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Has anyone kicked the diet soda habit?

I need advice on eliminating or greatly reducing the diet soda I inhale. I drink 3-4 cans of diet pepsi a day, always in the morning at work. I do not like hot beverages so coffee and tea are out. I've tried bringing unsweetened iced tea, which I really like, with lemon added but a couple of glasses of tea gets me too hyper with the caffeine. For some reason the soda doesn't hype me out like the tea does. Decaffeinated won't get me going. I stick to ice water in the afternoons and evenings.

I eat fairly well, lots of fresh veggies and fruit and low-fat dinners, but I can't seem to kick this diet soda habit. I know the stuff is really bad, especially with the artificial sweeteners. I guess I need the caffeine boost in the am so just plain water doesn't do it. I'm also trying to reduce sugar so fruit juices are out as I believe they are heavy with sugar.

Any recommendations are welcome.

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  1. Yep, me. try to identify what it is that draws you to soda. I love carbonation--it's zesty and wakes me up. I switched to seltzer, and often drink it with a splash of lemonade or orange juice. Try Arnold Palmers: half unsweetened ice tea and half lemonade--refreshing without too much sugar or many calories.

    Try to give green tea another shot (it really doesn't have *that* much caffeine, and you can get very light-tasting and fruity varieties), it's sooo good for you.

    You also might try Kombucha--it's a bit like soda with all-natural ingedients and few calories. It's got a very distinct taste that many people hate but I love.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mandymac

      This spring I kicked a long-time diet coke habit. I looked for a substitute that was just as easy and portable and also did not have any calories or artificial sweetners -- I ended up with Mendota Springs bubbly water in lime: just carbonated water and lime in a can. I also relied on green tea or iced tea for times when I needed a little caffeine boost. Good luck!

      1. re: Mandymac

        I just started drinking Synergy Kombucha tea to compensate for cutting back on regular Coke. I like it a lot because it's a little fizzy and gives me a little of an energy kick--not like the kind you get from caffeine--but still makes me feel halfway decent as I ween myself off caffeine. Plus I feel like I'm drinking something healthy. It kind of tastes like Prosecco gone sour. I've only tried the Passionfruit flavor so far but I like it very much.

        1. re: Mandymac

          I second Mandy's suggestions, down to a T. I love the kick of the seltzer carbonization, and frequently "flavor" it with some juice or iced tea. But Kombucha really does it for me. I have taken to brewing it at home, so I can add in the special ingredients I like, freash beery juice and lots of ginger juice. And It is Probodic so it adds good things as well.

        2. If you don't like hot beverages, I suppose you could always do iced tea and iced coffee.

          Once you've hit your fill of caffeine for the day, you might turn to some of the fantastic ideas in this thread, which helped me a lot: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35801...

          I've cut my diet pop consumption way back. First of all, I've brought a giant 32oz mug I fill up with water when I get to work every morning.

          I keep frozen strawberries to use as "ice cubes” in my water throughout the day.

          I keep packets of "true lime" at my desk and at home to flavor my water when I think I need to.

          I also have a Bodum iced tea pitcher I keep at my desk—you put tea bags (you can use de-caf; mint is lovely this time of year!) in the special tea bag compartment, fill it to the “line” with hot water, let it steep, then fill it to the top with ice. It makes a lovely, easy iced-tea.

          Also, I've bought low-sodium club soda/seltzer and I mix it with things: V-8 juice+lime+tabasco; pomegranate juice; OJ sometimes with a splash of grenadine--etc.; when I need something fizzy.

          I hope some of these ideas help! Good luck!


          2 Replies
          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Make sun tea. I often use one or two family size regular or decaf lipton bags and 4 regular size tea bags of the herbal variety. Mandarin orange, raspberry, and lots of other flavors. Then just put it in a mason jar and stick it in the fridge at work. :D

            Also, have you tried the non carbonated fruite flavored waters like Propel? There are some others that are good too. They are very refreshing and have no caffeine.

            I also like plain old ice water - sometimes with lemon juice in it.

