Updated on 11.21.07

The Expenses of a Soda Pop Addiction – And How to Defeat It

Trent Hamm

My wife and I have both been addicted to soda for many years. On an average day, I would drink six cans of soda and my wife would drink four cans, meaning we would go through ten cans a day at our house.

The Direct Costs

We would typically buy soda by the case from Sam’s Club, where we would pay about $5 for a package of 24 cans. At a rate of ten cans a day, that means we’d blow through a case in about 2.4 days, meaning our cost for our soda pop addiction was about $2 a day.

But that’s not all. Probably twice a week, we would buy a soda from another source, costing roughly $1.50 each. That’s another $6 a week on top of the $15 a week we would spend on the canned soda. This adds up to a total cost of almost exactly $3 a day for our soda habit.

That doesn’t seem like much at first, but let’s stretch that out to a year. Over 365 days, that $3 a day turns into $1,095 – almost an extra house payment. If I make that extra house payment each year instead of buying the soda, we could actually pay off our house eight years earlier.

The Indirect Costs

There are a number of indirect costs to consider as well. Each of these effects adds up to a number of costs, either directly financial or indirectly via negative social effects. While it’s difficult to calculate costs of these, the costs are real and should be considered.

Obesity Soda essentially adds calories to water, meaning that you’re consuming more calories by drinking soda than by drinking equivalent amounts of water. Unless you’re burning those calories, they’re going to contribute directly to weight gain (or at least difficulty in weight loss).

Tooth decay Soda contributes to tooth decay, even if you’re extremely diligent with tooth care. If you value personal appearance, know that later in life, your consumption now will likely have very negative effects on your teeth later.

Bone weakening Phosphorus, a common ingredient in soda, contributes to bone weakening by depleting bones of calcium. Early in life, this isn’t much of an issue; late in life, however, you’ll regret all of those sodas.

Caffeine dependence If you’re a regular user of a caffeinated beverage, you know quite well about the negative effects of withdrawal: headaches and lethargy, for starters. Your body begins to assume that a certain level of caffeine is “normal” and thus doesn’t react well when there is no caffeine.

Killing the Addiction

As a result of this information, several months ago I made a sincere effort to kick the soda addiction – and it worked. I might drink one a week now – far, far better than the ten a day I was drinking. Here are some powerful tips for kicking the habit.

Try starting the habit kicking on a Friday. For me, the second and third days were the hardest, as I had a deep headache and wanted to sleep a lot. Thus, it was very nice to have those pains on a weekend where I could sleep a lot.

Whenever you crave a pop, drink a big glass of water. I came to discover that my cravings for pop were actually cravings for caffeine and for hydration. By drinking water, I was taking care of that hydration demand. However, for the first few days, I drank a lot of water – more than a gallon each day.

Try adding fruits to your water. I found that slicing a lime or a lemon and putting slices of those in the water made it much more palatable to me, especially since my deepest soda addiction was to Mountain Dew.

Get some support. My wife helped quite a bit with this, doing far more than her fair share of the housework and child care for a few days so I could sleep and be miserable and have someone to complain to. She did it with charm and aplomb (as she usually does). Any time you take on a major personal challenge, good support makes all the difference.

The best time to get started on the difficult task of kicking an addiction is right now. If you’re addicted to soda, take a serious look at what it’s costing you and think about making a change for your own good.

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  1. Sandy says:

    Are you sitting down? One 12 oz. can of coke has 12 teaspoons of sugar in it! One teaspoon of sugar is 16 calories. 16 x 12 = 192 calories per can of coke. Drink a 6 pack? That’s 1,152 calories! You were drinking a 6-pack, 7 days in a row? That’s 8,064 calories. A pound has 3,500. Oh – My – God.

  2. Elaine says:

    I insist on only buying GOOD pop. Old fashioned root beer or whatever, in glass bottles, you know the type. This way I can’t possibly buy it very often, because it can cost $2 or more a bottle. Essentially it becomes a special-occasion-only thing.

    Though I don’t know if that would help people with a pop addiction. I never was a big pop drinker anyway.

    You can also brew your own, which I’m planning on trying…

  3. Kristine says:

    I used to drink about a 6-pack of Coke a day. Then I switched to diet, then finally quit altogether. I can’t believe how addicted I was. It was almost as bad as cigarettes – running to the grocery store just because I was out of Coke! I’m very glad to have kicked that habit…

  4. EP says:

    Congratulations on beating your addiction!

