Drinking Soda: Is It Good for Your Health?

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If you need an incentive to stop drinking soda, continue reading to learn about the pros and cons of giving it up.
a young woman drinking soda from a bottle of Coca Cola

This post was originally published March 2, 2010.

I used to love drinking soda – Coke Zero specifically. Because soda contains sugar or artificial chemicals, it is harmful to our health. For this reason, I decided to wean myself off it in 2010. I would find myself near the end pouring myself a shot glass full and nursing it throughout the day. And then I was free. 

I remember after giving it up for two weeks, I tried to drink a glass with my dinner. However, after taking a sip, it was far too sweet and didn’t taste good at all. So, I gave it to my husband and opted for water. 

It’s now 2024 and in all this time I’ve only had the occasional sip here and there and I don’t miss it. I even get a bit dizzy when I try it so there is a big reason to continue to choose other beverages. If you need an incentive to stop drinking soda, continue reading to learn about the pros and cons of giving it up.

The Health Impacts Of Drinking Soda 

While soda often contains carbonated water as its main ingredient, sugar is a close second. 

Sometimes, the craving for something sweet and bubbly can be strong. Soda offers a fizzy, sweet taste many find satisfying, and it’s not uncommon for people to indulge in drinking it frequently. 

Beyond just having a single can, some individuals turn to soda throughout the day for relaxation or to stay alert. Such habits, however, greatly increase the risk of dental cavities.

Good dental care goes beyond simply aiming for shiny teeth; it also involves being mindful of what we consume, as diet directly affects oral and overall health. Poor dental habits can be linked to serious conditions like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Most sodas are laden with sugars and sometimes caffeine, offering little to no nutritional value. While they may contribute to staying hydrated, the high sugar content makes them a less healthy option for quenching your thirst.

On a warm day, reaching for a cold soda might seem appealing, but these drinks are calorie-rich and only temporarily satisfy the thirst for something cold and sweet. Instead, opting for a nutritious alternative like flavoured water or juice is a healthier choice.

The appeal of soda can be partially attributed to the sugar rush it provides, activating the brain’s pleasure centers. This is similar to why some might prefer a sugary treat like a doughnut over a vegetable like broccoli. Additionally, the carbonation in soda often enhances its refreshing quality, something that flat drinks simply can’t replicate.

If you’re considering cutting back on soda, know that it can be hard to break such an ingrained habit. Convincing yourself to stop requires understanding the challenge and being ready to commit to healthier alternatives.

a female hand tips a red can and powdered sugar pours out

When You Stop Drinking Soda, How Does Your Body Change?

When you decide to stop drinking soda, various beneficial changes occur in your body, reflecting its ability to repair and rebalance the effects of high sugar and caffeine intake. Here’s what happens:

Reduced Sugar Intake: By eliminating soda, you drastically cut down your daily intake of added sugars, reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Improved Dental Health: Soda’s high sugar content and acidity can erode tooth enamel and promote cavities. Stopping soda can lead to better oral health and fewer dental problems.

Weight Loss: Since soda is high in calories, cutting it out can help reduce your overall caloric intake, which can lead to weight loss and a decrease in obesity-related health issues.

Stabilized Energy Levels: The sugar and caffeine in soda can lead to spikes and crashes in energy and blood sugar levels. Without these fluctuations, your body can maintain more consistent energy levels throughout the day.

Enhanced Hydration: Soda can actually dehydrate you because of its caffeine content, which is a diuretic. Switching to water or other hydrating beverages can improve overall hydration, benefiting your whole body’s function.

Bone Health Improvement: The phosphoric acid in many sodas can interfere with calcium absorption, weakening bones over time. By quitting soda, you might improve your bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Quitting soda can be a significant step toward a healthier lifestyle, leading to numerous benefits and a better-functioning body.

Pros Of Giving Up Soda

Giving up drinking soda brings several advantages to your health and overall well-being. In addition to what I just mentioned, here are some pros of making this significant lifestyle change.

Improved Hydration: When you opt for water instead of soda, you’re choosing the best possible source for rehydration. This shift can alleviate stress on your kidneys and fulfill your body’s needs more effectively.

Healthier Teeth: Soda, both sugary and diet, can erode tooth enamel due to its high acid content. By eliminating soda from your diet, you protect your enamel from decay and may notice a reduction in tooth sensitivity. A brilliant smile and fewer trips to the dentist could be in your future.

Reduced Sugar and Calorie Intake: Eliminating soda cuts down on your consumption of empty calories and excessive sugar, which are closely linked to weight gain and metabolic issues such as high blood pressure. This change not only helps in managing your weight but also supports your body’s metabolism.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease: Cutting out diet soda, in particular, is beneficial for heart health. Research has shown that those who consume diet soda regularly have a significantly higher risk of heart disease and stroke. By quitting, you reduce this risk considerably.

Potentially Increased Lifespan: Much like the effects of smoking, sugary sodas can accelerate the aging process of your body’s cells. Replacing soda with water – a healthy and cost-effective option – can potentially slow down this process, contributing to a longer and healthier life.

