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7 Steps to Replace Diet Soda with Something Healthy

While there's no doubting the pervasive popularity of sodas like Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, many people are concerned about the effect regularly drinking them is having on their health, well-being and body weight.

Reading about how diet soda may actually make you fatter than regular soda and can greatly increase your risk of diabetes should provide some initial motivation. But day-to-day, how do we deal with the addictive call of the sugary black fizz?

Coming up is a 7 step plan to break a diet coke addiction and replace it with something similar to drink that is actually healthy.

3 Things You'll Need

1. Sparkling Mineral Water

To have the best chance of success your soda alternative should be similar enough to Coke or Pepsi that you can drink it as a replacement, but without the suspicious acids, colorings, chemicals, artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.

Some health resources say 'just drink water'. While it's a good idea to drink extra water as well when you follow this 7 step plan, plain tap water alone isn't much of a replacement and probably wouldn't stick for most people as an alternative to Diet Coke.

Sparkling mineral water on the other hand has the fizz of a can of soda and, with a special edition, can have a great taste as well. When choosing sparkling mineral water make sure it has no added sugar, aspartame or flavorings and get enough to last you for at least two weeks of soda replacement.

2. Superfruit Concentrate

Recently, new fruit concentrates have come onto the market made from some powerful berries and other superfoods. If you pick the right ones these are a concentrated source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals with a natural sweetness and none of the chemicals or acids in a bottle of Coke.

I used this Black Cherry Concentrate when I first gave up soda and really liked the taste of it. Other antioxidant rich fruit concentrates like Pomegranate, Mangoni and Maqui berry are also available. Ideally look for those that are naturally sweet without added sugar and definitely avoid any with aspartame or high fructose corn syrup.

By mixing these fruit concentrates with a good sparkling water you can easily make up a drink that is similar enough to soda to be an enjoyable replacement. If you get them in bulk, they can even work out cheaper too.

To follow the 7 step replacement program below, you'll need enough sparkling mineral water and healthy fruit concentrate to keep you going for two weeks. As a guide, a 16 ounce bottle of fruit concentrate should make up at least 20 glasses.

3. Ashwagandha Tincture

There's one more addition to the 7 step plan that can help to deal with any caffeine withdrawal symptoms - a high quality ashwagandha tincture.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb with a long history of medicinal use. It is believed to be particularly good at helping people deal with stressful situations by supporting their adrenal glands. Giving up cola definitely qualifies as one of these situations.

Caffeine places stress on your adrenals, but if you've been using the drug (and that's what it is) for a long time, they have become used to its effects and removing it can cause some brain fog, headaches and lethargy for a day or two. Even if you still drink coffee, quitting cola reduces the amount of caffeine you are putting into your system and there can be some temporary withdrawal issues.

Ashwagandha works in a different way to support your adrenal glands and if you can take it early in the day it can greatly reduce withdrawal symptoms. The Ashwagandha tincture I used was this one and I found it very effective.

It's best to take Ashwagandha first thing in the morning with a large glass of water when you are giving up Coke or Diet Coke so it can support your system. Later on, if you've already got a caffeine withdrawal headache, it can be too stimulating and isn't recommended. In that case, fresh lemon juice in water will probably be more helpful.

Check here what are the health benefits of pomegranate

Once you have a good supply of sparkling mineral water, a healthy fruit concentrate you like and your Ashwagandha tincture, here is a plan to beat soda addiction for good. The difference this one change can make to your waistline, your energy levels and your overall health will amaze you.

Here's a cool video on how to give up soda!​

7 Steps to Replace Diet Soda

  1. An important first step to giving up Diet Coke, Pepsi or whatever other soda you used to drink is to take any that you still have left in your home and pour it down the sink. The first morning when you start this plan would be a great time to do this. Hopefully no one reading this is so far gone that they'd be tempted to have Coke for breakfast.
  2. Have the recommended dose of the Ashwagandha tincture, followed by a big glass of water first thing. Do this for at least the first week, though I'd suggest continuing on until you've finished your bottle.