    Another way to transition from sodas to water is to drink carbonated water with a scent of lemon. I drink that once in a while for variation. Since it’s carbonated it still has that soda-like feeling. Then again I’m not a big fan of sugary drinks. I feel physically bad after more than one or two cans of soda or juice (Sticky teeth, weird feeling in stomach etc.)

    Can I ask how you got to drinking six sodas a day?

  5. Jim Jones says:

    Good job! I quit smoking about 2 years ago and just quit drinking pop about 2 months ago. I’d much rather quit smoking again than have to go through pop withdrawl again!

    Keep spreading the hope!

  6. ess says:

    It’s not hard to get to six sodas a day – one in the morning to wake up, one at lunch, one at dinner, a couple here and there when you get sleepy…

    I kicked the habit a while back, but slipped back into drinking sodas to stay awake. This is good inspiration to get back on the wagon!

  7. UltraRob says:

    The more stressed I am the more pop I drink. Even though I do long distance cycling, it still affects my weight. I was drinking a 6 pack and quit cold turkey because I found once I had a can I would crave more for the rest of the day.

    During the last year I’ve been really stressed at work and started drinking again. They provide all we can drink free at work so dollar costs hasn’t been an issue but my health has been affected. Today is my last day at my current job. I start a new one next Monday without free pop. My plan is to quit cold turkey again because I’ve tried moderation and it’s never worked. For me it’s all or nothing.

  8. Jon says:

    What a great article. I’m going to pass this on to a friend. :)

  9. brent says:

    it’s easy.

    one day, today, just start drinking nothing but tap water.

    that’s what I did. end of problem.

  10. Ben says:

    Hello Trent,

    Great to see someone else kicking an addiction to sodas.

    During the last two years I decided to give up my two can a day habit and this year I finally found the perfect accountability measures and mental mindset to finally give up my addiction.

    I set up an excel spreadsheet that records my consecutive days without drinking any sodas and the money that I haven’t wasted. I also set up the spreadsheet to show how many times regular bills would have been covered by the money not wasted.

    I also made sure that I drank some water every time I felt like a soda. Your tactic of having sliced fruit is very good and is one that I have also used successfully.

    I also know that from past experience that in the past when I have tried to quit and have been successful for a couple of weeks, that when I relapse that the first couple of cans taste really horrible.

    I have been successful for 235 consecutive days and on the odd occasion when I might weaken I mentally reinforce to myself just how horrible that the taste would be and how horrible I would feel after spiking my blood sugar up and then down.

    Stay strong with your commitment.

  11. contentgrrl says:

    Great suggestions! I’d love to make that extra house payment, or put more into savings.

    We’ve been addicted to Diet Pepsi for years. When I had my babies I switched to the Splenda-sweetened Pepsi One. But it’s still an expensive habit. I’ve been trying to cut down, but I’m still two a day (lunch & dinner), and my husband drinks it like water.

    TIP: I’d suggest trying tea if you’re not all that into water. My favorites are Bigelow Earl Grey Green (basically green tea with bergamot), and Twinings Jasmine Green Tea, and I’ll do a Decaf Green overnight. I’ve gotten a Rubbermaid 32-oz. guzzler, and I fill it with hot water, two tea bags, and two sweeteners.

    TIP2: Green tea is best brewed with merely hot water, not boiling water. So it’s quicker than most teas too. YAY!

    I’m proud of my family members who’ve quit drinking alcoholic beverages. Big anniversaries are coming up!

    And I’m proud of my husband for quitting smoking. He started out limiting where he could smoke. First, no more smoking in his new car. Then, no more smoking in his new apartment, and certainly not in our house. Then, one fewer smoking break during his workday. Then, only at lunch. Then, not even while out with friends or outside our house. He’s been completely smoke-free since September 11, 2001.

  12. Jean says:

    Pop was a special occasion treat growing up for both hubby and me, and now that I have type II diabetes, I prefer to get my badness through something I really love, like good chocolate. (I am totally diet controlled, and as I continue to lose weight am very hopeful that I will beat this entirely till my old age, like my mother.)

