I get it. I have an unnatural addiction to all things Dr. Pepper and/or Mr. Pibb (damn you, Pepper and Pibb). I never developed a vice for coffee or sweets but these particular sodas? Yep. I used to drink 2-3 cans per day. Gross, I know.
I’ve gone cold turkey on them in the past, only to relapse, and then had to wean myself off when I got the dreaded caffeine withdrawal (horrific, I tell you.) We all know how unhealthy sodas are, including diet, but here are the benefits to quitting those carbonated caffeine beverages:
Less Peeing. Yes, it’s true. Soda goes right through you. You may not notice it when you’re downing those cups or cans on the daily but once you quit you’ll notice that you aren’t having to wake up during the night or stop by the bathroom on your way out of the office to run into your bathroom once you get home. Yeah, the promotion of urine production thanks to soda really blows.
Weight Loss. Look away if you don’t want to know the truth but a 12 ounce can of Coke has roughly 120 calories. If you’re downing 2 of those a day, you’re consuming 240 calories just with one beverage. And let’s be honest – – if you’re admitting to drinking 2 cans of Coke a day, you’re probably drinking 3-4. Don’t think you’re off the hook if you’re choosing diet drinks – – the artificial sweeteners in them confuse the body’s natural ability to manage calories and contribute to (weight for it, ha ha) weight gain.
Eat Less (or Weight Loss Part 2). If you are a regular soda drinker, you should already realize that you eat more – – especially sweets – – when you down the cola. Why? Artificial sweeteners cause your stomach to relax and release hormones and also tell your body to expect calories. Lots of them. Cut the cola and the cravings for junk will subside.
Dental Health. No surprise, sugary drinks cause tooth decay and wear down your enamel. I don’t know about you but the dreams I have of my teeth falling out are pretty damn scary. What you may not know is that your cola products also stain your teeth. Yuck.
Save Your Bones. Our bones (and bodies) need water; when we substitute soda for water, we’re promoting dehydration because cola actually leaches calcium from bones. Not only that but the lovely caramel color you see in your glass of Coke contains an artificially created phosphorus that leads to your body wondering whether to absorb or excrete it (the aforementioned calcium leaching) and which can be also be particularly bad news for your kidneys.
Boost Your Immunity. Your digestive system and acidity from soda don’t play well together. Have acid reflux? You can probably thank your caffeine habit for that. (I know I do.) Not only that but the artificial sweeteners lacing diet soda may affect your healthy gut bacteria (which can lead to affecting how your body responds or doesn’t respond to infections.) As if that’s not enough (and shouldn’t it be?), the mucho grams of sugar in a regular soda reduces your white blood cells’ ability to kill germs by 40 percent. All together now – – UGH.
No Red Bull Needed. Despite the temporary sugar rush you get from the caffeine gods, caffeine is really not someone you want to buddy up with. The resulting dehydration will lead (duh) to fatigue and exhaustion. Cut the caffeine, boost the energy. (And who doesn’t need to more energy?) Another upside? Your body has more room and desire for non-processed foods! Yay! (Which in turn will lead to weight loss, more yay!)
Longer (Shelf) Life. It’s true. You may lengthen your lifespan by passing on the cola. Ever hear of a telomere? Nope, I hadn’t either before digging around on this subject. We all have them; they are a compound structure at the end of a chromosome and are present in white blood cells. Apparently most soda drinkers have shorter telomeres than their non-soda drinking pals. That could equate into four years of life. Not too shabby.
So are you ready to kick the habit? And if you have already kicked the habit, please comment on how you did so.