One way to give up caffeinated soda drinks.
09/21/2006. I'm addicted to Diet Coke and similar caffeinated diet colas. It's easy to quit, I've done it many times. The problem is going back to it.
Aside from caffeine addiction, another detrimental effect of soft drinks, caffeinated or not, is that they make you retain water. If you want to lose 2 to 3 pounds in 2 days, stop drinking sodas, and replace the same volume of beverages with water, and see what happens. The health advice that says "your body treats sodas as 'food' as opposed to 'water'" seems to be true. If you drink sodas, your body thinks it's not getting enough water, so it hoards it. If you drink sufficient water (real water, not sodas, etc.) your body says "I'm getting sufficient water on a regular basis, so I won't hoard water any more."
Anyway, I think I've found a new trick to quitting, that seems to be starting off well. Inexpensive caffeine tablets (200 mg) from the drug store. Popular brands, as many of us remember from our student days, are "No Doz" and "Vivarin," but the generics are less expensive.
My goal is to give up one addiction at a time. First, to give up the habit of always reaching for a soda. Second, only take enough caffeine tablets to ward off headaches and to maintain energy level. Then third, gradually cut down the caffeine tablets. That way I won't have to struggle with the soda-drinking habit and the caffeine habit at the same time.
The first benefit I see, even after just 2 days, is that the amount of caffeine I presently "need" via the tablets is much less than the amount I was drinking.
Depending on the flavor and brand, most caffeinated sodas generally have from 36 to 45 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce can. Mountain Dew has 55, and Jolt 71. There are web pages that list the caffeine content of various soft drinks, here, here, here, here. Or do a search on "amount caffeine in coke".
I used to quit colas cold turkey, and would get tremendous caffeine-withdrawal headaches, which would gradually reduce until they totally stopped after two weeks. My energy levels would drop too, because caffeine artificially increases blood-sugar levels. Drinking caffeine in large amounts over a short period of time has been shown to raise blood sugar, as described here, here, and here.
The last couple times I quit, I used the "taper off" method, rationing myself with 12 ounce cans (rather than the 24 ounce mason jar poured from a 2-liter). I'd ration myself, cutting down a little every day, but also allowing myself a "hit" whenever I started to get a headache. After a week, I was at the point where I only had a can of soda whenever I had a headache. After two weeks, I was down to zero.
Since a can of cola has only one-fourth the caffeine in a tablet, I use a pill cutter (just a couple dollars at the drug store) to divide the tablets up into smaller doses.
I think the soda-drinking habit will be overcome in one to two weeks. Besides, it wasn't the craving to drink something bubbly that made me fall off the wagon all those times. It was the lethargy, whether real or relative, due to not having caffeine in me all the time.
Even if I take only one 200 mg tablet of caffeine per day, that's less than 1/2 the amount of caffeine I was injesting via sodas. Plus it will save hundreds of dollars per year not buying all that soda. $2/day times 365 days/year = $730/year.