    But the thing that really got to me about pop was the fact that, a few years ago, Coca Cola announced they were trying to make Coke a household staple in Europe, the way it’s a staple over here.

    A staple.

    As in: flour, sugar, milk, eggs — something you will find in every household as a basic necessity.

    For some reason, the arrogance of that statement really ticked me off. I not only swore off Coke (not hard to do) but I went as far as to figure out what snack products they owned and they weren’t in my house either. (Also not hard to do for us)

    When I think about it, it still ticks me off. But — they were right. My husband and I own a janitorial company, and in one place the recycling is limited, so he bags the 2 liter bottles, since they take up the most space, and brings it home. In about a month, we’ll get enough 2 liter bottles to get about 15 bucks at the recycling place. (About 150 bottles)

    And that’s at a place that has 34 units, and he doesn’t take the cans or glass bottles.

    So I guess pop is a staple.

  13. Jim says:

    Isn’t it interesting that you can tell what part of the country someone is in by what they call this kind of drink?

    Here in the South, it is pretty much called ‘Coke’ in a general sense, or to be more formal, by the particular brand name it happens to be. For example,

    Q: What kind of Coke do you drink the most?

    A:Mountain Dew.

    I can’t imagine using the words Soda, Pop, or Soda-pop…

  14. Frugal Bachelor has been addicted to soda for almost 20 years, since as a youth working in fast food restaurants, he got to drink all of the free soda he wanted. His addiction is not very costly, at about $3.50/week for a 12-pack of Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi, his nectar of choice. In the past he was seriously addicted, and his all-time record was four 2L bottles in one day; two 2L bottles was typical. Of course, diet soda has 0 calories, and in fact Frugal Bachelor once read a report saying that drinking diet soda is just as good as drinking water, of course, probably many reports also say it is worse. Caffeine is also not necessarily a horrible thing and helps stimulate the metabolism leading to weight loss.

    Once every few years Frugal Bachelor will quit, but falls off the wagon within a month or so. He doesn’t think it is a good addiction, but is one of the more benign addiction out there, he could have it worse. His biggest expense was that he spent around $6,000 for Invisalign treatment, but couldn’t finish because that is incompatible with drinking soda all day long, so he had to quit his treatment .. no refund.

  15. Stephan F- says:

    Mountain Dew has the most caffeine short of stuff like Jolt.
    There was a guy in college who was drinking MD all the time. I don’t know how much he was drinking but it was more then a 6 pack-a-day he could do that during a lab session. He always had a can in his hand.
    One day he started having heart palpitations, so he went to the doctor, who told him to drop the habit or he would drop dead in less then a year. After a hellish weekend DTing, he switched to Snapple and he always had a jar of that on hand.
    Caffeine is nasty stuff.

  16. Sense says:

    I too am in the middle of quitting my soda (Dr Pepper) habit. I was at about one 16 oz. a day at the height of my addiction. Then I went to the dentist and at 29, had my first tiny cavity…and that was it for me–I decided to kick the habit. Right now, I limit myself to one 12 oz. bottle on weekends. During the week, I only drink water, non-fat milk, and the occasional (1/week) juice box. It has worked the past 3 weeks, but now with Thanksgiving, I’m drinking during the week again (that sounds so much worse than it is). Next week, I start again!

    And I’m from the South, and I don’t say ‘Coke.’ I say ‘soda.’ I get what someone means when they say ‘coke’, but ‘pop’ sounds really, REALLY wierd to me. My grandparents lived in northwestern PA and goodness, that was wierd to hear every summer during my visits.

  17. Shevy says:

    Congratulations on battling your addiction Trent. I was also a Coca-Cola addict for years, at about 1/2 of Frugal Bachelor’s consumption rate. The combination of sugar, caffeine and something particular to Coca-Cola gave me a feeling like nothing else.

    I gave it up over 10 years ago and started drinking bottled water. I can’t drink as much water for some unfathomable reason, only about half the amount of Coke I used to drink at the very most. Of course, I never used to drink any water at all until I discovered bottled water, so it’s an improvement at least.

    Back then, caffeine never seemed to bother me. I’d drink some Coke to wake up if I was sleepy in the middle of the afternoon, but I’d also have some just before bed and never had trouble falling asleep.

    Now, I only drink decaf tea or coffee, a maximum of one per day. If I try to have a Snapple at lunch in the summer I can’t get to sleep at night!

