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Coke Be Gone

I am quitting Coca Cola cold turkey. I've read enough bad stuff lately about diabetes and cancer (and artificial sweeteners) that I've decided that, though not quite as serious and not nearly as harmful to people nearby, my excessive consumption of Coke is like smoking.

I have a 2L in my fridge that I have to finish first, and I'll have the occasional Coke at restaurants now and then (when milk isn't on the menu). I'm not the biggest fan of water, so what are suitable alternatives? Fruit juices seem a likely choice, correct? They still have sugar, but they're natural sugars. That makes a difference, does it not?

Coke is inexpensive - cheaper than water, most of the time - so that's going to be tough to overcome. I'll pay more for better stuff, but I'm not going to go excessive. Gatorade, perhaps? I don't know. More expensive but well within the "worth it" range, I suspect.

36 Responses to "Coke Be Gone"

  1. Sugar Free Cherry or Fruit Punch Kool Aid is the runner up in the Nectar of Gods category (behind Diet Mt Dew of course). It's insanely cheap as well.

  2. I quit Coca Cola almost 2 years ago. Was quite addicted, really. I need the bubbles, though, so I have switched to carbonated water. Never was a fan of water either, but developped a taste for strongly carbonated water. Adding lemon, at the beginning esp, helps.

    Good luck.

  3. Diet Rite. Laugh now, Splenda is your friend (at least until they find problems with it like they did with Aspertame).

  4. Tea… iced, hot, herbal or not. Depending on your mood, there's usually a good option. Caffeine is there too, if you need/want it.

    If you're up for it, try Yorkshire Gold. You should be able to find it in a nearby supermarket.

    Lastly, you can add small amounts of sugar (or Splenda) to sweeten it, a little milk (to bind the tannins) or mix in some lemonade (aka Arnold Palmer) or other fruit juice.

  5. I dumped coke (and associated sodas) about six months ago. Water is what I drink mostly now -- restaurant water isn't bad because it's cold. Cold water is good 99% of the time. Lemon in water gives it a fresher taste too, which is good. I dunno how someone can not like 'water' =/

  6. Fruit juices are just as bad. Especially if they are of the fruit "punch" variety which is mostly artificial. I used to hate water until I bought a Brita water filter and kept water in it chilled. To be honest, I don't think the filter had as much to do with this this preference change as the fact that I kept the water refrigerated did. Cold water is acceptable water now. It can get boring though. What I do now is water down some juice when I'm not feeling like having water. So I'll have one part juice to 3 parts water. Or, I'll buy some lemon juice and put a few drops in with my water. It's not as bad as it seems and now that I'm used to it, real juice seems too sweet to me.

    I also replaced my Coke habit with a coffee one 🙂 Well, not exactly. I now drink coffee but I'll have only one large coffee every day and that is it. The other day, I heard there is a correlation between drinking 1-2 cups of coffee per day and a lowered incidence of diabetes. So maybe; just maybe I have an excuse to keep this up and it's not such a bad habit!

    My advice is keep it simple and just learn how you can like water. Gatorade is high in sodium. Artificial juice, even if it uses Splenda or is otherwise "lite" is expensive and if it is not full of empty calories, it's full of questionable chemicals.

  7. I quite Coke cold turkey a number of years ago. I was drinking two 20-ounce bottles by 9 in the morning most days, and usually had 4 or 5 12-ounce cans a day in addition.

    I experienced a mild to medium serious headache for a week or so after quitting. (I eliminated all caffeine at the same time.) I started with fruit juices, but eventually settled on one can of non-caffeine soda a day (usually ginger ale as it can have the same 'bite' Coke always had) and water.

    Get a good filtration system and chill or ice your water. It took me a while to get used to the "non-flavor" of water, but it was worth it as I feel tremendously better today. I usually drink about 1/2 a gallon of water a day now.

    Good luck with breaking your habit.

  8. By the way, by switching from Coke to water (gallons of them!), I lost 25 pounds. No exercice, no particular diet... Scary, heh?

  9. One of my friends was (like yourself) a fairly "heavy user" of Coke until about six months ago. Now I'm amazed how much weight he's lost.

