Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just Say No... to Soft Drinks

I was thinking that cutting out soft drinks would be a topic for "Simple Changes". Then, I reconsidered. I remember all too well my days of drinking Mountain Dew. Making this change may be simple, but I don't think it is as easy as selecting an all natural peanut butter.

Trust me, I know that breaking habits can be tough. Eleven years ago, I gave up soft drinks. It was a huge benefit to my health... and to my teeth. I'll tell a short personal story, and then I'll get to the practical stuff.

I drank a lot of Mountain Dew. Way too much Mountain Dew. It carried me through college, I am very sad to say. Shortly after I gave up soft drinks, I visited the dentist. New town, new dentist... and I previously had just been getting my teeth cleaned by students at the local dental hygiene school for free. The dentist made note of the demineralization on my back molars and asked if I drank Mountain Dew. My shocked response was a hesitant, "I DID, how did you know?"

He told me that what he saw was commonly referred to as "DewMouth." Apparently, it is a growing problem among young people who drink a lot of soft drinks... and especially Mountain Dew because it is one of the very highest in sugar concentrations. YIKES! I had to get my molars drilled and filled. Fun :0

Soda in Glass with Ice by Martina Urban

Most beverages are high in sugar... Kool Aid, Sodas, Bottled Teas, "Juice" Drinks. They are all high in sugar and devoid of any other nutritional value. These empty calories can lead to blood sugar spikes and plunges, weight gain, and even heart palpitations. Okay... so the list goes on, but I don't want to focus too much on the negative. Please read this amazingly simple yet informational article on the Soft Drink epidemic in our nation.

Unfortunately, diet drinks made with artificial sweeteners are just as bad. Artificial sweeteners that have been around long enough have left a trail of infamous results. Splenda has not been around long enough yet, but its time will come.

What you drink is a big part of your health. So, if you do drink soft drinks, I encourage you to let them go! If your children regularly drink sugared beverages, please work to replace them too. It may take a bit of smarts, but your children need you to guide them in this area.

Replace soft drinks with good, pure water and the occasional 100% fruit juice. Or, you can brew green tea and add a little bit of honey. Keep a chilled pitcher in the refrigerator for a slightly sweet replacement beverage without having to prepare something. It may help your children if they have their own BPA-free water bottle to drink from... something to make water more exciting.

I'd love to hear from my readers... have you given up soft drinks? If so, what did you replace them with? We would all benefit from reading your successes! Please comment to share what you have done.

Bottom line, you can do it. I am confident you can!



Noel said...

I've gone to water only around here. We gave up coolaid lately after cleaning the furniture and realizing how much had been spilled on it. Sweet tea has been gone since Daddy and I have been dieting. We never spent the money on cokes. If you prioritize your grocery money, there won't be money for cokes. Water is cheap and good for you :)

Kathryn said...

This has been a hard one for me, & i'm up & down on it.

In 2005 i had blood work done, & my triglycerides were 658! (The docs & drug companies want them under 150) The docs choked & told me i HAD to go on statins. But we want a family, you see. And i was already coming to the conclusion then that statins are not the miracle drug they are made out to be.

I was already trying to be healthier, & did some reading & learned that the HFCS gets directly converted to fat & triglycerides. So i stopped soda. The next time blood work was run 9 months later that figure had dropped to 178 - 480 less. (Stupid doc didn't look at previous levels, only the current ones & said, "Oh we HAVE to get that number down.)

I wish i could say i never drink soda. I do well for a while & then start slowly & soon i'm drinking them again. But i know there are so many bad things in them that i work very hard not to. Mostly, especially at home i drink water, or sometimes tea. I have a bunch of SoBe bottles (no i don't drink it) & they are wonderful for filling up with good water from home & taking them instead of buying bottled water. I'm trying! :)

Christian Frugal Mama said...

I've always been a mostly water girl, but my husband... he admitted lately that if I bought soda he'd drink it all the time. I smiled and said "yep, that's why I don't buy it!" You have to stop it at the source! :)

Amy Ellen said...

Wow, Kathryn!

That is an amazing story. Thank you for sharing that with us! I am stunned at how your triglycerides dropped... good for you! Keep up your efforts... it DOES make a difference!

Blessings and health,
Amy Ellen

travelingstacey said...

I can totally relate to the Mountain Dew thing. I drank it very often in college. Since then, I have really tried to keep soft drinks at a minimum. I rarely buy them, I don't want my children to have them, but every so often I get a craving for a cherry Coke or a cherry Sprite at Sonic. Usually just a few sips will knock out the craving and I move on! But I totally agree that if you take it out at the source, it won't be there! I believe that our children take a lot of cues from what they see us drinking. I've been drinking a lot more water lately, and my daughter has now started requesting water to drink more than juice. I hope we'll keep that up!

Martha said...

Err, I did give up soda.... for coffee :)

Okay, that's not good at all. But I think I've greatly improved, I used to have 5 soda cans per day along with an entire coffee pot's worth of coffee :o) how dreadful!

Now I am slowly dropping to one cup of coffee per day, 4 or 5 water bottles, and I rarely have soda. If anything, I drink soda three times a week. So that is a great improvement for me (sigh) ask me again in a year ;-)

Amy Ellen said...

That is an improvement, Martha! You're doing great with your water intake each day... don't be too hard on yourself. Like I've said before, your efforts are going to pay off. Keep at it!

Love and peace, ae

Jean Joiner said...

ok...did the peanut butter...can't get rid of the soda. i don't drink a ton of it, but this post is thought provoking.

Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

We are a water only family as. Occasionally I will make iced tea, but not all of the relations like green tea, so sometimes it's regular iced tea. Our little one is almost 2 and we do not keep juice in the house. She does get juice at the mom's morning out program (I have requested that they give her water, but that doesn't always happen.)

We drink water for our health, but also for budget considerations.

Joyful Melody said...

Giving up soft drinks was hard, but certainly worth it. What I did was start with something positive. Instead of saying, "I'm going to give up soda," I decided to put myself on a 30 day challenge for water drinking. I set up a goal for myself to get my 8 glasses of water in every day for 30 days. If I hadn't had half of the water I needed in a day, I couldn't drink anything else yet.

What I found after 30 days was that I had so much more energy. Water doesn't have all the sugar that so quickly wears you down. Not only that, but my body was much freer of the other toxins in soft drinks (dyes, preservatives, etc.). After those 30 days, if I didn't get enough water in a day, I would feel sluggish and just all around gross. Nothing relieved that feeling like a few glasses of water, so I drank more and more water. The more water you drink, the less you feel the need to drink anything else.

If the sugar cravings are a problem though, I highly recommend hard boiled eggs be added to your diet, or some other complete protein. I am not a nutritionist so I don't know all the why's, but adding more protein to my diet really helped when I was plagued by cravings for candy and soda.

debevans said...

I'm on day #23 of "no soda" :) I'm trying to Get Healthy this year! I'm posting over at

I use to drink a TON of Coke so it hasn't been easy...but so far so good!


WiJoyMom said...

I was never a big soda drinker. During my pregnancies I tried to cut back on soda or cut them out because of the caffeine.

When I was no longer pregnant, I'd have a soda occassionally during the week.

I think it was after my 4th pregancy, I thought...why am I going to drink soda again? if I was able to get along without it when I was pregnant, when start drinking soda, now I only have one maybe once a month or two, when we go out to Culvers.

Now, if I could only get my hubby to cut back on his Dr Pepper. One time for a month he fasted from Dr Pepper. He was able to make it through the month. He did joke he picked Feb., a short month.

We have 6 children, aka blessings.