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Since Run4Food asked, the benefits of giving up soda

Friday, December 28, 2012

Some long time readers have heard this story before, so feel free to skip this one if you have, but you know how it happens, someone asks a question and you realize there are folks who walked in on the middle of the blog-stream. So... as a reminder / reinforcement to myself, as well as to let the newbies in on this part, here goes.

In 2008 / 2009 the doctor showed me the results of tests showing significant bone loss in the two years he'd been monitoring. At the same visit, he observed that my blood tests continued to show high levels of calcium. In short, while I was getting enough calcium in my diet and with my supplements, it wasn't translating into bone. Very disturbing.

So he sent me to a specialist, who diagnosed a problem with my parathyroid glands. At the time, I was drinking five or six cans of diet soda a day, and trying to cut back. By the time all this diagnosing was completed, and I got scheduled for surgery to correct the parathyroid problem, I had managed to get myself down to three a day, but I loved my bubbles. Some people don't like the bubbles, but that was the attraction for me.

Anyhow, surgery was successful, and I was reading how the carbonation in beverages was linked to bone loss! Well, duh! My continuing to drink the bubbly stuff was kind of analogous to a lung cancer patient continuing to smoke. So... I cut back further. I allowed myself ONE a day. At work, after my first break, or after lunch was my special treat time.

I set myself a Spark goal, and gave myself a "goal met" for every day I had no more than 1. We all know about the stupid motivational tricks of Spark... they work. I found myself not drinking soda at home on the weekends. Days with 0.

At Christmas dinner, 2009, which was December 27th, due to a huge snow storm, I had what I was determined would be my LAST diet cola. And I started giving myself a star sticker on the calendar for every day I made it with none. At first it was easy... it was Winter and I was substituting coffee for my beverage treat.

I was concerned about the hot weather, but somehow I made it through. I debated with myself about allowing one on the 4th of July, but my Higher Power intervened and my sister forgot to buy any for the celebration that was at her house. Lemonade was just fine.

By the time I reached a year, I threw myself a virtual party, stopped using the stickers, and sometime in the second year I just became an ordinary person who doesn't do bubbles. BUT... I still celebrate the anniversary of becoming carbonation free.

Now, for the benefits, since you've walked through the process with me:
1. Bone loss quit happening. This is HUGE!
2. Surprisingly, I noticed during food lapses, when I got full, soda used to clear up extra space and extend the binge. I found my lapsy - bingy behavior stopped sooner. Maintenance of a healthy weight became easier... and keep in mind, what I gave up was not the sugary soda, but the diet soda.
3. And of course, there is the infamous grocery bill. Soda costs $. It's an expensive habit. So is coffee, but it was a fair swap.

Some people are sensitive to artificial sweeteners in bad ways. I have not observed myself to be one of them, but if you are, this could also be a benefit.

So, without the bubbles? Life's still good. In fact, for me, it's better. If you're considering this as a goal for 2013, it's a good one... Spark on!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Good for you!
    1907 days ago
    I gave up carbonated drinks about a year ago - I am not fit for polite company when I drink anything carbonated. I do miss fountain cokes, though.
    1908 days ago
    I had a period about20 years ag when I was stuck on diet coke. I had a coworker who drank coke and I sort of imitated her... it lasted for a year or so, then I started to think the aspartam tasted too strange and there was never a possibility to have the "real" one for all the I gave i9t up. I still have diet coke at drive through McDonalds but that is not often so I do think I am 95 % bubbles free...
    1908 days ago
    I have cut way back on Diet drinks. Am a water baby now with occasionally having diet coke if we are out and about.
    1908 days ago
    emoticon Just reading some one Else's post about diet soda's how aspartame was originally created as an appetite stimulant for people suffering from anorexia so it would make us binge more Now if I can leave the carbonated drinks alone with your report no doubt that they help cause bone loose
    1908 days ago
  • _LINDA
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    That is awesome! Very well done!
    I all but gave up soda quite a few years ago -just one day I got sick of it, don't know why, but dropped it in favor of juices. I never used diet, couldn't stand the syrupy sweetness of it and it also messed up ice cream floats :P. For the last two years all I have had is water or green tea.
    1909 days ago
    CONGRATULATIONS!! What a huge healthy accomplishment!
    1909 days ago
    . . . and after you mentioned this topic to me, I started paying attention. Diet soda is definitely an appetite stimulator for me. Haven't totally given it up, but I only have it at Taco Bell now. And no refills.

    If I get even a hint of the diet Pepsi causing a real medical problem, I'll go the way you did.