  18. kweeket says:

    @Frugal Bachelor:
    I believe there is some controversy over diet soda.
    This 8-year study, performed by the University of Texas Health Science Center, found that “For each can of diet soft drink consumed each day, a person’s risk of obesity went up 41%.”

    One possible explanation is that people who are trying to lose weight switch to diet soda, but the diet soda itself doesn’t contribute to weight gain. The other (more controversial explanation) is that our bodies are primed to expect calories when given sweet foods, so that we will search for those calories by making us hungrier for other food.

  19. Shevy says:

    @ Stephan F

    While there are some kinds of Snapple that don’t contain caffeine (the White Tea Nectarine, for example) most of the usual varieties do (31.5 mg/12 oz container).

    So, your friend may have cut down on his caffeine habit by switching to Snapple from Mountain Dew, but he’s fooling himself if he thinks he’s caffeine-free unless he’s careful to only choose the non-caffeinated types.

  20. JB says:

    I don’t drink soda much anymore but when I do it’s always out of a 2 liter container. Much cheaper on sale than cans. Good luck decreasing consumption, it is a good goal!

  21. Ro says:

    I used to be a total Coke addict but I am doing better. Somewhat, that is. I had a Mountain Dew just today. :( I love Coke and I can’t stand any of the generic ones….it’s about the only thing I refuse to buy generics on. I need to start refusing to buy any of it.

  22. Del says:

    I quit drinking soda about 10 months ago. Just cold turkey to water. I now drink one occasionally at lunch but nothing like the one or two 2 liters a day I used to. I quit smoking cold turkey about a year and a half ago, so this transition wasn’t too hard for me.

    Now I only need to convince myself to buy less stuff.

    Great Blog BTW.

  23. Peter says:

    Some very good advice Trent. My problem is actually with my spouse. It took years to wean her off of regular cola to diet. Now it’s taking years to wean her off of diet to flavored water. I should have her drinking regular water in another decade or so :-). I’ve found that I’m good with water, and if I need to I flavor my water with a little iced tea, koolaid, or a lemon. Still, when the soda is in the house, I’ll find myself partaking more than I think I should, even if it is diet.

  24. Jessica says:

    I recently quit drinking Diet Coke, mainly because I was sick of spending money on it and feeling like I “had to have it”. I wasn’t so much concerned with caffeine, and now I drink a cup or two of black coffee a day.

    I can’t tell if it’s corelation or causation (other things in my life have changed as well) but I do feel better too. I will say that I really hated hearing people talk smugly about how they were so pure and wonderful for not drinking anything but water. Food smugness annoys me so much, but I won’t go off on that tangent.

  25. Uncle Midriff says:

    So if you get your soft drinks for free, and you only drink the diet variety, is there any harm in drinking 4 or 5 cans a day? I really like caffeine, but let’s go ahead and remove that from the equation too and say that your soft drink of choice is Diet Sprite.

    So, without the money issue, the sugar issue or the caffeine issue, is there still a problem?

    Perhaps the reason I am feeling a little bit defensive is because I really enjoy soft drinks. Also, most of the people I have known who swear off soft drinks do so because they have this vague idea that soft drinks are bad for you. Trying to tell them that yes, drinking a 6-pack of sugary soft drinks every day is a bad idea but that, in general, soft drinks aren’t evil incarnate falls on deaf ears; to them, soft drinks of any sort may as well be cigarettes.

    So sure, if you are wasting too much money on soft drinks, quit buying them. If you are overweight, realize that soft drinks (except diet) still count toward your caloric intake for the day, so switching to water would be a good idea. And if your doctor tells you to ease up on the caffeine, then buy all means, do so. But don’t quit having a Coke or two (or three) everyday just because “Health Scare Weekly” magazine told you to blame all of your ills on soft drinks.

    Just to be sure we’re clear, I liked this article. It’s easy to forget how much you spend on stuff that you’re used to having everyday. It also shows that their’s nothing wrong with cutting something like that out if you need to. So I’m not trying to disagree with the author. The reason that I posted is because my Food-Smugness-o-meter was starting to go off a little while reading the comments. :-)

  26. Rob in Madrid says:

    I used to be a big diet Pepsi drinker and I slowly got out of the habit of buying it. As others mentioned Club Soda (carbonated water) is a fabulous alternative. Kids go crazy for it too.

