February 13, 2007


A few months ago, I wrote about my addiction to Diet Pepsi. I had decided that it was something I should try to do something about, but didn't know how likely that would ever be. I drink tons of liquids - always have. When a bottle or glass is empty, I immediately refill it. It wasn't just soda, but also water, tea, juice, milk, you name it. But among those liquids, probably a third was soda - equalling between 1-4 liters a day. It never bothered me - it never kept me up, I never felt heart palpitations or things like that, I had no negative effects, but I just figured it couldn't be good for me. A few friends and some articles I read talked about headaches and lethargy to deal with when quitting. I wasn't looking forward to that. Plus with my habit of often working overnights on deadlines, those were the last things I needed to mix in.

I always figured I'd end up stopping by accident - probably during some travel when I just couldn't get my daily intake. In the meantime, I switched to only drinking cans - which made me conscious of how much I was drinking and brought me down to around 3 cans a day. I increased the waters, flavored waters, teas, carbonated waters, etc.

One of my favorite waters to drink was Propel, Gatorade's flavored water. When I was home for Christmas, I asked my friend Curt (a trainer) if I was kidding myself about that being good for me. He told me it wasn't bad, but to check the sodium content, not just the calories or carbs etc. The sodium could make you retain extra water. Sure enough, the Propel was loaded with sodium. I nixed that from my mix.

Three weeks ago I was slammed with two projects at deadline stages at once. I was working constantly to the point that I didn't even have time to get to the grocery store. By the time I was able to, I realized I had gone two days without a diet coke. My accidental quit had happened. (As a southerner, "coke" just means soda - I was born in '68, so I'm part of the Pepsi generation).

So what do i recommend for anyone looking to quit? In addition to regular water, I've found that I like Nestle's Pure Life flavored waters. The lemon and raspberry are both pretty tasty. 0 calories, 0 carbs, 0 sugars - 20 milligrams of sodium. I also drink a lot of Lipton Diet Green Tea. I looked up the caffeine content to be sure it wasn't just as high as soda (some teas are). It has about 22 milligrams (per 16 oz) compared to Diet Pepsi's 48 milligrams (or Diet Coke's 62 milligrams). I'm okay with that. And to satisfy the occasional desire for bubbles or even just to mix it up, Crystal Geyser makes pretty good sparkling water with lime, lemon, or orange (the berry isn't so good). There's also a really good water called "hint." Like its name, it only has a subtle hint of flavor. The orange-pomegranete is my favorite, but the raspberry-lime is good too. I haven't yet tried the pear or mint flavors. Hint also has some really nice package design - its the only water that I can say that about.

But the biggest thing is that I haven't given up my Diet Pepsi completely. Someone asked me a while back if I was giving up soda or caffeine. I realized that I didn't know. Neither were a problem. Completely quitting wasn't the goal, being more healthy was. So - if I want a Diet Pepsi, I have one. I don't keep it at home now, so its not an easy habit. If I really want to walk to the store to get one, then fine. But I walk, and I only get one. If I eat out and happen to want one with what I'm having, then fine. I do. That has brought me down to about three a week. The habit is gone. I think I've succeeded.

  • caffeine content of Pepsi products and other drinks

    Casey Jordan said...

    Hey Jon, Congrats! I know it's not easy giving up on that stuff. Funny how you can accidently give it up. Sometimes these things are more habit then addiction. Good Luck sticking to it!

    Tim said...

    Ahhhh, one vice down...who knows home many more to go.

    Beer next? :-)

    langolier said...

    er-r-r-r, might that be 'milli' grams? 1000 milligrams = 1 gram.


    Unknown said...

    hey, youre on the science side of the family, I'm on the art side!