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Weaning myself off soda - any advice?
Old 12-12-2012, 12:31 PM   #1
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Weaning myself off soda - any advice?

Periodically through my life, I have tried to wean myself off soda. Generally works for awhile, but after a week or two I get sick and CRAVE soda in the worst possible way. Hard to describe what I mean by "sick" but it's just a general tired, nausea, irritable feeling. For instance, I have had three sodas in the past 10 days or so (low for me) and last night at around 9pm, it's like my body demanded a soda. Fortunately (I guess ) I had a ginger ale in the refrigerator, drank it, and have felt fine since. I was thinking my sugar level may have been low, but it works just as well if I drink diet soda without sugar. My body seems to crave the sweet taste after awhile. I have also heard that when you start healthy eating habits, after a week or two, your body starts getting rid of the toxins in your body and you start to feel sick. Maybe that is what is going on. Every time I have had these cravings, I have given in with either a soda or cookies. Just wondering why I get these sweet cravings. Does anyone have any insights about this? I have told this to my doctor and he does not seem too concerned. I do not have diabetes or low sugar (at least not earlier in the year when I had blood work).
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:43 PM   #2
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I'd try completely eliminating soda, instead of "weaning" oneself off of it (which I think in the long run may be harder). That worked for me when I quit smoking. Good luck!
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:18 PM   #3
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David1961...I don't know if this is what helped me or not...but many years ago I stopped drinking sodas, namely diet coke.
At the same time, I stopped putting any sweetner in my coffee and still currently drink it with just milk or black. By sweetner, I mean sugar, artificial sweetner or natural sweetner.

It could be the sort of thing where you may have to cut down or out all sugar sources. Sugar from one source begets wanting sugar from another. Have you tried that yet?
Luckily I did not and currently do not crave sweets per se. If I want something sweet, usually one bite will do me. However, my husband craves sweets and it is a battle for him.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:22 PM   #4
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For a long time we didn't keep soft drinks in the house. We buy ice cream infrequently. Not having the stuff easily available makes it easier to avoid ingesting it.

Is there a reason you want to entirely quit soft drinks? Sure, they aren't health food, but if you've got no other health issues I doubt there's a big health impact of drinking a Coke every couple of weeks when you get the cravings. Life is for living, and you probably appreciated that ginger ale a >lot< more than if it had been the fifth one of the day.

Some folks have quit soft drinks by using iced tea (the real stuff, not Nestea or other instant tea). Even sweet tea usually has less sugar than soft drinks, and it's often easy to mix sweet/unsweet tea when dining out to get a lower dose of sugar/calories. Waiters will do it for you if you ask.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:26 PM   #5
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I don't have any soda in the house. My desire to crack open a cold one (of the no alcoholic kind) really doesn't exist as I really don't crave a soda. I'd rather have ice water, juice, iced tea or lemon aid for example.

That said, I wouldn't want to give up soda totally. When I go out to eat, usually I'll order soda with the meal along with ice water.

As for insight, well if you quit soda cold turkey, since soda has caffeine you may be going through caffeine withdraw. I used to be a Mountain Dew drinker. When I quit that, for awhile I had a terrible headache from the caffeine withdraw. No more Dew for me.

I wouldn't touch diet soda with a ten foot poll. Seems that's even worse for you then the plain, good, unadulterated pop .
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:27 PM   #6
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If you really enjoy sodas, why not just cut back and enjoy small servings once in a while? I know they're not good for you but not terribly bad for you in moderation. Your doctor doesn't seem concerned so why the efforts to give them up all together?
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:43 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies so far. Good points about why am I trying to get off soda entirely. Hard to answer except I want to have a healthier lifestyle. But then, a soda once in awhile is not the end of the world. My main concern is why I'm getting these sweet cravings.
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:10 PM   #8
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Although I have nothing to substantiate it, I recall hearing the attraction to sodas may be attributed not only to caffeine, but also to the fizzy, carbonated water they contain. DW had a serious Diet Coke habit and has cut her consumption by 2/3 through the substitution of what she calls "flavored fizzy water". These Sodastream home soda makers seem to be very popular (Clarke Howard's website claims they sell 10,000 a day) and offer the ability to make carbonated, non-caffeinated sodas in an endless variety of flavors.

Just a thought...
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:18 PM   #9
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Although I have nothing to substantiate it, I recall hearing the attraction to sodas may be attributed not only to caffeine, but also to the fizzy, carbonated water they contain. DW had a serious Diet Coke habit and has cut her consumption by 2/3 through the substitution of what she calls "flavored fizzy water". These Sodastream home soda makers seem to be very popular (Clarke Howard's website claims they sell 10,000 a day) and offer the ability to make carbonated, non-caffeinated sodas in an endless variety of flavors.

Just a thought...
While never a soda drinker, I do love a little TJ's organic lemonaid, in my sodastream water.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:19 PM   #10
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Drinking a lot of sodas with sugar is bad but less so with diet sodas. Some people argue about possible issues with carbonation and artificial sweetners but nothing like the problems with all the sugar in sodas. My opinion only.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:56 PM   #11
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Like any habit, you can either go cold turkey, or wean yourself off it in some planned fashion. If going without makes you "sick" maybe you should shoot for limiting yourself to one soda/day - clearly you've been able to do that.

