Soft drinks are very popular with a lot of the population and they are often cheaper than a bottle of water.
Regular consumption of sugary soft drinks has been associated with higher risks of developing diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, gout and obesity. Sounds scary? It is! The simple reason behind this is the amount of calories contained in many of these drinks. There are approximately 140 calories in a regular can of Coca Cola, and this is pretty similar with other brands as well. So by drinking 3 cans a day will add over 400 calories to your daily intake. Do this every day for a week and you could be increasing your weight by almost one pound. Doing this every day for a year could mean your weight increasing by around 3.5 stone. Now that is scary; just from 3 cans of sugary drinks per day.
Now turn that around; if you are currently drinking 3 cans of sugary drinks per day, think of the weight you could lose by cutting them out. Now you won’t lose 3.5 stone as your body will get used to not having them, but they are easy calories to cut out and will make a big difference to any weight loss programme.
What about the sugar-free alternatives; they must be better surely? They do not contain sugar and so most are calorie-free, however, they do include artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of sugar. As they are generally calorie-free most people will drink more than they would usually consume of the full-sugar versions. By drinking more of these it is possible for you to become addicted to the sweeteners in the same way you would to the sugar in the full-calorie versions.
Now although I couldn’t find any evidence to prove long-term health risks, there have been studies completed that have linked ‘diet’ soft drinks with tooth decay, osteoporsis, heart disease and depression. Still not good news then!
Now, as with everything I advocate, it is probably not going to be sustainable to ‘never have another, ever!’. Consuming both full-calorie or diet versions of drinks occasionally is not going to cause any major health or weight issues. It is the regular and over consumption of these that are the issue.
Here are my top tips to reduce your consumption of soft drinks.
Don’t buy them – This is probably the easiest way to reduce consumption. If you don’t put them in your shopping trolley you are less likely to go out to the shops just to buy a can. Remember, ‘out of sight, out of mind’
Know your triggers – Do you drink soft drinks only at certain times of the day or at certain places? By identifying these triggers, you are more likely to find strategies to deal with them.
Take it slow – In an ideal world we wouldn’t consume any of these drinks. However, we don’t live in the real world and for any changes to be sustainable start by reducing your intake by half. Then next week reduce it by half again. Soon you will find you are not having them every day and your habit is broken. You will then find it easier to reduce consumption even further if needed.
Make a healthy swap – We all need fluids to survive so if you are reducing your intake of soft drinks you need to replace them with something. You can try to swap the soft drink for a healthy alternative, such as water. If you don’t like the taste of water (as my wife doesn’t), you can add a slice of lemon, lime or orange for taste. Carbonated water with a slice of real fruit can also trick the brain into thinking it is having that can of soft drink.
Have a cup of tea – If you want more flavour than plain water, why not try to replace your soft drink with tea? Herbal, green and white teas have got numerous health benefits and are usually much better for you than the soft drinks.
Remind yourself – Always remember why you are doing this. Is it to:
Enhance your health?
Reduce your intake of caffeine (contained in most cola related drinks)?
Reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners?
Whatever your reason, remember it and keep it in mind when you buy your shopping.
If swapping to tea or water doesn’t make you crave the soft drink less, remind yourself why you are quitting soda. Is it:
– To enhance your health?
– To reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners?
– To reduce your intake of phosphoric acid?
– To reduce your intake of caffeine?
– To save money?
Whatever reason you may have, you know you will feel better for it!
Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?
Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation
Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org