Beat Your Soda Habit

sodaIf you have a soda habit, it’s time to make some changes. Not only does it contain calories you probably aren’t counting, it’s also addictive. Soft drinks contain sugar and caffeine. It acts the same way in your brain as opioids and releases dopamine, the feel good hormone. In fact, various studies show it’s as addictive as cocaine and the added caffeine in many soft drinks amplifies the problem. So you think that diet soft drinks may be your answer? You’re wrong.

Diet drinks have other problems.

A study from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that soft drinks are equally bad for your health, even though they don’t contain calories. The study used seniors and compared waistline measurements and the amount of diet drinks consumed. They found that those who drank the most, had the biggest waistline. While nobody wants a larger waist, it is also quite dangerous. That’s visceral fat, the worst type of fat that’s stored around organs and causes health issues. It may be due to the artificial sweetener and how the brain identifies the sweetness.

It’s tough to kick the habit.

It may seem impossible if you’re drinking several bottles or cans a day, but it isn’t. You can start by weaning yourself off the drink a little at a time. Find a drink of choice, like unsweetened green tea or bottled water and start replacing one can of your favorite soft drink a day. After a week, if you’re drinking several cans a day, switch out the second can or bottle with water or green tea. While green tea still contains caffeine, it’s far less than coffee or colas or other high caffeine soft drinks, plus it offers other health benefits.

It may be easier to switch when you know all the hazards from your soda habit.

Let’s start with the real show stopper, soda accelerates the aging process. Your chromosomes are protected by telomeres that protect them and determine how many times they can replicate. The longer they are, the younger your biological age. If your chronological age is 42 and you have short telomeres, your biological or cellular age would be much older. Research completed at the University of California, San Francisco showed that people drank just one 8-ounce serving increased their cellular aging by 1.9 years. Drinking more servings per day escalated it. A 20-ounce serving added 4.6 years of aging. Soft drinks also increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, some forms of cancer, osteoporosis and calcium deposits in the lungs, heart, eyes and blood vessels.

  • Carrying your chosen drink with you at all times can help. If water is your chosen drink, it’s far easier. It quenches your thirst better than sodas do, but if you miss the sugar or need some energy, try a piece of fruit.
  • Tracking just how many calories you ingest from soft drinks helps. You’ll be amazed at how just cutting out those calories can help you lose weight without changing anything else. Don’t switch to diet drinks or you’ll be boosting your waistline.
  • Mix your soda with water. Some people suggest you start by mixing a half and half combination and then slowly increase the amount of water. No matter what the combination, it’s a start!
  • If you aren’t ready for plain water, try jazzing it up a bit with fruit or natural flavors. Add slices of lemon or orange to your glass to make it tasty, yet still extremely low in calories.

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