Wellness SNiPs - A Soft Drink's Guide to Healthy Living [#002]
"Every day of our lives, we are on the verge of making those slight changes that would make all the difference."
- Mignon McLaughlin
"Longevity is a compounding issue. Making small but consistent changes which lead to seemingly small improvements over the short run, then lead to amazing results over the long run."
- Peter Attia, M.D.
Wellness SNiPs are designed to help kickstart your "well-style" by helping you change one small habit at a time, culminating in perfect health.
The SNiPs are written as short-format, but if you're REALLY pressed for time just read the headers (TL;DR style) which will give you the what, why, and how of today's particular habit shift.
What? Reduce or Eliminate Your Intake of Soft Drinks.
Whether it be the full sugar version or the 'diet' version, soft drinks are damaging your health in a number of ways.
Why? Decreasing Sugar Intake and Cravings for Sweets Improves Health.
Eliminating soft drinks is a 'low-hanging fruit', meaning this one small habit change will reap large paybacks to your health.
While sugar itself is not the cause of diabetes, eating too much sugar can contribute to the onset of this disease. Sugar has also been named in the onset or exacerbation of many diseases and ailments including inflammation, obesity heart disease, decreased immune function, accelerated aging, tooth decay, and gum disease. (1)
One can of Coke contains 138 calories - if you drink three cans a day that's an additional 414 calories per day which equates to about a one pound weight gain every week. Just eliminating this one thing would allow you to lose approximately one pound every week.
But what about 'diet' soft drinks? Artificial sweeteners have been proven safe for human consumption, but, in recent years with the focus on the microbiome, it has come to light that these sweeteners are not so safe for the little guys hanging out in our guts who have a big influence on the state of our health. In addition, studies have shown that even the artificial sweeteners contribute to glucose intolerance. (2)
Lastly, these drinks, whether they are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (a topic for another day), sugar or artificial sweeteners, are hyper-sweet. These drinks have trained our palates to crave sweets to the point where a piece of fruit no longer tastes sweet to us, thus fueling our desire for more and more unhealthy treats. Once you have eliminated these sickly sweet treats your palate can once again appreciate the natural sweetness in a health-giving strawberry.
How? Eliminate One Soft Drink Per Day Each Week Until You've Hit ZERO.
Unless you're an all or nothing type of personality start by eliminating one soft drink per day for a week. The next week take your new baseline and eliminate another soft drink.
If the thought of never having another soft drink sends you into a state of stress, never fear. You can eliminate all the way down to just one per week as a reward for a job well done! Eventually, you'll forget to have that one and realize you didn't really miss it and you'll have conquered the soda monster.
Here's an example if you drink three cans per day of (Coke, Sprite, Pepsi, Red Bull, Diet Coke - you get the idea):
- Week 1: Limit intake to 2 cans per day.
- Week 2: Limit intake to 1 can per day.
- Week 3: Limit intake to 3 cans per week.
- Week 4: Limit intake to 2 cans per week.
- Week 5: Limit intake to 1 can per week.
- Sometime in the future: Oops forgot the soda....didn't care....you win!
So, what do I drink instead?
- Water - Want the deep dive on water? Click here. This should be your mainstay, so use the following sparingly to add interest to your day.
- Sparkling water (add a dash of lemon or lime for some flavor).
- Coffee (hot or iced - not after 12 noon) unsweetened or with erythritol or stevia.
- Tea (hot or cold)unsweetened or with erythritol or stevia.
- Kombucha (limit 1 per day).
- Bai Bubbles or other soft drinks sweetened with erythritol or stevia (limit).
Substituting one sugary drink for the next i.e. fruit juice - but hey! it's fruit - that's healthy right? Not exactly - it's again a concentrated form of liquid sugar, stick with a piece of whole fruit and a glass of water.
Using too much of the 'healthy' sweeteners. Remember, we are training the sweet-tooth to ramp down and subside. If you're replacing coke for coke with bai bubbles you're still feeding the sweet-tooth and the sugar cravings will continue. Water should be your #1 go-to for hydration.
Building health and wellness happens one habit at a time. Choose one habit and practice it until it's automatic and then move on to the next.
Maybe this isn't the habit you choose to start with. That's ok, we'll be presenting many more, but file this one away for future action.
As stated at the beginning this is a 'low-hanging fruit', and changing this one thing will cause health ripples throughout your entire life, from dropping a few pounds to finally getting that sweet-tooth under control.
Comments: What do you think? Will you start with this Wellness habit? Copy/paste your answer into a reply
If you care to elaborate further PLEASE do!
- I've already got this! No sugary drinks for me!
- Change is hard, but I'm going to give this a try!
- Nope! You're going to have to pry this Coke from my cold dead hands...Next!
Cover & Footer Photo from pxhere.com
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(The Full Monty - I am not a doctor nor do not play one on TV or the interwebs. The above content is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment. Links to Amazon products in this post are "Affiliate Links" meaning you won't pay a penny more for the product but I may get a small commission for pointing you in the right direction.)
Thanks to @penderis for helping me flesh out the idea for this series and create graphics that don't suck.