May 252015

The trouble with bubbles is that no matter how much they boost your energy on a sluggish day or wash down your meals, they come with a host of health hazards. It doesn’t matter if it’s regular or diet, the more you consume soda, the worse it is for your physical wellbeing. As hard as it may seem, cutting back on your sipping habit will have a positive effect on your health. Here are six ways to prevent your waistline expansion, tooth decay, diabetes and reduced bone intensity, among other disadvantages.

Mix it with water

This will cut back on the sweetness of the soda, which is one of the things people get used to. If you’re drinking less sugar, your taste buds will change and you won’t need that extra sweetness anymore. You can even try to have a big glass of ice water before having sodas. A lot of times, people drink soda just because they’re bored or thirsty and that’s the only option available. Chances are that water will quench your thirst. While you’re out running errands, always carry a bottle of water with you.

Start tracking calories

Your waistline matters. It wouldn’t be surprising to know that each 12-ounce can of a fizzy beverage contains 140 calories, while a 20-ounce bottle has 240 calories. Downloading a calorie-tracking app may help you realise how your daily calorie intake can be affected by its consumption — as long as you actually log in and record each serving. Instead of pouring yourself refill after refill, start paying attention to how much you’re actually drinking. Another way of quantifying the calories you’re drinking is by thinking about how much exercise it would take. A 20-ounce bottle would take five miles of walking or 50 minutes of jogging to burn off.

Switch to unsweetened tea

Caffeine has addictive power. If you’re hooked to a caffeine-based soda, you may experience headaches and other withdrawal symptoms for about a week if you cut down your consumption dramatically. Sip on unsweetened iced tea if you need that java jolt. It can be as refreshing and there are real health benefits of drinking the phytochemicals in tea. If you don’t like the taste of plain tea, put some lemon, mint, or a small amount of sugar or artificial sweetener in it — at least, during the transition phase. The important thing is that you’re aware and in charge of what’s going into your drink and how much of it is added.

Find natural substitutes

Some fruit juices have more calories and cost more than soda, which may defeat the goals you set for yourself. It’s recommended to switch to a brand with fewer artificial ingredients. Opt for drinks that don’t contain high-fructose corn syrup or artificial ingredients and comprise less sugar than some big brands. If it’s carbonation you crave, try plain or flavoured sparkling water.  Toss a little fruit juice or freshly-squeezed citrus in there for flavour. Water can be made more appetising with addition of some fruit or natural flavours.  Add slices of lemon, orange or cucumber to a pitcher of water, which can served as a replacement for a cold soda.

Go caffeine-free

Try buying caffeine-free versions instead if you are unwilling to give up on sodas. In a 2015 study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, participants were split into two groups and were asked to drink as much soda as they’d like for the next 28 days. One group got regular and one got caffeine-free sodas. Although there was no noticeable taste-difference between the two, the caffeinated group drank 53 per cent more over the next month — about five ounces a day. When our bodies get used to regular caffeine, we crave more of it, say the study authors.

Develop a quitting schedule

While some of us find it easier to wean off gradually, others may have a tough time. If you are having difficulties in quitting your soda-drinking habits, think of it as a temporary change. Giving soda up for two weeks or a month may be easier and more manageable than ditching it forever. The best part about this trick is that once your time is up, you may not even want to go back to soda, at least, not at the previous frequency. But if you really love the taste, there is nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th,  2015.

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The post 6 ways your fizzy drink frenzy can get fizzled out appeared first on The Express Tribune.

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