When we give up one bad habit, a lot of us seem to take on another, albeit unintentionally in most cases. This is especially true in the case of diet soda. So many people take up the diet soda habit after they have realized how bad it is for them to drink regular soda and other sugary drinks. They think they are making a healthier choice since diet soda doesn’t have any calories or sugar.
However, there are a number of health problems associated with diet soda, and consumption can be habit forming. It is important to kick the habit if you want to protect your overall health and wellness. Here are a few tips for how you can kick the diet soda habit:
Identify the Ritual
Just like any habit, much of drinking diet soda is about the ritual. Maybe you always have one when you eat popcorn at the movies. Or maybe you like to have one with lunch every day. Maybe you just reach for one when you’re feeling stressed or are craving sweets.
By identifying the reasons why you drink diet soda and the situations in which you most often have it, you can prepare yourself better to break the habit. You can recognize when you might feel most inclined to lose your resolve and can either avoid those triggers or come up with strategies for resisting them.
Replace It with a Similar Drink
A big part of what people love about diet soda is the fizz. It feels good going down, and it makes the drink seem more lively and fun. Fortunately, there are many other drinks that can offer you the same fizz but without the chemicals, artificial sweeteners and food colorings that are found in diet soda.
Sparkling water is a good option. You can flavor it with fruits and sweeten it with Stevia. Kombucha is another great choice. This fermented tea has some fizz, as well as a host of health benefits, including good bacteria.
Replace the Caffeine
Besides the fizz, a lot of people turn to diet soda as a quick pick-me-up. The caffeine gives a nice jolt that can help you wake up, feel more energized and focus. If you need the caffeine, there are other, more healthy sources of it. For example, a cup of coffee or green tea both have caffeine, but they also have other benefits, such as antioxidants. Just be sure to drink them plain or with minimal milk and sugar. Too many additives, and you will undermine the health benefits and add too much fat and sugar to the drink.
Drink More Water
The healthiest thing you can drink is plain water. Many people find the taste of water to be boring – especially if they are used to drinking diet sodas all the time. However, after you have been drinking it for a few days or a few weeks, you will get used to the flavor and will be satisfied by it. Water can keep you hydrated and keep you feeling full so you don’t have as many cravings and won’t be tempted by diet sodas or other unhealthy treats.
Understand What Is at Stake
One of the best ways to kick the diet soda habit is to remember why it’s so bad for you. There is a lot at stake when you drink diet soda. The drink has been linked to a higher chance of heart attack and stroke, reduced insulin sensitivity (which can lead to weight gain and even diabetes) and some cancers. When you feel tempted to have a drink, think about all the negative health issues it could cause you and think again.
Diet soda is a delicious treat that many of us enjoy in place of sugared drinks. However, it is associated with a lot of negative health issues, and it can be habit forming. If you have a diet soda addiction, it may be time to kick the habit. Use these tips to help you put an end to your diet soda habit once and for all.
Do you have a diet soda addiction? Tell us about it and whether you’ve managed to kick the habit in the comments!
About the Author:
Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching Sacramento culinary schools. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.
Photo Courtesy of fimoculous (CC $ flickr.com).