How to Quit Soda

Updated on March 01, 2010
C.M. asks from Harpers Ferry, WV
26 answers

I am really addicted to dr. pepper. I know it's really bad to be drinking any kind of soda. I have about 2-3 a day. I have tried to stop in the past, and did when I was pregnant, but now it just seems like that's the only way to wake myself up. What are some other alternatives? I need something sweet that also has some caffeine. I do not like tea. I think it tasts like dirt and I've tried a few different types. I also do not like coffee. So, is there any thing I can do? Or if I can get something without the caffeine and just deal with the headache for the week, and get past it, is there any way to make it easier to quit it?

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So What Happened?

So, I've gotten a lot of great advice, thank you!! We have a lot left over from my daughters birthday, so what I'm going to do is, just have only 1 a day for the first week. Then the 2nd week only 1 every other day, and then slowly each week go longer and longer with out having one until they are all gone. Then I'm not going to buy anymore. Does anyone know about sobe life water? I was thinking about trying that. I saw a big thing of it at costco last week, but I'm not sure how good it is. Thank you!! and hopefully this will work and in a couple weeks I will be soda free!

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answers from Los Angeles on

step it down gradually. when you have a withdrawl headache grab some excedrine. it has caffine in it. Drink plenty of water because regular ol dehydration can make the headache worse

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

Just wanted to give a shout out to the cali girl calling it "soda". I am originally a cali girl and I moved to you know that up here they call it "pop"?? WEIRD!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi C., Good Luck quitting soda. You will feel great once you have withdrawn from the stuff. Just an incentive that I wanted to pass on to you. Recently, I heard in the news, that soda drinkers were at a high risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

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answers from Pocatello on

I really love Dr. Pepper. I was drinking about 40 oz a day. It was expensive, bad for me and almost rotted out my teeth. My husband and I decided to give up pop together. We started in August 2008. He dropped Mt. Dew cold turkey and never had another one again. He had several migraines that were awful. I thought I would have to hospitalize him. It improved and he is fine now. I started gradually reducing the amount I drank in a day. Then I would go every other day. Then a few times a week. The withdrawal headaches were the worst! Tylenol didn't help. Sometimes I would go to sleep with one and wake up with one. Sometimes I would just take a few sips to ease the headache. I think I suffered for about a month. But it got better and now I hardly ever get headaches.

It sucks to quit but I recommend taking it slow. Also don't buy it at the store. Just ease off the caffeine, and the withdrawal symptoms are tolerable. Don't replace the soda with other caffeine, just get your body used to not having it. I drink A LOT of water and that seems to keep my cravings down. I still love the taste of it and I cheat every now and then and have one at a restaurant or something.

I also noticed that the caffeine went in my milk and upset my nursing baby and that seems to keep me away from it. I don't like having a fussy baby just to drink a Dr. Pepper. Good luck and take it slow.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Bite the bullet, girlfriend!!! That stuff is like a bad drug! involve your family, and decide in your head that this stuff is killing you slowly. While you are at it, just eliminate everything from your life that contains high fructose corn syrup. It really is very bad for your metabolism and general health. I know you can do it, it probably won't take longer than two or three days. I used to be a big fruit juice drinker, always had grape juice, apple juice, etc. in the house. I went on a diet and learned now many calories I was getting from that innocent sounding juice, so I eliminated all juice and just drank water. Now, I don't want anything sweet to drink, my kids are revolted by soda, and the only time they get juice is at a birthday party. If you really, really think about how much the Dr Pepper is adding to your caloric intake and your intake of miscellaneous chemicals, maybe that will motivate you. Just go cold turkey and get it all out of your house. You can do it, really!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If you want to gradually wean, they make caffeine-free Dr Pepper. You could substitute that for one of your cans, then for two of your cans, etc. Then you could substitute caffeine-free diet Dr Pepper for one of the cans, and so on. My guess is, it won't be as satisfying and you could give it up all together after that.