            1. re: Bratdawg

              Yeah, that's what I was going to suggest: make your iced tea with part decaf tea, adjusting the caf/decaf ratio until you get the right amount of lift without the buzz.

          2. Club soda with lime. Cold, very cold, club soda with lime.

            I agree with giving green tea another shot. It makes you feel all hydrated and healthy inside.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sed231

              Lemon or berry flavored water, fizzy or still. I like the lemon flavored water because it reminds me of iced tea (and I can't have the caffeine, even if it's decaf, it still doesn't sit with me well). A big jug or water with lemons, oranges, cucumbers, and mint is also very refreshing and can be made in advance (plus sit overnight).

            2. I've been keeping a selection of those little packets of stuff you mix into a half liter bottle of water. Lipton makes them and Crystal Light makes them. There's an astonishing variety of flavor options, including regular, green, and white teas. Yes, they're instant, and yes, they're artificially sweetened, but they might be something to fill in the gap while you get off the soda, and you'd be getting more water.

              Personally I've never been a real big diet soda fan, and I'm starting to lose my taste for regular soda. I either drink these flavored things, or just plain water.

              2 Replies
              1. re: revsharkie

                I don't drink soda much anymore, and I do drin a lot of the Crystal Light single packets in a bottle of water. I especially like the green tea raspberry flavor. It's very refreshing.

                But I have to admit, while it is decaf, other than that is it really any more healthy than soda?

                1. re: puppymomma

                  Well, I don't know, although I think you're getting more water with them, at least a little less adulterated. What I'm thinking is they might be something that would ease a transition between diet soda and plain water--which is, I'd think, the ideal.

                  I'm not much of a soda drinker, really, especially not lately--and I never have been able to drink diet soda; my soda of choice is Dr Pepper and I haven't found an incarnation of Diet Dr Pepper that tasted like the real thing (haven't tried it lately, and don't feel any great need to). I either drink those Crystal Light things or just plain water. And the Crystal Light things have only been drinkable for me since the sweetener has been Splenda. I just can't handle aspartame or saccharine.

              2. I have a similar issue, and it's definitely partly an addiction to the artificial sweetener, and to boot, for now, your tastebuds are somewhat numb to the sweetener and require more of it to stimulate the buds, more so than if you had an occasional soda (when I've given up soda and then have one, it's painfully sweet and spicy (the bubbles hurt on my tongue) like firecrackers on my tongue).

                My substitution is water with a little lemon juice, and a LITTLE splenda. I can control the amount of sweetener, and there's none of the acid that's in soda or carbonation (that contributes to cellulite). I love my faux lemonade at night!

                1. Im with Mandymac - i found what i enjoyed about soda was the fizz. So my switch was to seltzer water with key limes - i find the flavour much better. Club soda (if you didnt know already) is just seltzer water with sodium - sodium, that in large quantities, isnt that good for you. Orange juice and other juices are good too, but have more calories than i sometimes want.

                  I've recently found a new substitute for the sweetness of soda. I make green tea, and then mix it with a cider mix i have. It's concentrated fruit with sugar, but much lower in sugar than soda's (a couple tbsp per 8oz serv). It gets the sweetness i want, with the added health benefits of green tea.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: yen

                    I'd have to disagree with some of the above advice.

                    I havent had soda, diet or otherwise in 6 or 7 years. Why? Because I don't like it.

                    I realized I'd only been drinking it because EVERYONE always is drinking soda in our society to the point that it has become a ubiquitious beverage, and I drank the diet version because I didn't like the taste enough to justify the sugar and calorie expenditure.

                    Why did you start drinking soda? Is it because you like the taste, or because soda comes wiith just about EVERYTHING today--meals, value packs, in vending machines, etc?

                    I do drink coffee, but coffee is not a generic tasting beverage, it's something I seaons for myself, soda is always the same--I bet if you cut it out cold turkey and find something that tastes nice that you like, you won't miss it at all!