    Ashwagandha has a different and more stable kind of energy boost than caffeine's jittery rush and is good to have for a couple of weeks to help readjust your adrenal glands to working properly again.
  3. Have a protein and healthy fat-based breakfast like eggs or avocados. Processed cereals and white bread give us a brief burst of high carbohydrate energy and then cause our blood sugar to drop, making us feel tired and hungry. It's very important to stay off the insulin roller-coaster that gets you craving sugar this week so really try and limit the grain foods like breads, pasta and cereals, especially in the morning and evening.
  4. Consider when you usually used to reach for a diet soda. What were the times of the day and the situations? What you want to do is have your sparkling mineral water and Black Cherry or other fruit concentrate replacement ready to go as soon as you feel the first hint of a desire to have a soda.

    Make up the drink and try to make it a little special, like a new ritual. Really taste it and savor the flavor and fizz. This may seem a bit over the top, but ritual is a proven part of addiction. The best chance of breaking yours is not trying to resist it, but rather replacing it with a new healthier one.

    Don't try and use willpower to drink less. At least for this first week, allow yourself to have the 'new improved soda' whenever you feel like it.
  5. As with your breakfast, lunch and dinner should be based around healthy protein, good fats and salads and vegetables. Something like wild salmon or marinated chicken breast on a leafy green salad drizzled with avocado oil will keep your blood sugar stable and your cravings away. A handful of mixed nuts makes a healthy and filling snack if you do get hungry.
  6. Obviously it's very important to avoid fast food places when you're replacing soda. Not only is the food designed to make you thirsty for sugar, some of the biggest fast food companies even have whole divisions of chemists working on creating chemically derived smells that make us desire more simple carbohydrates.

    Steer clear of these places at all costs if you're serious about no longer being addicted.Junk food like french fries are also designed to get you reaching for a Pepsi or Coke (conveniently, many of these 'food' companies produce both the highly processed snacks and the drinks sold alongside them for their legal junkies). 

    They really need to be avoided, at least until you've broken the addiction.
  7. Research has shown it takes at least two weeks for a new habit to take hold. If you've been drinking unhealthy soda for years that's not a bad trade-off for a little focus, especially when you've got such a good soda replacement (I honestly now prefer my super fruit concentrates in sparkling mineral water to sickly sweet Coke).

    For the first week continue to have your sparkling mineral water and fruit concentrate drink whenever you feel like it. Take it to work so it's always closer than the corner store.

    By the second week, caffeine withdrawal symptoms should be greatly diminished or gone. If you've been eating meals based around protein, healthy fats and vegetables, you should also be getting control of the blood sugar monster.

It's likely at this point that your energy levels will be improved and more stable and you'll probably have started to lose weight as well. These are just natural side effects of getting off the insulin roller-coaster and breaking out of your caffeine and sugar addiction.

Conclusion

So there's 7 simple steps to replacing diet soda with something healthy. If you can stick with it for two short weeks you'll have an excellent chance of getting off the brown fizzy drug and take a big step towards better health and energy. If you have any questions, thoughts or experiences please leave a comment below.

Jim Dillan
 

Jim Dillan is health and wellness researcher, writing about natural nutrition, improving your physical and mental well-being and moving to a healthier lifestyle. His website Superfood Profiles has detailed articles on superfood health benefits, hair and skin treatments and healthy recipes.

  • Andy

    Brilliant plan Jim! I’m going to try it immediately. I don’t drink much soda, but the taste of Sprite Zero makes for perfect mixers in my cocktails. If I can make my own sodas with sparkling water and juice concentrate, I’ll be making my perfect cocktails from scratch.

    • Thanks Andy. A good sparkling mineral water with a splash of fresh lime juice is great for that. You could even add a couple of drops of stevia concentrate for sweeter cocktails rather than sugar.

      The more I’ve read about aspartame over the years the more I think it’s worth avoiding completely. It’s actually the chemical additive that the FDA has had by far and away the most complaints about. This page by Doctor Roberts goes into a lot of detail about it – http://www.wnho.net/fdaapprovedepidemic.htm and the approval process for this chemical reads like a Hollywood movie without the happy ending.

  • Mark

    How much of that fruit concentrate do you mix with water to get a good ratio?

    • Hi Mark,

      It depends on the strength of the concentrate but usually just a good splash into the bottom of the glass. It’s similar to a cordial, just healthier and usually not as sickly sweet.

