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How to Stop Drinking Bad Soda: 5 Ways to Kick Your Soda Habits to the Curb

Posted Oct 04, 2021 Updated Apr 15, 2024

When it came to light just how unhealthy conventional soda is, many soda die-hards switched to diet versions.1 Then they learned that drinking diet soda could also cause negative health outcomes.2

While this might not be pleasing for our soda-loving readers to hear, soda (including diet soda!) isn't good for you. But we’ll let you in on a secret: there’s a happy ending to kicking your bad soda habit for good!

Read on to learn more...

Why Is Soda So Addictive? 3 Reasons Why It’s Hard to Quit Drinking Soda

But first things first: why is it so hard to quit drinking soda? A soda addiction or dependence is something that can start slowly or quickly. Your individual brain chemistry, as well as your personal and familial history of addictive behavior, is a significant determinant of how you respond to addictive foods, drinks, or drugs.

Research suggests that there are three major factors that play into just how addictive soda can be:3

  1. Its high sugar content
  2. Caffeine and carbonation
  3. The ritual effect of drinking a soda

High Sugar Content

Traditional soda is a beverage loaded with sugar. Unfortunately, research suggests that sugar activates dopamine pathways.

According to Gary Wenk, Director of neuroscience undergraduate programs at the Ohio State University and author of “Your Brain on Food”, the brain reward system activates the same way with soda as it does with drugs.

Caffeine & Carbonation

Another ingredient that, like sugar, excites the brain is caffeine. And as you know, soda is high in caffeine. According to research, caffeine excites the reticular system of the brain. The consumption of high-caffeine carbonated soft drinks triggers insomnia, agitation, and headaches.4

The Ritual of Drinking Soda

Finally, let's not underestimate the habit of reaching for a soda — whether it’s as a pick-me-up or as a social activity. When you're accustomed to something that results in positive feelings, it’s not easy to give up.

Why Is Soda Bad for You?

Okay, so soda is addictive. But is that addiction really all that bad for you? The short answer: Yes.

The average American consumes 13 pounds of sugar exclusively from soda every year.5 So it should come as no surprise that quitting sugar-laden soda is a good idea for better health.

Studies also show that increased soda consumption can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, non-alcoholic liver disease, cavities, and gout.6 A 2019 study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that an increase in sugary beverage consumption can lead to an increased risk of mortality, or early death.7

What About Diet Soda: Is Diet Soda Bad for You?

Unfortunately, regular soda isn’t the only culprit when it comes to poor health outcomes. Companies advertise diet soda with its zero sugar content as the healthier alternative to regular soda. But diet soda contains similar chemicals and additives to traditional soda that may not be good for your health.

Researchers discovered that drinking one or more cans of diet soda per day leads to a higher likelihood of stroke or dementia.8 It's also linked to weight gain, not weight loss (as it's often advertised!).9

It's important to note, however, that studies that look at diet soda intake and health outcomes are observational and only prove correlation, not causation. In other words, we still don’t know if drinking diet soda causes weight gain or if diet soda drinkers are gaining weight for another reason.

How to Stop Drinking Bad Soda

Today, quitting soda may not be as hard as you think! Here are some tips and tricks for ditching the pop in a realistic and more attainable way:

Drink More Water

Water will fill you up and hydrate you, so you may not be as inclined to quench your thirst with traditional or diet soda. If that doesn’t do the trick, try adding some lemon juice or even some cucumbers or strawberries to your H2O. (Spa water, anyone?)

Avoid Getting Hungry

Make sure you're eating at regular intervals so that you don’t end up hungry at some point and reach for something that’s easy, like that can of cola. In other words, avoid creating dangerous circumstances for yourself that leave you prone to fill up on a quick energy lift from a can of soda.

Manage Your Stress Levels

Speaking of avoiding bad circumstances, managing your stress levels can help too. While this is easier said than done, you can try managing your stress through exercise, meditation, more sleep, or turning your phone notifications off.

There are a ton of different ways to manage your stress, you just need to find the solution that works best for you. When the stress is at bay, you will not be as tempted to return to that habitual comfort of grabbing a soda.

Try a Healthier Soda Alternative

And most importantly, don’t look at any of this as a restriction. Instead, view it as an opportunity to add positive elements to your life: water, stress reduction, and healthy soda alternatives. And that’s where OLIPOP comes in.

OLIPOP is a delicious tonic that’s great for digestive health thanks to fiber content, prebiotics, and botanicals. It comes in flavors that range from Classic Root Beer and Vintage Cola to Ginger Lemon to Orange Squeeze and more.

The prebiotic fiber in every can of OLIPOP helps to support a healthy microbiome. This promotes better health by helping to digest food and produce vitamins, among countless other beneficial functions.10 So, OLIPOP isn’t just a delicious beverage; it’s also providing the foundation your gut needs to thrive.

Create a Support System

Crack open a can of OLIPOP with a pal and together, cheers to better soda! When you’re transitioning away from conventional soda — sugar-filled or diet — you don’t need to do it alone. There is always someone out there that can join you on your journey. So band together and support one another. There is strength in numbers!

Quitting Bad Soda: The Takeaway

Now you’ve got a variety of tools to lean on when you’re ready to quit: drink water, avoid getting hungry, manage your stress, join forces, and try that enticing can of OLIPOP you’ve been eyeing. Once you crack one open, you’ll forget all about that sugar-filled traditional soda.


  1. CDC. “Rethink Your Drink.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, February 10, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html.
  2. Wellness Team. “Just How Bad Is Diet Soda for You?” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, October 10, 2019. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/3-reasons-you-should-kick-your-diet-soda-habit/.
  3. Drayer, Lisa. “10 Reasons to Give up Diet Soda.” CNN. CNN, 2014. https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/28/health/soda-soft-drinks-addictive-drayer-food-wellness/index.html.
  4. Anjum, Ibrar et al. “Sugar Beverages and Dietary Sodas Impact on Brain Health: A Mini Literature Review.” Cureus vol. 10,6 e2756. 7 Jun. 2018, doi:10.7759/cureus.2756
  5. Marriott, Bernadette P et al. “Trends in Intake of Energy and Total Sugar from Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in the United States among Children and Adults, NHANES 2003-2016.” Nutrients vol. 11,9 2004. 25 Aug. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11092004
  6. CDC. “Rethink Your Drink.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, February 10, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html.
  7. “Higher Consumption of Sugary Beverages Linked with Increased Risk of Mortality.” News, March 18, 2019. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/sugary-beverages-linked-with-higher-risk-of-death
  8. Howard, Jacqueline. “Sweet Comparisons: How Much Sugar Is in That Drink?” CNN. CNN, July 2, 2014. https://www.cnn.com/2017/04/20/health/diet-sodas-stroke-dementia-study/index.html.
  9. Fowler, Sharon P.G., Ken Williams, and Helen P. Hazuda. “Diet Soda Intake Is Associated with Long-Term Increases in Waist Circumference in a Biethnic Cohort of Older Adults: The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 63, no. 4 (March 17, 2015): 708–15. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.13376.
  10. “Probiotics: What You Need to Know.” NCCIH. NCCIH, 2012. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know.
Cheat Sheet
  • Drinking conventional soda regularly does not support a healthy lifestyle.
  • It may be hard to quit drinking soda for many reasons, including the high sugar content, caffeine, carbonation, and also the ritual or routine.
  • Many people quit soda by substituting it for diet soda, but this may not be a better alternative than conventional soda.
  • There are easy, effective ways to quit soda, including drinking more water and reducing stress.
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