    I’ve been in the habit of picking up a diet coke in the afternoon when I start feeling drowsy till I realized at a euro a pop for an extra 10 cents I could buy a 2L, much better deal. Funny I never bought cans of pop from the store because they were poor value for the money but never thought of buying one from the gas station or store. Still haven’t figured out an alternative for a jolt of caffine in the afternoon yet.

  27. John says:

    Just out of interest, did your wife kick the habit at the same time? Did she get a chance to lie in bed and moan and complain? :)

    I managed to quit drinking Coke after several years of guzzling 5-6 cans a day by being scared out of it – I started getting severe indigestion when drinking it and found out I had a small stomach ulcer. Since getting that taken care of, I stopped drinking it altogether.

    A health scare is the best motivator in the world, I’ve found…!

  28. Chris says:

    Great article. I keep 2 old Gatoraid bottles filled with water – one at work next to my desk and the other at home. I just get in the habit of drinking as much as I can. It keeps me from feeling the need to get up and buy a soda.

  29. vh says:

    It’s interesting to realize people are actually addicted to these products. After this I’ll quit looking down my nose at the poor wretches who haul three cases of the stuff through the supermarket checkout line.

    Especially since I can’t call anyone else’s kettle black: my caffeine addiction comes in the form of French-press coffee of the highest octane. I have a ten-cup French press and, when I’m drinking coffee, will guzzle a potful over the course of a few hours, hot early in the morning and then later as iced coffee. Problem is, as you get older your body doesn’t metabolize drugs–caffeine included–as quickly as it used to. The stuff I lapped up before noon is still in my system by the time I go to bed, and it keeps me awake all night. Trent…seems to me you once blogged about your sleep habits, which sounded suspiciously like mine when I’m on the Killer Bean. Could it be the pop has been keeping you awake?

    Caffeine certainly IS addictive–you get a marathon headache that can go on for as long as a week when you try to kick it. I suspect refined sugar has a similar effect. The more you consume, the more you want. If I buy a small package of chocolate fudge at See’s or the local fancy grocer’s, I find myself wanting to go back and buy some more as soon as it’s gone. It takes several days to get past the powerful craving for more sweets. If that’s true, then pop hits you with a double whammy.

    Icky stuff!

  30. rhbee says:

    Perrier water and cranberry juice mixed to taste contains the carbonation, can be slightly sweet or more, and my lady friends assure me the juice is really good for my urinary tract. Please don’t ask me why the ladies and I would be discussing this.

  31. juliemarg says:

    I’m both inspired and discouraged. I think you have a great idea and I’d like to join you in kicking the soda habit. But I’ve lived in the fantasy that I can quit whenever I want, and the comments demonstrate how hard it will be.

    BTW, I stumbled this post. Happy Thanksgiving to you and I hope it brings you some new readers. ;^D

  32. Elaine says:

    rhbee – that’s true if you’re actually using real cranberry juice. But if you’re buying ocean spray or whatever, you’re probably drinking pear juice with some food colouring and cranberry flavouring.

  33. orphan123 says:

    If you ever wonder what “COKE” will do to your stomach just pour some over a piece of raw beef. I had a friend who had to have stomach surgery due to drinking too much coke.

  34. Maggie says:

    I have not had any soda, save for ginger ale when I am sick, since Jan. 1, 2007. On Jan. 2, 2008, I plan to put that money into my house fund.

  35. Elaine says:

    On the topic of flavouring in juice and soda – sorry to be the bearer of bad news Maggie, but unless you are brewing your own ginger ale or getting it from some old-fashioned family brewery, there’s actually no ginger in it.

    Man, I feel like I am stomping all over everyone’s hopes and dreams today :( sorry

  36. DD says:

    I love green tea throughout the day, but I noticed how badly it stained my teeth. My dentist told me to rinse my mouth out immediately after drinking it, or better, to brush my teeth. Being faithful about brushing afterwards has kept my teeth white.

  37. I’m guilty of this addiction as well. One thing that’s worth mentioning is that you can mitigate some of these factors.

    Two liters of soda allow you more flexibility – you can pour a half glass instead of drinking a full can when you might only want a sip or two. Additionally, I find that 2 liters are cheaper per ounce than the cans since you don’t pay for individual packaging.

