Soda consumption has decreased over the last two decades primarily because people are becoming more aware of its detrimental effects on health, including the high risk of diabetes and obesity. Compare 2000 that reports 53 gallons (ca. 201 liters) of soda consumption per person, to the latest finding in 2018 that shows 38.87 gallons (ca. 147 liters).
However, even with this improved awareness of soft or sugary drinks, many Americans remain heavy on soda, especially adolescents and young adults. But what makes soda so irresistible? Is there even such a thing as soda addiction?
Is Soda Addictive?
As per CNN, yes, it is possible to get addicted to soda. They’re made to have just the right amounts of carbonation, sweetener, and caffeine, making people want to chug them in until the last ounce. Coca-Cola in itself contains 39 grams of sugar.
Once we drink it, we get the sugar rush. With this sugar rush, our brains’ reward center activates, triggering the release of dopamine, then the euphoric feeling. It’s similar to taking drugs. And just as fast as the dopamine came, it will leave just as quickly, too. As a result, your brain will just want more, but you turn to other food cravings.
Caffeine is responsible, too, since it’s a stimulant, and there’s nothing that our brains want the most but stimulation. It does both—speed up our thinking and trigger our bodies to release dopamine. With the sugar and coffee rush, you’re left wanting more to experience the euphoric feeling, making you want to consume soda again for the next time.
Why Is Soda Bad for Your Health?
Consuming soda is one of the leading causes of obesity. This is because soda or sugary drinks don’t make you feel full. In fact, when you drink soda, you’re 70% more likely to consume more calories. Liquid sugars only add up to your calories, too, which is why people who regularly consume soft drinks tend to gain weight more quickly than those who don’t.
When going to the dentist, you might be advised to stay away from acidic and sugary food and drinks. Soda is both—sugary and acidic (carbonic and phosphoric acids)—which combination can result in a tragedy for your teeth. Together, sugars and acids create the perfect environment for bacteria to dwell in your mouth, making your teeth more susceptible to decay.
Many other diseases are linked to soda consumption, including Type 2 diabetes, Leptin resistance, heart disease, cancer, gout, and dementia. Other conditions include the sugars being converted into fats in your liver and belly fat accumulation. It turns out it’s just nothing but sugar, not even a gram of nutrients, just unnecessary calories.
What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Drinking Soda?
Your body will thank you once you decide and proactively act on quitting soda. Firstly, your heart—even just stopping to drink soda in a day can already decrease your blood pressure. Promoting heart health starts the moment you stop drinking soda.
Most people seek the caffeine and sugar rush to help them concentrate, but it’s just short-lived. When you stop drinking soda, you’re avoiding its detrimental consequences for the brain, which include the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other mental conditions.
Stopping soda consumption also means better dental health without the citric acid eroding the enamel of your teeth. Many other parts of your body will significantly benefit as well when you finally quit soda. They include your bladder, kidney, bones, and even reproductive organs.
Plus, it’s the way toward losing weight alongside regular exercise and a healthy diet. Your body becomes much stronger to fight chronic disorders. Most importantly, a no-soda diet is linked to a longer lifespan.
How Can You Stop Craving Soda?
With all the benefits of quitting soda, you might want to exclude it from your diet, too. Here’s how you can curb your craving:
Always choose water
Sometimes, when you feel thirsty, you may feel like craving soft drinks. Try drinking lots of water to quench your thirst. Wait for a few minutes. Later on, you’ll feel the craving subside.
Don’t get hungry
Just like when you’re thirsty, being hungry also makes you crave soda. Avoid getting hungry; it helps to have healthy snacks near you all the time.
Manage your stress
Women are most likely to crave food when stressed, hence more calories. The best one can do is manage stress levels through different ways like meditation, exercise, and more.
Love Your Body, Live Longer
No one wants to get sick—it’s just so costly and hassling. So stop drinking soda and other unhealthy habits. Pair that lifestyle change with a healthy diet and exercise, and you’ll be reaping the health benefits for many years.