  • Marie

    I recently, yesterday, decided to give up drinking diet soda after 20 plus years. I came across your article while researching those Neuro drinks, I don’t want to replace one bad habit for another! I’m try to drink more water, but after all these years of drinking soda, just water is not going to cut it. Anyway, I’m going to try this 7 step that you have listed, but I was wondering if there was something on the market you could buy if you are in a pinch or really carving a soda?

    • Hi Marie,

      I have seen a stevia flavored soda called Zevia advertised before. If it’s a cola there may still be other issues with some of the ingredients but it definitely looks better than either diet or regular coke. I’d really recommend giving the soda water with healthy fruit concentrates like black cherry a try. The ginseng can also be a big help for caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

      Hope this helps.

  • Marie

    I bought the mineral water and the Blackberry concentrate today, so I’m going to give it a try. Thanks!

    • Hi Marie,

      I really hope it goes well for you. Soda can have such a negative effect on your health that replacing it is a significant positive step.

  • Abdulla

    Thanks so much! This is great! I wanted to ask if you have any specific recommendations about the mineral water brands…do you recommend one over another?

    • Hi Abdulla,

      If you can afford it San Pellegrino is one of the best. If it’s a bit much then look for a mid priced sparking mineral water, ideally with a high magnesium content.

      Hope this helps.

  • ana govan

    What is the ratio of mineral water and juice concentrate to make the soda replacement drink?

    • Hi Ana and thanks for your question.

      It tends to vary depending on the strength of the individual concentrate. The bottle you get should have the amount to add per glass of water. Use the same for sparkling water. The Black Cherry concentrate in the article for instance is 1 to 8 but others might be more or less.

      Best Regards,

      Jim

  • Delores

    Hi Jim,
    Thanks for your mails, I have found them vey informative. My 3 children who are very sporty have also found your site very informative and they too have started to implement changes to their way of eating.
    The reason why i find your site very interesting is because its informative with product suggestion, not hard sell like a lot of the other sites. Thanks and keep up the good work.
    Regards
    Delores

    • Thanks Delores, I appreciate your comments. If I recommend something in my articles it’s because I’ve taken the time to research the quality of it and have usually used it myself.

      All the best.

  • Tiffany

    Hi Jim,

    I have been drinking diet soda or some type of artificial sweetener for 25+ years and drank one diet soda for breakfast for years! I have some health issues my husband and I have been worrying about and when he was researching artificial sweeteners, he told me I should try getting off of them…..perhaps they are behind some of the issues. I came across your article and became really hopeful that I could drink something that would satisfy me and taste good. I tried the sparkling water and it was good but expensive. I found that seltzer was cheaper and I liked the taste of that better. Is this still a good option as seltzer is just carbonated water? It is also sodium free. I just wanted to say that I have been off of diet soda and artificial sweeteners for a week and half now and I do feel better. I also love the new drinks and they are satisfying the fizzy craving. I still have thoughts of the pop but I have been drinking it for over 20 years so I expect it will take awhile. Thank you so much for posting and helping so many others like me to move away from a poison that really was a huge part of my life! I am so grateful!!
    Much gratitude,
    Tiffany

    • Hi Tiffany and thanks for your positive comments.

      Unflavored seltzer is fine for this purpose and anything that can help you get off damaging soda and artificial sweeteners is really important. You can add a small amount of concentrates like those listed in the article if you like and I think your health will continue to improve as you make this improvement.

      I’m not sure if you’ve read the previous article but artificial sweeteners really have no value in your diet and should be completely avoided – https://healthambition.com/diet-soda-and-weight-gain/ – while soda itself has such an acidic effect it can cause havoc throughout your body – http://flatulencecures.com/is-soda-acidic

      All the best with your healing.

  • FIRKIN X

    It’s a shame our governments let junk food and soda companies take over our country. I’m sure hospitals and doctors love the junk food industry because they bring them plenty of business.

    Nice article on kicking soda!

  • Brian Y

    Great article Jim

    I am one of the ones that are that far gone I need a couple of diet cokes just for breakfast. It plays havoc with weight loss even though I stick yo the recommended calories. I am usually exhausted as well by the end of the day….I have been looking for a substitute to replace my regular fix for a while now….I’ll definitely give this a go and look forward to the reduction in waist line….

    Keep up the good work

    Brian

    England