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Will I Lose Weight if I Stop Drinking Soda? The Clear Answer

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: September 2, 2022

I tell my fitness clients there is no quick fix to losing weight, but there are things they can do right away that get them headed in the right direction quickly.

One of those things is to quit drinking soda.

Our dietician and I sat down to discuss the ins and outs of soda consumption, what it does to the body and how it affects weight loss efforts.

Let’s dive in.

Quick Summary

  • Quitting sugary soda is a huge step in maintaining a healthy diet and promoting weight loss.
  • Soft drinks are not the only culprits that add to calorie intake, sugar-sweetened beverages like sweet tea or fruit juice, energy, or sports drinks calories can add up quickly.
  • A single soft drink offers no nutritional value and can have as much as 49 grams of sugar.

If I Stop Drinking Soda, Will I Lose Weight?

A person doing a stop gesture

Yes, you will lose weight if you stop drinking soda. The amount of weight you can lose depends on several factors, like how much soda you drink, overall diet habits, and your activity level.

Although the matter is more nuanced, weight loss still basically comes down to a simple formula of consuming fewer calories than you are expending.

Eliminating soft drinks from your diet can go a long way in reducing calorie intake.

This article primarily focuses on the calories and sugar content of soda,  but remember that it can also be applied to other sugary drinks like energy and sports drinks, fruit juice, or sweet tea.

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What Happens When You Drink Too Much Soda?

When you drink too much soda, you may experience weight gain and high blood sugar levels. This may also lead to tooth decay, as well as an increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, dementia, and gout [1].

There is no question that a high sugar diet is a bad idea when trying to lose weight and will likely have the opposite effect and contribute to chronic health conditions.

Soda contains no nutrients, only high sugar content, with a single can having upwards of 49 grams of sugar, the equivalent of 12 teaspoons [2].

Drinking Diet Soda

Pouring diet soda

When beginning a weight loss plan, many people switch to drinking diet soda as a healthier, calorie-free alternative.

Though diet sodas don’t contain the high fructose corn syrup that “regular” soft drinks contain, the jury is definitely still out on the safety of artificial sweeteners.

While diet soda lacks sugar content, it can still affect your overall health in the same ways as sugary drinks, as it has been shown to contribute to weight gain, type-2 Diabetes, and heart problems [3].

See, diet soda consumption is linked to sugar cravings and dependence because it affects brain activity related to food responses [4].

It is best to eliminate all soda altogether when wanting to drop pounds and practice healthy eating. You will lower your calorie intake, and you may experience numerous other health benefits like reducing tooth decay, heart issues, and type-2 Diabetes.

“Added sugar is a source of empty calories and offers little in terms of nutrition. Foods rich in added sugars tend to be high in calories, which can cause weight gain.”

-Jillian Kubala, MS, RD.

How to Stop the Habit?

One way to stop your soda habit is to drink more water because sometimes soda cravings can be mistaken for thirst.

Additionally, you can try these other steps to cut soda intake [5]:

  • Keep your hunger at bay - when we feel hungry, we may begin to crave things, including soda.
  • Keep them out of reach - soda habits are hard to break if those sugary beverages are readily available (temptation).
  • Sweet alternatives - sugar cravings are natural; try reaching for fruits like grapes, berries, or pineapple to curb that craving.
  • Lower stress - A typical stress response is food cravings, so managing stress may reduce the desire for unhealthy foods like soda.
  • Soda alternatives - There are countless soda alternatives out there, and I have highlighted some of them in the next section.

Soft Drink Alternatives

Healthy soda alternatives

When cutting soda from your diet, keep in mind that many delicious, healthier alternatives are readily available.

The best option is always water. Our bodies need water to stay hydrated and function properly [6].

If you struggle with drinking plain water, there are countless ways to create flavored water:

  • Cucumber and Mint
  • Ginger and Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Angostura Bitters
  • Strawberries and Mint
  • Fresh Stevia Leaves
  • Freshly Squeezed Citrus Fruit

Some people may find it boring to drink water all the time so let’s look at some flavorful alternatives.

Herbal teas are delicious and come in a variety of flavors. Tea can be consumed hot or cold, and research shows that drinking cold tea may promote thermogenesis and fat burning [7].

Craving carbonation?

Sparkling water is a great option when you just want some bubbles. Though it is available plain, many brands offer sparkling water infused with lemon juice or other fruits and herbs.

If you are concerned about caffeine withdrawal, you can reap caffeine's benefits without the downfalls of drinking a sugary drink. Green tea and black, unsweetened coffee are always good choices.

Other Benefits to Quitting Besides Weight Loss

People who have stopped drinking soda reduce the risk of gaining weight, high blood pressure, tooth-enamel damage, weak bones, metabolic disease, and kidney stones [8].

Additionally, soda can affect the brain. Research shows that quitting soda reduces the risk of depression and developing dementia [9].

FAQs

What Happens If I Stop Quitting Soda Cold Turkey?

If you quit drinking soda cold turkey, you may experience headaches, fatigue, irritability, or depression.

Does Soda Cause Belly Fat?

Yes, soda causes belly fat. Daily consumption of soft drinks is associated with increased visceral fat, which increases the risk of heart disease and type-2 Diabetes [10].

Want to Drop Weight and Improve Your Health?

There might not be a way around putting down that soft drink to reach your weight loss goals.

However, using one of the following fat burners will help things along and speed up the process.

A fitness plan focusing on exercise and healthy foods that offer higher nutritional value and health benefits will significantly influence how much weight you can lose.


References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-ways-sugary-soda-is-bad-for-you
  2. https://www.eatthis.com/sodas-most-sugar/
  3. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2017/march/diet-soda
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892765/
  5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-stop-drinking-soda#how-to-stop
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
  7. https://www.livestrong.com/article/268754-what-are-the-benefits-of-drinking-tea-hot-vs-cold/
  8. https://www.beaumont.org/health-wellness/blogs/6-reasons-to-stop-drinking-soda
  9. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/food-nutrition-and-diet/8-health-benefits-of-giving-up-diet-soda
  10. https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20160111/sugary-drinks-tied-to-increase-in-deep-bely-fat

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