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.
I spent countless hours going over research on soda consumption and sat down with our dietician 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.
- Stopping soda consumption can lead to weight loss, depending on the amount of soda previously consumed and overall lifestyle habits.
- Quitting soda reduces calorie intake and lowers the risk of health issues like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- According to the National Library of Medicine, diet soda is linked to sugar cravings and dependence, as seen in a study where sugary soda drinkers consumed 17% more calories.
- In my professional experience, replacing soda with healthier alternatives like water and herbal teas is a beneficial and sustainable approach to weight management.
If I Stop Drinking Soda, Will I Lose Weight?
Yes, if you stop drinking soda you will lose weight, as it reduces calorie and sugar intake, but the extent of weight loss depends on various factors.
The amount of weight you can lose depends on several factors, like how much soda you drink, overall diet habits, and activity level.
Eliminating soft drinks from your diet can go a long way in reducing calorie intake.
Also, we recommend high-quality fat burners that will help things along and speed up the process.
While I primarily focus on the calories and sugar content of soda, remember that all the advice from here can also be applied to other sugary drinks like energy and sports drinks, fruit juice, or sweet tea.
What Happens When You Drink Too Much Soda?
When you drink too much soda it can lead to weight gain, high blood sugar levels, and an increased risk of various health issues. They include heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and tooth decay .
I personally worked with several clients who noticed significant weight gain when they were regularly drinking soda. Once they cut it out, their weight started to stabilize.
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 .
Drinking Diet Soda
When beginning a weight loss plan, many people switch to drinking diet soda as a healthier, calorie-free alternative.
While diet soda lacks sugar content, it can still affect your overall health in the same ways as sugary drinks, as an article published on Penn Medicine, says it's been shown to contribute to weight gain, type-2 Diabetes, and heart problems .
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, diet soda consumption is linked to sugar cravings and dependence because it affects brain activity related to food responses .
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?
To stop the habit of consuming soda, increasing your water intake can be a helpful first step. It's essential to recognize that soda cravings can sometimes be mistaken for thirst.
Many of my clients say they realized that sometimes what they thought was a craving for soda was actually just thirst. Drinking more water really helped reduce their soda intake.
Additionally, you can try these other steps to cut soda intake :
- 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
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 .
I completely cut out soda from my diet and replaced it with water. I felt more hydrated and energetic. It was a simple change, but the impact was huge.
Flavored Water Ideas
If you struggle with drinking plain water, there are countless ways to create flavored water:
- Cucumber and Mint
- Ginger and Lemon
- Angostura Bitters
- Strawberries and Mint
- Fresh Stevia Leaves
- Freshly Squeezed Citrus Fruit
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 .
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.
One of my clients experienced caffeine withdrawal at first, but he found that green tea was a great alternative to ease this transition.
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 .
Additionally, soda can affect the brain. Research shows that quitting soda reduces the risk of depression and developing dementia .
Impact on Gut Health
When I decided to quit soda, one of the most surprising benefits I noticed was a significant improvement in my gut health. I used to struggle with digestive issues and bloating, which I later learned were exacerbated by the artificial sweeteners and preservatives in sodas.
Since cutting out soda, not only has my digestion improved, but I also feel a general sense of well-being that I hadn't experienced when soda was a part of my daily diet.
Overall, when you stop consuming soda, you give your gut a chance to restore its natural balance. This can lead to improved digestion, better nutrient absorption, and a strengthened immune system, as a significant portion of the body's immune response is located in the gut.
Impact on Exercise Performance and Recovery
When you eliminate soda from your diet, you may initially experience a drop in energy levels, especially if your body is accustomed to caffeine and sugar for quick energy boosts. However, this phase is typically transient.
As your body adjusts, you'll likely notice a more stable and sustained energy level, conducive to better exercise performance.
The absence of excess sugar in your diet helps in maintaining consistent blood sugar levels, which is crucial for prolonged physical activities. Stable blood sugar aids in endurance and helps in avoiding the fatigue that often accompanies sugar crashes.
By quitting soda and opting for water or electrolyte-rich drinks, you ensure better hydration, which is essential for muscle recovery and reduces the likelihood of cramps and strains.
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.
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