and Dr. Pepper. In the past five years, I’ve had a few sips of soda and some Sprite in a cocktail, but really, sodas just aren’t a part of my life anymore. They are too sweet now, and I have other beverages I enjoy more, like water and tea. Also note that I’m from Texas, and I’m using the word soda for this post, but in my real life, I would just say coke, and that would be representative of any sugar-filled, carbonated beverage of any brand. You Texans know what I’m talking about here.
Anyway, back to the actual subject. I think at this point, we all know what soda does to our bodies, but I’ll recap a bit of it here. There are many more reasons than what are listed below, but I’m just touching upon some highlights, or low lights, as it were. Here’s what you need to remember: Soda is poison to our bodies. Period.
- Sodas are PACKED with sugar. One can of soda has 39 grams of sugar. That’s more sugar than you are supposed to eat in a whole day – and you’re getting it one can of soda. Drinking one soda per day for a year is the equivalent of eating 39 pounds of sugar. Yes, you read that right. 39 pounds of sugar!! Gross. I’ve talked about it before, but regulating blood sugar is a HUGE part of staying healthy, avoiding diabetes, preventing heart disease, along with other health issues, and maintaining a healthy weight. In Objective #5, we learned about limiting processed foods, and why, and I explained more about the blood sugar roller coaster and why it matters. You can click through and watch that video for more information. Processed foods includes sodas. Just sayin’.
- The phosphoric acid, and other chemicals in sodas actually prevent your body from absorbing calcium and other nutrients. On top of that, the sugar and chemicals combined actually leach nutrients from your bones and tissues. That means sodas can contribute to things like osteoporosis, softening of bones, cavities and nutrient deficiencies. All that acid also erodes the enamel on your teeth, too.
- Drinking sodas can cause dehydration. The combo of caffeine, sugar and sodium actually dehydrates the body, and since you’re probably replacing water with a soda, this can cause some serious long-term issues.
- Artificial sweeteners and colorings are poison. Yes, poison. Sorry, diet soda drinkers, but you aren’t off the hook here. Diet sodas have to go, too. Artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, are still sweet, and your body thinks it is consuming sugar, so you still have all the same body responses as eating/drinking sugar. Aspartame is actually more harmful. It has been linked to almost a hundred different health problems including seizures, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, diabetes, and emotional disorders. It converts to methanol at warm temperatures and methanol breaks down to formaldehyde and formic acid. Diet sodas also increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, which causes belly fat, high blood sugar and raised cholesterol. Note here that Splenda isn’t any better. Splenda is a neurotoxin AND still causes the insulin response in the body. None of these are good options.
I found a few really great infographics that explain just some of the things that happen in your body when you drink soda. Now, these infographics use Coke as the example, but know that this applies to any brand of soda.
Listen, I know this one is tough. Many of us LOVE our sodas, and we turn to them for a quick energy boost, some caffeine or just because we want the carbonation. I’m just going to say it: This is a bad habit, and it’s one that is so important to break. Giving up sodas will bring immediate health benefits, not the least of which is stopping the blood sugar roller coaster and keeping blood sugar more regulated. That, in and of itself, leads to a healthier body. Once you stop drinking sodas you’ll often find that they become too sweet to drink anyway, and other sugary drinks will also be too sweet. This is not a bad thing! Avoiding, or limiting, sweetened beverages of any kind is better for your body. After giving up sodas you may also notice healthier teeth, fewer cavities, less brain fog, fewer headaches (you can often have rebound headaches from the sugar and caffeine) and weight loss – not to mention the fact that you’re helping to prevent diabetes and heart disease, too.
I could spend days writing about why sodas are bad for us, but I think we really already know this. If you have more questions, feel free to reach out to me, or just do a quick google search. I don’t think you need me to convince you of any of this – you know this is a good move for your health. With that being said, let’s talk about some soda alternatives:
- Sparkling water or club soda (club soda can be high in sodium, so pay attention to this and don’t go overboard with it) with lemon or lime wedges, or a splash of cranberry juice. There are so many sparkling water options out there now – just make sure they don’t have any sugar or sweeteners added.
- Kombucha. Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented beverage that is loaded with probiotics and other goodness. It does still have some sugar, but most of that is used up in the fermenting process. Having a little glass of this each day can help give you that fizz fix, but it’s also packed with nutrients.
- Water! Just drink some water instead! If you need ideas for how to drink more water, revisit Objective #1.
- Unsweetened tea – any flavor or added lemon is fine, but no sweeteners!
Just to recap: sodas of any kind are out here. This means that regular sodas, diet sodas, Coke Zero, any carbonated beverage with sweeteners of any sort are out. There are no exceptions, and there are no healthy sodas.
Your Objective: Say Goodbye to Sodas!
This may mean that you need to wean yourself off them or just go cold turkey, but the goal over the next month is to remove sodas from your diet altogether. Drinking sodas is a slippery slope. It can often lead to cravings for more soda, or just more sugar, and it’s best if they aren’t consumed.
Remember that you aren’t replacing sodas with other sweetened beverages. You’re replacing soda with water, sparkling water, unsweetened tea, etc. I know this objective seems daunting, but it is SO WORTH ditching those sodas!
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting tips and info in the Facebook group, so if you haven’t joined, be sure to click through and do so. We have a wonderful little community, and we’re always supportive of each other. It’s nice to know you aren’t alone!
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Tell me: What is your favorite non-soda beverage? Have you already cut sodas out of your diet, or will you be getting rid of them now?
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat or diagnose any health condition. Please consult a doctor, healthcare professional or a Nutrition Consultant for information specific to your health needs.