    One can choose diet and caffeine soda to eliminate the obesity and caffeine dependence issues. My dentist recommended a straw to eliminate tooth decay. I suppose you could just supplement with calcium to fix that issue as well.

    These are a lot of patches when a simple fix is to stop drinking soda. However, if you find that you can’t break the addiction you might as well mitigate the damage.

  38. Sandy says:

    For all of you Diet soda fans, if you also notice certain aches and pains upon arising or in your hands, you might have a real problem with the aspertame. That is a neurotoxin that really shouldn’t be on the market, yet is being put in so many food products these days.
    A friend of mine drank as much diet soda as your regular soda, trent. One day (soda can in hand) she was complaining about the fact that she couldn’t get up out of bed in the morning, and that her hands were not as nimble as they had been in the past. She’s and artist, and it was affecting her work. I suggested that she stop drinking the aspartame cocktail, and try water instead. She did, and the sensations went away, and she’s never drank the stuff again.
    I think that soda, diet or reg, is really bad for humans in so many ways…from weight, to health, to dental health, to throwing money away…
    If any of you have babies…get them used to drinking straight water, rather than sweet fruit juices all the time…otherwise, they may have a hard time getting used to drinking tasteless water later in life. They learn (from you) that either everything they drink is sweet OR that drinks aren’t always sweet, and so aren’t deprived if they only have water as an option. That was some of the best advice I ever got as a new parent 14 years ago…

  39. N'Awlins Kat says:

    @Uncle Midriff–even without the caffeine, sugar and cash incentives to cut back on soda, there are, unfortunately, other things bad about it. As said earlier, the phosphorus leaches calcium….a big concern, especially for women. Plus, Coke is acidic–there are the ulcers. And the tooth decay…and if you grind your teeth like me and fracture the enamel, then let the acid in to do its dirty business, you, like me, could wind up with 20 lovely crowns. While my dentist is truly an artiste…his kids will go to Princeton on my dime. :(

    Also, to remove all doubts about what caffeine does to your teeth (and gut), you can do the experiment we’ve done with kids; take a baby tooth, drop it in a small glass of Coke, and check it daily. After a week…where’s it gone? The stuff that removes rust from iron and lovebugs from your windshield and grill can totally eat a tooth, leaving nothing behind. Scary. It sure makes a fine point with kids, especially if you do it right after they’ve been to the dentist for a filling. Terror is a fine motivational tool.

    That said, I do love my Coke, too, though not as much as when it was made with real sugar (like Euro coke stil is, I believe). I slashed my daily soda intake to virtually nothing (maybe a can a week) because of a corn allergy and the need to weed out all forms of corn, including high fructose corn syrup, from my diet. Amazing how much that stuff is in! In college, I was a total devotee of Jolt cola, so giving up almost all soda was a challenge for me. This evening, for Thankgiving dinner, I had half a can of Coke and two tablespoons of corn, and I’m still paying for it. :( So I guess ditching Coke was worth it. Though replacing it with coffee probably wasn’t the brightest move. I love ice water, but also crunching ice, which brings us back to teeth. Not a good replacement.

    @Rob in Madrid–can you get those lovely little espressos in Madrid? I got way hooked on Turkish and Greek coffee in college….a little tiny demitasse of TNT. None of this frou-frou half-caf soy double-shot posturing, just good, honest coffee that could strip wax from floors. I had it all over Europe, so it should be an option. Of ocurse, a cup or two can leave you wired for days…

  40. JT says:

    I don’t think a half dozen cans of either regular or diet is a healthy thing…but I don’t think a can a day is too bad. I used to drink quite a bit, but then I cut down to one can of diet Pepsi that I bring with my lunch to work. With dinner I’ll have skim milk or sometimes beer or wine. Other than that, I drink tap water. On weekends, I may have a second can if I feel like it during the afternoon.

    Although the 2 liter bottles are more economical when on sale, I buy the 24 packs at Costco. I find the cans help more with portion control. Plus if you don’t drink alot, the soda in the 2 liter bottles can go flat.

  41. Monica says:

    I was drinking a 2-litre bottle of diet cola in about 2 days or so, and I decided to give it up, partly because of the expense and partly because I am not convinced that ingesting large amounts of aspartame is healthy. I now drink a lot of water and also a glass or two of pure fruit juice (which may have calories but at least it is natural and has nutritional value).

