5 Steps to Stop Drinking Sugary Drinks
by RWIT Member Lynda Maschek RDN/LD, CDCES
Get On the Road to Clean Eating!
No doubt. It’s a hard habit to break.
Drinking soda, tea, or juice makes us happy and nostalgic, and it might be tough to visualize trucking without soda. It takes strategy, effort, and alternative behaviors to change a negative pattern. Some women drivers drink sodas mindlessly, unaware of how many they consume or the damage they cause.
First, let’s address the toll that frequent sweet drinks have on your health.
- Weight Gain. Okay- it’s not just one thing that causes weight gain. It’s many habits and lifestyle changes over time. (Perhaps you experienced this when you started sitting behind the wheel for hours on end). It is important to remember, though, that sugary drinks really are unnecessary calories that we consume over and over again without burning them off.
- Diabetes. I repeat: There is not just one thing that causes diabetes or weight gain, but frequent sugary drinks contribute to insulin resistance – leading to diabetes.
-Dental Cavities. Dental professionals and researchers found that when beverage companies introduced plastic bottles of soda with caps, dental cavities increased by 45%. Consumers could now buy a bottle of soda and sip on it throughout the day. With each sip, the liquid sugar washed over their teeth, providing a constant environment for tooth decay.
-Financial. The beverage companies don’t need your hard- earned money. You will save dough at the check-out counter, at the dentist, and on medications, if you keep sugar sweetened beverages off your shopping list and out of your cab.
Face the Truth to Fix the Habit
The recommended daily allowance of TOTAL sugar for women is
- 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar equaling 100 calories per day.
The average American consumes:
- 77 grams of sugar or 19 teaspoons equaling 308 calories per day.
When reading a nutrition label, divide grams of sugar by 4 to determine how many
teaspoons of sugar the beverage contains.
- A 20 oz. Mountain Dew contains 77 grams of sugar. Divided by 4,
it contains 19 teaspoons of sugar.
- A 20 oz. Coke contains 64 grams of sugar. Divided by 4, it
contains 16 teaspoons of sugar.
- A 20 oz. Chik-Fil-A Lemonade contains 58 grams of sugar. Divided
by 4, it contains 14 teaspoons sugar.
- A 20 oz. Gatorade contains 36 grams of sugar. Divided by 4, it
contains 9 teaspoons sugar.
What About Diet Sodas?
Diet sodas are saving calories in the short run but are harmful for the long haul. Artificial sweeteners alter brain activity and hormones, causing cravings for more sweet and high fat foods. This defeats the purpose of choosing no-calorie sodas. Diet sodas are harmful to your gut bacteria, they steal calcium from your bones and may cause kidney damage.
How Do You STOP Drinking Sweet Drinks?
Here are 5 strategies to help you stop consuming sugary drinks.
#1. Commit. Be ready to make the change from sugar to water. Plan ahead. What will you use as a substitute for soda or sweet tea? Bubbly (seltzer) water? Would a new water bottle make you feel good about avoiding soda?
#2. Set small goals you can attain and feel good about. If you drink 2-3 bottles or cans per day, reduce one bottle at a time every few days. Focus on replacing sodas with water rather than restricting soda intake. Keep track of your progress!
#3. Overhaul your taste buds. Limit other sugary foods at this time until the cravings for sugar calm down. Avoid cookies, candy, donuts, etc. Rule of thumb: Don’t keep sugar in the truck!
#4. Exercise. Moving your body regularly will cause cravings for healthy foods. You will naturally reach for an orange or a salad and not even think about sugary foods. For reals. Exercise fixes a sweet tooth.
#5. Sleep. A night of little or poor sleep increases our appetite for sugary caffeinated drinks the next day.
A Word about Caffeine
If your reason for drinking sugary drinks is the boost of caffeine to shift your energy, check out these stats on the caffeine content of a few popular beverages.
8 oz. cup of brewed coffee: 150 mg caffeine
20 oz. bottle of Mountain Dew: 78 mg caffeine
20 oz. bottle of Coke: 70 mg caffeine
8 oz. cup of hot tea: 35 mg caffeine
Good old coffee is the winner for high performing energy fuel.
Driving it Home
Some of us are mindless soda drinkers who grab a can or bottle without realizing it. Small changes begin to make a big difference. Keep track of your intake for a few days, then gradually move the sodas out and the water in. Your health, your teeth, and your wallet will be stronger for it!
Call me! For more ideas and support about Clean Eating, Weight Loss and Diabetes, schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call on my website to discuss how I might help you.
Check out my free e-booklet offer below!
In Grace and Grit,
Unlike many careers, your job depends directly on your health. As a former truck driver, Lynda Maschek knows all too much how stressful life can be on the road trying to balance work, family and health. This article is provided to help drivers learn better eating habits on the road. You can learn more about Lynda on her website Well Driven Nutrition - Weight Loss for Women and download the free e-booklet Learn 7 Ways Women Truck Drivers Can Lower Blood Pressure While on the Road .