By stopping the soda habit, especially if you’re at risk for heart disease, you’re taking a proactive step toward maintaining your health and enhancing your quality of life.

Cons Of Giving Up Soda 

The process of giving up drinking soda, despite its numerous health benefits, can have a few downsides, primarily during the initial adjustment period. Here are the cons associated with kicking the soda habit.

Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms: Since soda contains addictive substances like caffeine and sugar, cutting it from your diet can lead to withdrawal symptoms similar to those experienced when reducing other addictive substances. This can include headaches, drowsiness, and irritability, reflecting the body’s adjustment to the absence of these ingredients.

Increased Soda Cravings: The combination of caffeine and sugar in soda can make it a particularly hard habit to break. You may find yourself experiencing strong cravings for the taste and the temporary energy boost it provides. These cravings can be intense and difficult to ignore, especially in the early stages of quitting.

Potential Weight Reduction Challenges: While the possibility of weight loss is generally seen as a positive outcome, for some, it might pose a challenge, especially if the weight loss is rapid and unintended. Adjusting your diet to ensure you’re getting enough calories and nutrients is essential after cutting out soda.

Risk of Overeating Other Sugary Foods: In the absence of soda, you might find yourself seeking other sources of sugar to satisfy sweet cravings, which could lead to overeating high-sugar foods. This can undermine efforts to maintain a healthy diet and manage weight effectively.

Adjustment to New Beverage Choices: Replacing soda with healthier options might require some adjustment. For those used to the sweetness and caffeine boost of soda, opting for unsweetened tea with fresh lemon or other low-calorie drinks might take some getting used to. Finding satisfactory replacements can be a trial-and-error process.

Although these are potential downsides to quitting soda, they reflect short-term challenges that can lead to significant long-term health benefits.

Two glasses with water, lime slices, and sprigs of mint.

From Fizz To Fresh Start: Embrace A Healthier You

Sipping on fizzy goodness might feel great at the moment, but it’s packed with some not-so-sweet consequences for our bodies. From sneaky cavities and unwanted weight gain to a bigger risk of heart issues and actually speeding up how fast we age – yeah, soda’s not doing us any favours.

When you decide to break up with drinking soda, your body starts to thank you in all sorts of ways. You’ll get hydrated on a deeper level, kiss goodbye to excess sugar and calories, and even cut down the risk of some pretty serious health conditions. It’s like your body takes a huge sigh of relief and starts healing from the inside out.

Now, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it (pun intended) – quitting soda can feel like a bit of a bumpy ride at first. Headaches, cravings, and finding a new go-to drink that doesn’t make you miss the fizz can be a bit of a hassle. But trust me, once you get over that initial hump, it’s smooth sailing.

So, what’s the bottom line? Giving up soda is more than just a trend. It’s a decision that can genuinely turn your health around for the better. Sure, those first few steps might feel tricky, but the payoff? Absolutely worth it. Ditching soda and all its fizzy temptation isn’t just a win for your physical health; it’s a celebration of your commitment to living better and longer. 

Speaking of celebrations, isn’t it about time we embrace traditions that make us feel truly special, like birthdays? Imagine marking another year around the sun by treating yourself to experiences that echo how unique you are. Intrigued? Check out our article, “How To Make Yourself Feel Special On Your Birthday.” It’s packed with creative ideas to make your special day truly about honouring yourself. From self-care rituals to memorable adventures, learn how to set your birthday apart this year and every year to come. Here’s to making every celebration a reflection of our journey towards a healthier, happier life. 

Picture of Elizabeth Ruth

Elizabeth Ruth

Elizabeth is a children's book author and designer of knit and crochet character hats under the brand The Ruthless Crafter. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, spend time with her family, and swim. She lives a full, happy life in Kitchener, Ontario with her husband and their two children.

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  1. VERY proud of you. I bet, if you keep it up… you'll actually be disgusted (and have to PEE your BRAINS out!!) when you take your first sip.

    This is why I've converted to Wine. "All natural grapes"… right??

    PS – LOVE your blog!! And, your header pic. Perfect!!

  2. Stopping by from SITS =)
    I drink a lot of water and not much else, but sometimes I get a hankerin' for a Coke product every once and a while but I usually can't finish the whole thing…
    happy Tuesday,

  3. That's awesome! Your teeth will definitely thank you. Isn't it weird when we quit eating or drinking something and then you go back to it and it's either too salty or sweet?

  4. i stopped drinking diet coke for a while! seriously helped me lose a like 5 lbs!
    unfortunately i bought more and it still tastes delicious to me 🙁 haha

  5. Hi! Stopping by from SITS!

    Sounds like me! I gave up chocolate and pastries/sugary processed foods for a couple weeks (I was ADDICTED) and when I had chocolate on Valentine's Day, I got a headache and my stomach did not love it. Just need to take the initial step and cut something out and your tastebuds change if you keep with it!

    Great job!!

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