  42. Uncle Midriff says:

    I’ma have to take issue with the claim that Coke is so awful that it can dissolve a tooth. According to http://snopes.com/cokelore/tooth.asp, orange juice or any other highly acidic food could do the same thing. I don’t know how reputable http://www.snopes.com is, but I have heard the same thing from multiple sources.

    As for the phosphorous issue, can anyone provide sources for that? I’m not trying to be a jerk or anything, I’m just genuinely curious about the effects of the type of drink I love so much. If there is research out there that says the phosphorous in Coke is sufficient to make my bones brittle, then I need to modify my intake accordingly. If, on the other hand, it’s just another bit lore started by who knows what, I’ll ignore it.

    @Sandy: Same thing regarding aspartame. I’ve read tons of anecdotes about how bad aspartame is…thing is, the websites on which I read those anecdotes seem less than reputable, and the anecdotes themselves range from “Aspartame makes me feel a little bleh,” to “ASPARTAME MADE MY BRAINS EXPLODE!!!” I have a hard time taking all that too seriously. However, if you have some evidence for the claim that I am ignorant of, I’d truly like to see it.

  43. Mrs. Micah says:

    I was totally addicted to Coke in my freshman year. Or Pepsi. Anything with sugar and caffeine. My roommate did an intervention when she caught me drinking it for breakfast. I went through a hell of a cold-turkey withdrawl. We laid it out as a one-month thing. If I could go 30 days without a drink, then I was ok. And it worked! :)

  44. Carol says:

    I never had soda as a kid — we couldn’t afford it and I never missed it. Once I hit about sixteen I discovered that I was out of step in this issue (as with many more) but didn’t develope a “habit” until somewhere in my thirties, and that was short lived. Then I got REALLY sick and could not keep anything down, ginger ale could be my friend but I knew how bad soda would affect my condition. At that point I discovered “Steaz” green tea soda — the stuff is GREAT. It comes in many flavors, is organic and the glass bottles are refundable in some states.It is not cheap and should be considered a “once in awhile” treat.
    Let this be a lesson to parents — I never had a filling in my “adult” teeth until my mid forties,I do not crave or eat fast food and am now in my late fifties with good health. My Mother had it right — drink water, do not let your kids eat fast food and pack their lunches. You can not miss something you have never had and the money spent on “junk food” and “fast food” could be put to much better use — like your childs college fund, and best of all you and your children will be healthy.

  45. Kate says:

    I switched to diet sodas several years ago. Then, about a year ago, I switched to store-brand sodas, because I couldn’t see paying more just for a name. It’s true at first I thought the taste was a little inferior. But I’ve found that I get used to pretty much whatever taste becomes familiar. I quickly adjusted to the diet sodas and came to actually prefer the taste of diet sodas to full sugar sodas. The adjustment from Diet Coke to store brand diet soda was just no big deal.

    I’ve never drunk soda so much as to see it as an addiction. Many days I have no soda, and three cans per day is probably my upper limit. Still, that’s about 18 cents per can, even after I turn them in for cash at the scrap metal dealer. We try to feed ourselves for an average of $2 per meal. So even an 18 cent soda should be considered a treat in our house.

  46. Leslie says:

    I used to work at a place that had soda available for all employees for free. I already drank a lot of regular (not-diet) coke anyway but that just upped my intake. I never drank coffee so Coke was how I got my caffiene. That was pretty much all I drank all day long – first thing in the morning until right before bed. I started having heart palpitations and decided to try giving up soda to see if that helped. I gave it up cold turkey the day before leaving to visit a friend in Boston. We went to the beach at Marblehead and I layed there with a wicked headache all day. But, I have not had a caffinated beverage since then. That was 14 years ago.

    I did switch to Sprite for a number of years but did not drink nearly as much of it (1 or 2 a day vs. 6 – 8 a day). I gave those up for good about a year ago and now only drink water for the most part (some wine or other alcholic beverage on occasion). I find that it is easy to not drink soda as long as I don’t have one. As soon as I have one the craving for it returns. I am not even talking about the caffeine since it has been so long since I had a caffinated one. The sugar is just as addictive for me.