    The thing that's really tough to avoid with drinks seems to be excess sugar. Unfortunately, even a lot of fruit juices have lots of it. In restaurants, I would say (unsweetened) ice tea is the way to go. But, then again, what do I know :-)?

  10. I don't like tea, but thank you to all who have made the suggestion. Perhaps I should give it another try.

    Aren't natural sugars - like those found in good fruit juices - better than the artificial sweeteners found in colas?

  11. I'm doing weight watchers now - lost 15lbs on it so far. Cut out non-diet sodas from my diet altogether and am drinking either diet soda at work (maybe a can or two a day, and am trying to replace that with water) and either water or seltzer with "natural" fruit flavours. Walmart does a good lemon/lemon-lime flavour.

  12. Ever tried mixing fruit juices with sparkling water? We do this a lot in Germany especially with apple juice. That drink even got its own name: "Apfelsaftschorle." It doesn't have much sugar in it and tastes great.

  13. Something you might try is to buy a large bottle of Gatorade (they come as large as two gallons at Sams or Walmart), and water that down before you drink it. Gatorade maintains its flavor even with as much as 50% water added, and you can save a lot of money, too.

  14. I assure you, I am not trying to lose weight. I'm rather fit (even if I am rotting from the inside :-D) and thin.

  15. Good for you!

    I didn't go cold turkey, but did stop drinking it a while back. I used to work at a .com which had coke in the fridge all the time, and I drank it all the time. After a while I was drinking way to much and quit. I got headaches for a while, but other than that, nothing. I started drinking water and these days drink only water, a mocha in the morning, and the very occasional coke when out with friends. Good luck! Your stomach lining will thank you 🙂

  16. I like Coke… but I cut mine with water. Two fingers of Coke on top of water over ice is really nice. I go through maybe a can a day and I really like it much better that way. Try it. Works really well at restaurants as well.

  17. I quit drinking soft drinks with sugar 3 weeks ago when I started the South Beach diet. I usually drink iced tea or flavored selzer (with no sugar) instead. So far I've lost 11 pounds & have only 5 more to go.

    Sugar is sugar no matter where it comes from. Fruit juices, especially the mixed fruit or fruit punch type drinks are loaded with sugar and have the same effect as drinking soda.

  18. Aren't natural sugars - like those found in good fruit juices - better than the artificial sweeteners found in colas?

    In a word: No. Sugar is sugar. I doesn't matter if it came from an apple, from sugar cane, or from high fructose corn syrup, it's just as bad.

  19. I had to do that once, coming back home on winter break my first year of college, less than a month after I was busted with cannabis in the dorms. I had such a splitting headache and some awful shakes that my mom asked me point blank "charlie, are you on drugs?" to which I smartassed "No, the problem is I'm not!!"

  20. All you need to do, for the most part, is replace the water you lose when you sweat. Drink water. Once you get past your addiction you'll find water is really refreshing. As far as Gatorade and the like, these aren't softdrinks and shouldn't be consumed willy nilly; they are designed to replenish carbohydrates you've burned for energy. Don't drink them unless you know something about carbo replacement. The hardest part of your addiction is going to be the caffeine withdrawal. My advice: drink moderate amounts of coffee, or better yet, green tea.

    I prefer mineral water with a lime for my soft drink.

    Best of luck.

  21. I've been reading a lot about sweeteners lately because I've gone on a super-natural kind of diet (what you might call Bible-based). It's actually been great, and has improved my health dramatically. The scoop with sweeteners is that the only two really "good for you" natural sweeteners are honey and maple syrup. However, natural sugars (especially cane sugar or evaporated cane juice) aren't terrible in small amounts. Fructose is bad (unless it's still in the fruit, hehe), and High Fructose Corn Syrup is quite bad. However, nothing beats artificial sweetners for bad -- especially saccharin and Aspratame (Nutrasweet). Avoid those like the plague!

    Just because something is called "natural" doesn't make it good for you. On the other hand, just about everything labeled "artificial" really is bad for you. It seems God/Nature is generally much better for your health than Man's laboratories. :/ Rule of thumb: the closer what you eat is to its natural state, the better.