                    1. re: veganish

                      Thanks for all the great suggestions. I'm not sure what it is about diet soda, maybe the fizz, maybe the artificial sweeteners, I have always loved it. It's a bad habit that I want to eliminate. Besides, I think the artificial sweeteners make me crave sweets and I'm really trying to lose weight so I want to try to get off it permanently. I have been doing 3 miles a day at the gym for 6 months so now I need to work on my eating & drinking habits.

                      I don't want any artificial sweeteners as a substitute so I'm going to try some of the suggestions above like green tea, decaf/caf combo tea, part tea/lemonade, and seltzer water with lemons/limes. I love the lemon/lime flavor. (of course, tequila and lime is my cocktail of choice). I'll let you know what works for me after a little while.
                      Thanks again all!

                      1. re: katesprings

                        Hi katesprings!
                        I really like mixing herbal and black teas together in iced tea. I get half the caffeine, plus the flavor from the herbal tea. For a gallon pitcher of tea, I'll use 4 black tea bags, and 4 herbal.
                        Best of luck kicking the soda habit. It's not easy! I kicked regular soda, but never went to diet because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't hack the artificial sweeteners. Kicking regular soda was tough though.

                        1. re: QueenB

                          That's a good point--you should start checking out herbal teas. For instance, there's a great tea made by Tazo called Passion--a very strong, interesting flavor with no calories. Chocolate tea is also a good one. Give your tastebuds a real kick. Check out Harney teas also, they are a fun treat.

                          1. re: Mandymac

                            I LOVE Passions tea (Tazo), and even keep a box in my car... great hot or cold... or mixed with club soda. Green tea is also great mixed with club soda over ice.

                            And it is very true that the AS has a stimulating effect on your sweet tooth. When I've kicked the habit in the past, I find that it's kind of a 3 day threshold over which you need to hurdle, and then you don't think of it at all. And, even better, if you avoid carbonation entirely, if you accidentally sip something with carbonation, it feels horrendous on your mouth, not to mention that anything sweetened tastes ten thousand times as sweet and saccharine. The process is similar to eliminating salt from your diet, and learning to retaste the inherent flavors in food and water. Get reaquainted with taste buds :-)

                        2. re: katesprings

                          Good luck!

                          Everyone I know who kicks soda -- even diet soda -- loses weight. Maybe it's that the artificial sweetener makes you crave sweets, or maybe its something else, but it always seem to work that way.

                    2. i've never been a big soda person. i always order tea or water. (or beer!)

                      i remember even as a kid, mom would have liters of soda on hand and one of my brothers was a soda fiend, but i always preferred milk or juice.

                      i wonder what they put in there that makes it so addictive to people cause there's obviously something!

                      i think the stuff is evil!

                      i rarely buy soda now, occasionally i will buy my son some rootbeer as a treat, or a sprite with the odd fast food order.

                      since you like iced tea, why not try experimenting with different kinds....also consider herbals like iced rooibos or honeybush (no caffeine, very tasty and very good for you) or iced yerba mate for energy (kind of an acquired taste - sort of grassy/hay like).

                      and it's perfectly OK to mix and match green / white / black / decaf / herbals.

                      try the cold brew method (let the tea sit in water overnight in the fridge, then strain - or you can even leave the tea in there for a couple of days with no harm done) there's no bitterness and it's super easy and tastes great.

                      1. I'm really caffeine-sensitive as well. I had my first cup of coffee this YEAR last night after dinner (a little too much wine), and I was up till 2:30 in the morning.

                        Every day, I make "sun tea" by the pitcher, but I make only green tea. Whole Foods has an excellent organic green tea in bags, 80 for just $4. No strings or staples, just bags. I put five bags in 6 cups of water (or so), and 90 minutes later it's ready. Really healthy, and not too much caffeine.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Tom Steele

                          Tom, I feel your pain.
                          I have to cease all caffeine consumption after 4PM, otherwise I'm up until the early hours of the morning. If I drink more than one cup of coffee in the morning, I'm stuck to the ceiling.
                          Sun tea is good stuff. I make mine by boiling water, then putting over teabags. Let steep, then pour over a pitcherful of ice. Add cold water as needed (if it seems too strong to me).
                          I'd do sun tea more often, but I just never seem to find the time...or the sun...it's been raining for weeks straight here, it seems!

