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We Tried It: Giving up soda


 
Last summer, my brother decided he was going to quit drinking soda as part of his new nutrition regiment for football. He asked my family members if we wanted to join him in this endeavor. As a health nut and a girl always up for a challenge, I accepted his invitation. No more fizzy beverages for me!
 
The hardest part of giving up pop was finding alternatives to drink, especially when I went out to eat with my friends. I was so used to drinking soda restaurants I had to remind myself to think of getting something else instead. When I go out to eat, I would opt for lemonade or water with lemon. When I was at school, I would make sure to pack a water bottle with some on-the-go flavoring to make sure that I wouldn't buy any of the sweet stuff. 
 
I can now proudly say I have almost completely eliminated soda from my diet. And surprisingly, I don’t really miss it either. Soda is simply empty calories and a whole ton of extra sugar. Even the diet stuff is full of scary chemicals that can have negative health effects. While these drinks might taste good, they don’t offer much in terms of refreshment and can actually dehydrate you.
 
Need some motivation to kick your pop-drinking habit? 
 
Assume you drink one soda per day, containing anywhere between 130 and 180 calories.  By cutting out an extra 1,800 calories out of your diet a week from pop, you could cut out a pound’s worth of excess calories from your diet in three weeks!
 
So, how do you get started?
 
1. Set a goal for yourself. Decide how much you want to cut back on. Do you want to go cold turkey? Or cut back to one pop a day? Or switch to drinking soda only on Saturday and Sunday? The timeline is up to you.
 
2. Decide which drinks you want to replace soda with:
 
Water: Keeps you hydrated and your complexion clear. Add some flavor with a squeeze of fresh lemon or a few slices of cucumber. Need some bubbles? Try seltzer water.
 
Juices are rich sources of vitamins. V-8 Fruit Juice even boasts a full serving of fruits and veggies. Beware: some juices can still be high in sugar, so don’t guzzle them constantly and look for brands that have 100 percent juice.
 
Milk (even almond or soy) is great to sip and provides much-needed calcium.
 
3. Tell your parents and friends that you are trying to cut back on pop. Ask your parents to stock up on other alternatives, and keep any soda in your house out of view. Need some support? Enlist a friend to join you, and tough it out together!

BY DANIELLE DEVERY ON 4/19/2011 2:42:00 PM

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