    Anyway, congrats on giving up Coke! I'm so proud of you!


    P. S. Recommended reading: The Maker's Diet by Jordan S. Rubin. Awesome book. Has changed my life forever. Lost weight and my digestive troubles have been nearly eliminated. I can't praise it enough!

  22. P.P.S. A good diet is a good diet. I don't believe in "lose weight" diets. If you're too thin, a good diet will make you gain weight. In my case, I HAVE lost weight, but I assure you I'm eating great foods and plenty of them. 🙂

    So Erik, just because you look/feel fit doesn't mean your diet is fine. Coke is Step One, but I'd keep evaluating the kind of stuff you're putting in your body. If we are what we eat, then that's rather scary when you look at the ingredients list of most supermarket foods! :O



  23. Well, it's not entirely accurate to say sugar is sugar is sugar. From a pure calorie perspective, this is true, but from the perspective of how you feel, and how your body reacts to it, it makes a pretty big difference. Refined sugar like High Fructose Corn Syrup, or plain white refined sugar are molecularly almost pure glucose, require very little processing by the body and is dumped quickly into our bloodstreams.

    This obviously raises our blood sugar a lot and makes us feel great. But then our bodies try to regulate our blood sugar in dump a bunch on insulin into the blood and cause the characteristic crash that we all know so well.

    Unrefined sugars take longer for the body to break down into glucose, and are introduced into the blood in a slower more controlled fashion, therefore not inducing a massive insulin reaction by the body, so you don't feel down after 15 minutes.

    That's the really simple version of it anyway. I'm sure a nutritionist could tell you more.

  24. Drinking a bunch of gatorade consistently w/o sweating a bunch leads to kidney stones.

    or so i've been told.


  25. Tried it. Failed. But in the year I was off soda I did lose weight. Not that that was a goal, but it was a nice bonus. The best part was that my everyday Pepcid Complete dependencies vanished.

    I post everything negative about soda that I come across on my blog thinking maybe I'll try kicking the cola for good, but so far... nada. Though, I do drink quite a lot less than I use to. Mostly, it's cherry-watermelon kool-aid now.

  26. As Joe said, unrefined sugars (things you find in fruits and such) break down slower. That, in conjunction with a diet high in whole grains (white bread and most wheat breads do not count) will hang around in the digestive tract longer, thus causing one to not be hungry nearly as often.

    Back to sodas ... Splenda (sucralose) is basically bleached sugar (yes, chlorine) and has many people very concerned over potential dangers. So, even Splenda-based drinks may not be safe.

    But, really, this is just another form of processed food. Removing processed food from your intake is just plain healthy. Sodas are just another form.

    For those thinking about those new "half" sodas (C2, Pepsi Edge, sure to be others) look at the ingredients: half Splenda and half HFCS. Two processed baddies for the price of one.

    So I don't feel there is a safe soda out there other than "old fashioned" ones like the Dr. Peppers around here in Texas (if you can find them) that are made with good ole' Imperial Sugar. Taken in moderation, as a "drink dessert" which is what they were intended as decades ago, it won't kill ya. As a water replacement? What would you like on your headstone? Will Coca-Cola sponsor it? 😀

    As for a replacement, once I finish my current stock of sodas I'm moving to iced tea. A little bit of brown sugar or honey makes for an acceptable taste. I even got lazy and got an iced tea-maker. 🙂 I will keep doing what I've always done however: flavored drink in one hand, huge-ass bottle of water in the other. Your body needs water, your brain wants flavor. Fix the brain and drink the water. 🙂

  27. Hey Erik,

    I slacked on Pepsi like a month ago. Was starting to have pretty bad cramps and stomachaches and things like that... Used to drink 2 litres and more every day...

    Now, I drink about a can a day... I feel much better...

    Replaced with water, V8, wine and beer... since I don't like the taste of fruit juices with meals (steak and orange juice!) and I only drink milk with sugary stuff or peanut butter...

  28. Fruit juices are undoubtedly better than sodas, but even they contain a lot of sugar. Imagine eating 5 oranges right in a row. It's better in the sense is that it's not refined sugar, but it can still make you crash.