                          1. re: QueenB

                            Hail Queen B--

                            Yeah, when I was drinking coffee, my hands shook all the time. I thought, well, it must run in my family--my mother and sister have shaky hands. Then, when I quit smoking (cold turkey, 14 years ago), I associated coffee so strongly with cigarettes that I cut WAY back. And my hands stopped shaking! One weekend I ran out of coffee and just never bought it again. When I travel sometimes I need a jump-start, but here in Manhattan I rarely need such stimulation!

                            As for making sun tea, I use all-cold water, about a quart or a little more for 5 tea bags. After an hour or two, I squeeze all the teabags in one fist, and I have my day's worth of green tea. I don't put the pitcher in the sun--that's literally an old wives' tale. I also think the all-cold water keeps the tea from getting that bitter edge. I drink iced tea year 'round.

                            Happy sipping!


                        2. i usually have 1 Diet Coke Plus in the AM but that is it. What I really love are the La Croix waters, plain, lemon and lime. The bubbles are much finer and tinier than other carbonated drinks, like the difference between cheap and fine champanges. I want them to be icy cold, really really cold and they are so refreshing. In hot steamy weather I also will make a pitcher of iced tea in the AM and sip on that in the afternoon. I find it really refreshing, more thirst quenching than other beverages. I am not a fan of hot drinks.

                          1. First I switched back to regular because I really don't want all those artificial sweetners -- they give me a headache and taste nasty. Then I realized it was the bubbles I wanted, not the caffiene or sweet. I switched to flavored seltzer. The bubbles give me a nice perk up in the afternoon.

                            1. This was how it happened to me - only it was a bit of major surgery and the idea of having anything that could cause burping or that bloated feeling you get if you have too much pop was too much to bear.

                              Instead, I became a flavored water and tea junky - any kind whatsoever. Propel and Vitamin Waters became mainstays and then various teas kept making the cut. Basically, substitute until you find something - I must have tried every major flavored water on the market before settling for those two...

                              1. I have recently stopped drinking diet sodas and have switched to seltzer. The carbonation is what I crave and if I want it sweet I add some fruit juice...but lemon makes it just as refreshing.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: izzizzi

                                  Yep. When I got pregnant and decided to cut out (almost) all diet sodas (I think I've had maybe 1 or 2 cans in the seven months I've been pregnant so far), I switched to seltzer. I particularly like the berry flavored crystal geyser. And if I really want a sweet and fizzy drink, I buy natural sodas at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, like TJ's Italian Grapefruit soda or Hansen's. Has sugar, but no sodium benzoate.

                                2. My husband has a serious Diet Dr Pepper addiction that has transfered to Walmart's Dr. Thunder.
                                  What works for us is Iced Tea, diluted to 1/4 strength and then add fresh mint as it's cooling. One or two packets of Sweet n Lo is sufficient to sweeten (I've been cutting the number of bags back slowly so DH doesn't notice) and the drink is refreshing, low cal and low caffeine.
                                  I'm going to try adding some Penzey's raspberry stuff to it after my next order to them, just to see if it works.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: shallots

                                    I used to drink a 6 pack a day of diet soda the thing that killed my adiction was a trip to France. They don't really have soda everywhere and I became smitten with the bubbly water I was served. Spend a couple weeks in France and you will be cured!

                                  2. This recent article from CNN may help give you some extra motivation:


                                    I know that there have been hypotheses on this for awhile, which led me to abandon all artificial sweeteners back in 1990. I haven't touched one (purposefully) since then.

                                    Perhaps you could try yogurt smoothies with fruit? I find yogurt, honey, strawberries, and banana mix up wonderfully and satisfy my cravings for a bit of sweet.