  47. AnneTanne says:

    When my son was 4 years old, his niece offered him his first glass of Coke. He took a sip, looked very suspicious, and asked her if she was sure the thing wasn’t poisoned. It also was his last glass of Coke (he’s 10 years old now) and he still prefers plain water over soda.

  48. Minimum Wage says:

    I work in a convenience store. All the free fountain soda pop I want.

  49. Minimum Wage says:

    There are home carbonation devices and soda pop supplies (powdered flavor packets) you can buy (sodaclub.com) which make it easier to buy and consume pop, and which are cheaper than name brands, although not necessarily cheaper than store brands.

    I’ve seen plans for making your own carbonation system which are considerably cheaper to operate than what SodaClub sells. If you build your own system and buy the flavorings, it’s a lot cheaper than store-bought.

  50. KarenFLA says:

    My father’s cardiologist told him he could only drink diet rite cola because the others have so much salt they raise your blood pressure.
    Good article. I have a friend who complains about her weight but is always drinking regular coke

  51. Meredith says:

    When I’m tempted to drink a soda, I just think about the 10-12 teaspoonfuls of sugar that are in every can! Eeek! If that doesn’t kill the craving right there, it at least convinces me to drink diet soda!

    I’ve found that after I quit drinking soda of any kind for more than couple of weeks, when I do have one again they taste TOO sugary sweet. Almost like drinking syrup. yuck!

  52. Keiichi says:

    I’m currently at the end of life at my grad school career. I do not want to know how many cans of soda I’ve consumed. Over the summers when I worked cube jobs I rarely drank soda. I don’t want to purely blame it on school, but for some reason the craving is huge!!!

    I’ve gone a few months before where I didn’t have any soda and it actually feels good. Also on top of that it saves tons of money!

    Hands down, water is the best. Get yourself a filter for your faucet or a filtered pitcher, and a bottle and you’re set! Great health benefits and easy on your wallet!!

  53. MattsWifey says:

    Hi Everyone!
    I’m a 24 year old gal in a bachelor’s nursing program….And I was addicted to Diet Coke.
    Being in nursing school, there are overwhelming stressors that cause people to smoke, drink alcohol, and…yes…drink over 2 liters of Diet Coke a day. Diet Coke was my only vice!
    Not only for the caffiene content, but it was more convienent- Drive thru people actually knew me by my “One Route 44 Diet Coke, please” order. My Husband was appalled. We then made the effort to quit Colas all together.
    The first couple of days were the worst- unbearable headaches, the constant needing to sleep, and the crankiness! OMG! It was a wonder he’s still with me.
    After a week, we calculated how much money just I had saved by choosing not to go through Drive-Thrus- it totalled almost $40. How nuts!
    Now, I’m on to 1 cup of coffee in the mornings, and I carry around a 1 liter bottle of water everywhere I go.
    Good Luck!!! It’s worth it!

  54. James says:

    Skip the carbonation and sugar altogether. Weather you drink Steaz – those 35 grams of sugar will do wonders for your waistline or diet pepsi – can you say laboratory rats, none of it is good for you in the long run.And don’t you want to have a long run. Drink water. Drink tea. Everything else is junk.

  55. Pop in America has High Fructose Corn Syrup in it, which is both addictive and is an appetite stimulant.

    A huge money saving tip is to shop carefully and ensure that no product you buy contains HFCS. Once you cut it completely from your diet, you will find that you actually eat less food all around!

    Oh, and I said it addictive because, well, you’ll find out when you try to stop eating it…

  56. Mike Witt says:

    I have been a 7 plus can or sometimes bottle of Diet Coke drinker a day for many years. I have tried many times to kick the habit, but all without success. As soon as I tried to cut down my body would react with mood swings, migraines, and overall just feeling terrible, so I had to return to drinking it. That was until just five days ago. In 5 days I broke my habit without any withdrawals, side affects, headaches, nothing, and feel like a new man. You can read all you want about the goods and the bads of Diet Coke, but when your body tells you something, generally it is for a reason. If anyone wants to break the habit without withdrawals, check out my whole story at http://www.dietdrinkaddiction.com

  57. Jack says:

    I drank sodas all day, and never took in any pure water whatsoever. I devolped a urinary tract infection, and got the message real quick! You need hydration with pure water not soda, if you want to function normally!

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