    Congrats on breaking the Coke habit, though. Part of the reason that water doesn't taste right at first is that it really is a addiction. I don't think it will take long for you to actually prefer bottled water. You should feel much more balanced throughout the day.

    As for tea, there is a quite wide variation in taste from one kind of tea to another -- much more so than coffee in my opinion. I think green tea tends to have less caffeine than coke, so you might be better off with black tea. And again, one brand of black tea can taste much different than another.

    Regular drip coffee has much more caffeine per once than just about anything, though the potency can vary greatly depending on who makes it. Starbucks is probably on the higher end of caffeine content.

  29. I have one Coke once a week.

  30. I wish I could say I had a tough time dropping soda from my diet, but it really wasn't that hard. Despite the fact that there's a huge box of bags in our pantry, we don't make iced tea often, either, and neither my wife nor I drink coffee. For the most part, it's water, water, water, and skim milk, with a juice glass serving of apple juice a day (orange juice upsets my wife's stomach).

    Generally the only time we have soda is if we eating out or at a party of some kind. Even then, if tea is available, I would rather that.

    There are occasions, though, when I simply get a craving for a Cherry Coke that has to be fulfilled. 😀

  31. It seems that I can't get ahead. I've successfully weaned myself from Coke - cold turkey - but consoled myself with ginger ale and Sprite/7-Up. They lose the caffeine but still have "high fructose corn syrup." I've tried green tea...

  32. -- Refined sugars like high fructose corn syrup are almost pure glucose --

    Uh, no.

    Ye Basic carbohydrate chemistry:

    High fructose corn syrup is, I think, largely a mixture of glucose and fructose, hence the name. Fructose aka fruit sugar and glucose the one your body burns, are isomers, same calories but mole for mole fructose tastes sweeter, hence the common use of high fructose corn syrup as a cheap sweetener. Sucrose, table sugar, is a disaccharide where one molecule of sucrose is formed from (or alternately breaks down into) one of glucose and one of fructose.

    For the most part your body doesn't know or care where the sugars it burns come from. Whether a moleclue of glucose was fructose or a component of sucrose or of starch when it was ingested is irrelevant by the time it is burned. Although a baked potato might have some vitamins & minerals not to mention fiber that you're unlikely to get from colas or candy. What can be bad is too much or too much too fast or not getting enough of the other nutrients you need.

    Nutritionally speaking honey and maple syrup and high fructose corn syrup are practically the same thing with different flavorings.

  33. What I should have said, and meant to say was, fructose is almost the same thing as glucose. They have the same chemical formula, with differently arranged atoms.

    Point being, there is a big difference in how your body reacts to simple carbohydrates vs. complex carbohydrates. Glucose gets into the blood faster with simple carbohydrates (30 calories per minute) than with complex carbohydrates (2 calories per minute). This in turn makes the pancreas pump out insulin which lowers blood sugar levels, which makes you crash, so your body doses you with adrenaline. This is pretty stressful on the body.

    A baked potato is not going to cause this reaction as it takes longer for the body to break down the starch, and glucose gets into the blood at a much slower pace.

    While it's true that the body doesn't care where the sugar comes from, or how it's produced, the kind of food you eat does make a difference in how much sugar is getting into your blood and how you will feel a few hours later.

  34. What Joe said.

    Seriously. Wasn't disagreeing with good diet and moderation.

    Just get ticked when things vere toward the notion that there's some almost mystical distinction between sugar and a completely equivalent sugar or between 'natural', 'processed', and 'refined' or even 'artificial' as free floating undefined concepts. Your body has no need of colas or other sugary drinks (well assuming fairly normal metabolism and good health) but an occasional one wont hurt you either again assuming all that stuff. Really hammering you're system with surges of sugar or caffeine that's bad, whether you avoid that by A) moderating or B) eliminating consumption of something unnecessary like colas is a personal decision based on what works for you.

  35. One goshdarn Coke today at 3pm and I'm still up. At least I didn't get a headache this time. I gave up Coke a while ago, and I don't miss it. Every time I had it after quitting cold turkey...

  36. Love is two people sipping Coca Cola from the same straw on a warm sunny day.