I've quit soda pop before, but I get sick and tired of just water after a while and have to have something else (even though just water would probably be best). So I drink water mostly and have one soda (or milk, or iced tea) per day. And of course the occasional glass of wine in the evening (2-3 times/week).

I don't drink diet sodas at all. If I'm going to have less than 1 soda/day on average, it's not going to be diet, they taste bleeeeeech IMO AND...

...while too much sugar/HFCS is bad for health, there seems to be some debate as to which is worse for you, one soda or one diet soda? You can Google if you're interested...
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:09 PM   #12
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Soda's, both diet and sugared, are bad for your teeth and bones.

Acids in Popular Sodas Erode Tooth Enamel | LiveScience

4 Health Side Effects of Diet Soda / Nutrition / Healthy Eating

It's not the sugar, as much as the acids.
I still drink sparkling water sometimes, when I want some bubbles... but water is my mainstay.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:11 PM   #13
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I really enjoy sparkling water, sometimes with a splash of fruit juice.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:21 PM   #14
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Personally it sounds to me you are beating yourself up for no reason. I bounce around on the issue, but sometimes I go a few weeks without them, others I have a daily one. I got for awhile where I was slamming down those 32 oz. I decide that was too much. Now I just have 12 oz. and my body thinks of it no different than the 32 oz. How about getting those 6 oz. cans and enjoying a little of the good stuff? I also concur unsweetened brewed ice tea is the way to get off soda. My girlfriend has been off soda three months now since changing to tea. When I have tea I don't need soda but I am not giving it up. I am almost 50 and just got back from dentist. He said the teeth are great. Other than my wisdom teeth pulled they are all there and fine despite the soda.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:35 PM   #15
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I really enjoy sparkling water, sometimes with a splash of fruit juice.
So do I, although we drink mostly plain. But I bet flavored seltzer would be a good substitute for soft drinks.
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Hard to describe what I mean by "sick" but it's just a general tired, nausea, irritable feeling
That sounds like caffeine withdrawal. Iced tea would help.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:47 PM   #16
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I used "mixins" to get off soda. Go to where you find kool-aid. They come 8-10 little tubes per box for $1-2. Hawaiian punch has some, crystal lite has some...there are many other brands too.

You just pour a tube in a bottle of water.

They range from just a little taste to as strong tasting as soda. All have no sugar, they use artificial sweeteners.

Worth a buck to try a box or two.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:52 PM   #17
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I used to drink several Cokes a day. The way I quit was to buy a soda stream machine to make my own extra fizzy soda water. I haven't bought a soda in about 10 months. This avoids both sugar and artificial sweeteners.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:56 PM   #18
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Thanks for the replies so far. Good points about why am I trying to get off soda entirely. Hard to answer except I want to have a healthier lifestyle. But then, a soda once in awhile is not the end of the world. My main concern is why I'm getting these sweet cravings.
David,

I've done similar things with some of my vices over time; sometimes for health reasons (soda, chips, fries, etc.) other times just to prove to myself that I could (alcohol, coffee, etc.). Basically, I think I just want to be a little better next year than I was this year.

Personally, I've found that cold turkey works best for me. I used to be a very heavy Coke drinker. They have been free or subsidized in most of my offices over the years; and, in the Midwest, free refills on soft drinks are the norm. I finally decided to give it up for a year when I stopped to consider how many calories I was consuming. This was actually one of the hardest things I tried to give up; but, the cravings eventually lessened in both intensity and frequency. After my one year was up, I still had the cravings occasionally; and, when I have one now that will not go away on its own, I feed it a Coke. I probably average less than one Coke a month now and do not feel too badly about it. I definitely enjoy it much more than my forth, fifth, sixth Coke of the day.

Some things have taken me more than one attempt. But, (and off topic a bit), the only thing I have tried giving up and finally gave up trying: Coffee
  • I finally decided that it just wasn't that bad for me.
  • Life is too short and I really do enjoy my coffee.
  • I did manage to cut back from two pots/day to one or less.

Cold turkey has been the only method that really worked for me when I wanted to cut something completely out of my diet/life. I know that other people do have better luck with the slowly cutting back to zero approach.

Good luck.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:00 PM   #19
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I add a bit of fruit juice like cranapple or cranberry to my water also.
Interesting tidbit about carbonation. When I got off the sodas, I substituted with Pierre. It was basically all I drank. If I wanted water, I went for the Pierre.

For a couple of years I had a real urgency for let' say...to relieve my kidneys. It was so frequent it became embarrassing. Well...one day I googled carbonation and lo and behold it told me that carbonated drinks were o.k. in moderation. It then said that carbonated drinks do not allow your kidneys to complete their cycle of forming urine (short hand version). This is turn puts pressure on your kidneys.

I immediately stopped drinking the Pierre and WaLah! Problem solved.

p.s. the article said your kidneys NEED the water to complete the natural cycle. Not carbonated water as I was doing.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:19 PM   #20
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Regarding your question about feeling 'sick' and having cravings, that could definitely be a withdrawal/cleanse reaction. I feel that way when I've been eating 'junky' foods and then do a juice fast to reset my system. Going cold turkey will probably solve the problem the fastest, and if you can get through it you might be surprised at how good you feel.

When I'm trying not to eat something for a while I find it helps to think in terms of abundance rather than scarcity. I remind myself that the item will always be available to me later, whenever I want it, because they're always making more of it. I'm just not going to eat it right now.
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