How to Wean Soda Out of a Diet

Drinking too much soda may increase your risk for weight gain.
Drinking too much soda may increase your risk for weight gain. (Image: silverjohn/iStock/Getty Images)

About half of Americans drink soda or other sugary beverages at least once a day, according to a 2011 article on the CNN website. However, drinking soda may increase your risk for health conditions including weight gain and diabetes, notes a meta-analysis published in the "American Journal of Public Health" in April 2007. Replacing soda with other, more nutritious drinks could result in health benefits.

Cut Back on Caffeine

If cola or another caffeinated soda is your drink of choice, start by switching to decaffeinated versions of your favorite soda. Caffeine can be addicting, so you'll want to start the process of cutting soda out of your diet by gradually cutting back on the number of caffeinated sodas you drink. Otherwise, a caffeine craving may cause you to backslide and drink more soda.

Gradually Decrease Number of Sodas

Stopping your soda habit by going cold turkey may be a bit difficult, especially if you drink multiple sodas each day. Gradually cut back on your soda drinking, perhaps cutting out one soda a day, then working your way down to a soda every other day, one a week and so on.

Try Healthier Alternatives

If you find yourself reaching for a soda, consider what you like about soda and how you could get a similar taste from other, healthier beverages. If you like the fizz, try drinking carbonated water. For a fruity taste, opt for still or fizzy water with lemon, lime or orange slices or mix your water with a small amount of 100 percent fruit juice. Other nutritious beverages include unsweetened tea and skim milk.

Stay Committed

Should you find yourself tempted to go back to drinking soda, remind yourself of the benefits you get from avoiding this unhealthy beverage. Drinking water instead of regular soda saves you over 100 calories per glass, making it easier to cut calories and lose weight. While skim milk still has 90 calories per glass, it provides you with calcium for strong bones and 8 grams of protein per glass. If you fall off the wagon and have a soda, try to make it a caffeine-free diet soda and then go right back to avoiding soda again. One slip-up doesn't have to mean an end to all of your hard work weaning yourself off of soda.

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