    1909 days ago
    It is also bad for your gall bladder... I gave it up when I joined Spark. There isn't enough time in the day or room in my bladder to drink all the water I need AND soda, so soda had to go. I don't miss it, and it makes the check at the restaurant a little smaller when I go out to eat.
    1909 days ago
    I'm not a huge diet soda drinker anymore but I do drink the sugar free powders you add to water ( like crystal lite). I've struggled with stopping all artificials sweetners and that may just become a good goal for me in 2013. emoticon
    1909 days ago
    I used to be heavy into Diet Coke too...would have one going all day, cracking another open as soon as I finished the first. But when I started suffering from kidney stones, cola drinks were on my restricted list. Not that I needed to totally quit, but to cut way back. Then, once I got out of the habit, I realized days would go by without having even one. Nowadays I only have one rarely...since I don't drink coffee or tea I occasionally have a Diet Coke for a shot of caffeine....or once in a blue moon I'll have a root beer float. Probably less than one can per month -- and I don't miss it a bit!

    Kudos to you! I know how hard this was, and I'm glad you celebrate!
    1909 days ago
    I'm going to pattern myself after you, you ROCK! I quit diet soda this past year, July 2012. It was and is still hard, I was an addict. Now, I occasionally (read: 2x a month) have a little bit of regular soda, usually a sip or two from a family member. But you know what, I think I am ready to GIVE UP the bubbly completely...I'm over half way there anyway, might as well go for the gusto, that will be ONE of my resolutions for 2013. THANK YOU for the idea and inspiration, I wouldn't have even thought to do it on my own.
    1909 days ago
    Well done, I know how difficult it is. I managed to give up diet cola after joining SparkPeople. It was much harder than giving up chocolate, but I feel much better. The craving has now completely gone, but I don't think I trust myself to have even one drink in case it all comes back. There is something very addictive in those drinks and very unnatural as well.
    1909 days ago
    I never was a soda drinker so can't relate too much. I drink water, water and more water. Always have.

    Unless there is beer.

    My vice is craft brews. It's the complex yeasty tastes, not the alcohol.

    However, since I do not brew and there are rare craft breweries around me my vice is only fed on trips to far away places.

    Any craft b's in Nebraska? emoticon
    1909 days ago
    I also have given up soda (coke) about two years ago after my blood test showed my glucose was on the high side. I still have a coke once in a while, but only a small one and then I go back to water and lots of tea. I was already drinking lots of tea, so didn't have the caffine headache withdrawls. I have not been back to the docutor to get a follow up blood test to see where I am with that. But I have started walking and execerising for better bone health. emoticon

    Thanks for posting this wonderful blog about soda. emoticon
    1909 days ago
    Excellent accomplishment! I am not a soda drinker. It takes time to wean off, but well worth the effort.

    HUGS and have a wonderful Friday.
    1909 days ago
  • DALID414
    Wow! I weaned myself off the same way, just one a day with food. Which was usually lunch. I did get headaches the first few days in the afternoons. But the body is amazing at adapting, they soon stopped.
    And you're SO right about the money, I stopped working soon after and realized I wouldn't have the budget to maintain the habit. It's easy at work, co-workers buy you one here and there, but buying your own supply adds up.
    1909 days ago
    That is excellent! Congratulations on three years of no carbonated beverages. Years ago I would drink soda by the 2 liter and decided to stop one day. Every now and again I will have a cup of soda with a particular meal but my body always reacts poorly to the indulgence. These days it is water and maybe coffee once a day.

    1909 days ago
    I love this blog. I gave up soda about two years ago when beginning one of my haphazardous diet attempts which only lasted about three weeks. After the diet failed I attempted to drink the bubbly again and it tasted like syrup. And I was drinking diet! From that day forward, I just stopped. I would have the occasional 1/3 a can once or twice a year during a family barbecue and that was mostly because my family would never buy bottled water. Now I bring my own water to every event. I don't miss it. It makes me feel bloated and lathargic. My beverages now consist of water, green tea, iced tea with Splenda and lemon, and the occasional coffee. Even juice is too sweet!
    1909 days ago
    Good mine is the sugar... I don't drink much pop maybe 1 a week if we go to the legion or none at all. and never diet. But sugar in sweets, choc. omg.... so that is my vice! Going to knock it to the curb this year!
    Have a great day today!
    1909 days ago
    1909 days ago
    Thanks for sharing. I gave up drinking regular coke in September of 2005. I still crave a good cold coke especially with certain meals, but the craving isn't strong. I think it's the memory that I still carry.
    1909 days ago

    I gave up Diet Coke, the only pop I drank, after reading about aspertame and its potential side effects
    1909 days ago
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