Some call it soda. Others prefer to say pop. Whatever the name, these sugary drinks are far from healthy, even in their ‘diet’ form.
It’s not just that it’s full of sugar and calories. Studies have linked the health issues surrounding soda to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, stroke, and even a greater risk of developing dementia.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to kick your soda habit. The AARP recently published useful tips on how you can gradually cut soda from your diet and live a healthier life. We’ve summarized these tips and added a few extra notes below.
- Take it slow: Did you know it takes at least 21 days to form a new habit or break an old one? If you’re a frequent soda drinker, it will take time to unlearn that old habit (especially since caffeine is mildly addictive!) But if you buckle down and stick to a plan, you can get to a point where drinking soda is no longer a part of your regular habits.
- Set clear goals: One of the important first steps in quitting any habit is setting clear, achievable goals. For example, if you currently drink multiple cans of soda each day, try cutting it down to just one. With that habit under control, you can move to a few cans a week or fewer. Eventually, you’ll be able to enjoy soda as an indulgence on special occasions.
- Find an alternative: Got a craving for soda? Don’t let yourself go thirsty. Try drinking a healthy alternative, like sparkling water without sugar, instead. You can add fruit, cucumber, or fresh herbs to make it more flavourful.
- Change your routine: For some people, cracking open a can of soda becomes part of their daily routine. You might be used to visiting the vending machine with your co-workers at lunch break, or swinging by the refrigerator on the way to your favourite living room chair. Try replacing this habit with something equally rewarding, like eating a healthy snack or getting some fresh air.