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How to quit a soft drink habit

He used to drink up to 8 cans of Diet Coke a day.

By Karen Datko Dec 10, 2009 6:19PM

Any fool knows that you can save money by not drinking soda. But what if you’re a soft drink freak?


During his more-than-decade-long love affair with Diet Coke, Steve at brip blap sometimes drank eight cans a day. Reportedly, the caffeine in Diet Coke and other types of pop can be addictive.  

Steve quit in 2005. He might drink a regular soda from time to time, but diet no longer passes his lips.


How did he quit? Among his tips:


Imagine your savings. Steve writes: “I was working in one office where the Diet Coke was free, which was fine, but when I moved into consulting I found I was dropping $1.25 four or five times per working day (let alone at home) to get a soda. That’s almost $1,600 per year.” (This makes us think of that angry woman in the commercials opposing a tax on soda and sugary drinks, who appeared to consider them an essential food  group.  Lady, if you’re already struggling financially, cut out the pop.)

Adam at Your Money Relationship, who gave up his daily 20-ounce Pepsi as part of a new focus on health, estimated that if he had continued that pace for the rest of his life, he would have spend $51,000.  


Find other things to drink. Steve mentions the benefits of water (room temperature goes down easier than ice cold, he says) and tea, and strongly recommends one part juice mixed with two parts seltzer as a satisfying substitute. If you have caffeine withdrawal -- and aren't giving it up entirely -- develop a taste for black coffee (made at home, of course).


Tipnut said a glass of water with lemon juice on crushed ice worked for her as a soda subsitute. "The crushed ice added a bit of ‘texture’ to the beverage that I felt was an acceptable replacement to the carbonated soda," she wrote.


Avoid mixed drinks that include pop. Steve loved Stoli Vanil with vanilla-flavored Coke, when it was available. He drinks wine now.


Seek support. If you tell everyone you’ve quit soft drinks, you’ll be less inclined to backslide.


Be patient. He says the craving disappears in a few weeks. Now diet sodas taste like chemicals to him, and regular soda is much too sweet. “Soda is just one of those things you’ll never miss once you give it up,” he says. “Trust me.”


Why quit? Steve writes, “Sodas cost a lot of money, they eat away at your insides and your teeth, they dehydrate you, and the long-term health effects of aspartame (for diet drinks) are still being debated.”


For the record, the Coca-Cola Co. stands by its products.


(Actually, Coca-Cola is not an effective toilet bowl cleaner, as some claim. For more Coke myths -- and there are plenty -- read this report at


Related reading:

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