Try English Breakfast tea (or any good black tea) with milk and sugar. It does not taste like dirt that way. Of course, this is a substitution, so you'll have to do something if you start drinking too much of it or get addicted to it as well. But, if you go this route, it will be a LOT less sugar than in a Dr Pepper. They contain roughly the same amount of caffeine (tea may contain a little less if it is instant). If you do use a substitute and wean off the DP, at least that will help you break your psychological addiction to DP.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I suggest doing a tapering dose of caffeine to get off completely but without headaches. You can try english breakfast tea with cream and sugar. Its a wonderful fruity back tea. Though its earthy, green tea has the lowest levels of caffeine and can really help you kick the habit without headache. You can drink it with cream and sugar which should take away the earthiness. In fact if you like green tea ice cream, thats what it tastes like. If there's a chemical you need to have and you are willing to risk not only your health but your babies health to have it, then you really need to look at this thing you have to have and try and give it up- no matter how much you love it or think you have to have it. If you have to have it, you're an addict. We should all be free of things that have a hold of us like this- even caffeine. I'll tell you a little story about me and caffeine in pregnancy. Now they recommend no caffeine during pregnancy, but three years ago the word was that one cup was safe. I didn't want to give up my coffee so continued to drink my one cup a day while pregnant. But when I was far along enough to feel that baby move, I realized that she moved erratically and crazily right after my caffeine for about an hour. But she did not do those erratic movements at any other time of the pregnancy. I gave up my cup a day and felt guilt that my addiction had lead me to affect my unborn baby in such a way. Now, I've given it up completely for my current pregnancy. I drink and herbal coffee called" Teeccino (its great with cream and sugar). I don't want to come down hard on you or judge you, but I wish I had never had caffeine with my first. Also, first trimester will make you hopelessly tired- don't caffinate your way out of it! It takes two weeks to get over a caffeine addiction and after that your body will be as awake as though you'd had some.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I think gradually decreasing is a good idea. Also are you on a good multi-vitamin? If not, you may want to start one, and if you are, you might want to add a green tea supplement, so you get the benefits, but don't have to taste it. There are lots of great teas out there. I started with some fruity flavored teas to get used to it. Also, my son was addicted to pop and I started him on Perrier with flavored Stevia. They have rootbeer, lemon, etc. and it helped him kick the habit. I actually use the french vanilla stevia in plain goats milk yogurt and it gives it such a great taste. Iherb has great prices on Stevia and supplements and you can use the coupon code DEB480 to save $5 if you have never ordered from them before. I get all my supps from them as they have a great price.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

C., I feel your pain! Getting off soda is tough, especially the withdrawl headaches. I need my caffeine in the morning and like you, I'm not a fan of coffee or tea. Stepping it down does take the edge off, the cold turkey thing never worked for me. As far as feeling alert and waking up in the morning, one thing I found to be an amazing help was an apple. Strange, I know. I read somewhere that eating an apple in the morning was a better way to wake up than a cup of coffee. So, I tried it. I was shocked to find how well it worked. I love apples, so it wasn't a big stretch. I didn't find the same thing with pears or grapes or bananas or oranges, all of which I tried. It only worked with apples. I was amazed at how alert I felt, I wasn't so grouchy (mornings are NOT my strong point), and I felt this way without my soda first thing. I still like my soda, and probably drink it more than I should, but I don't need it to wake up in the mornings anymore. I figure if I can conquer one thing at a time, I've done ok. Good luck, you can do it!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Whatever way you try it is going to be tough. I know you said you don't like tea, but I use to hate tea as well. Someone made me flavored black tea and I thought it was alright and now I love it. has some amazing flavors. You can order sample flavors. 1 sample pack brewed for 30 min in gallon pitcher and then add 1 cup sugar. Serve chilled. This might help you get off carbonation. I had the same problem you had with soda.
I quit last year, but living in Japan has made it much easier. They offer everything, but soda in machines out here. You can always check out an Asian supermarket. They have vitamin energy drinks that are yummy. Good luck it is no easy task.
P.S. We call it soda in the south as well. lol

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

i think i would die without coffee. i think my headaches would be the end of me. so i shall never give up coffee.
i gave up sodas when i found out i was pregnant. i didn't drink not one during pregnancy, and then after giving birth i just didn't like them anymore. i was addicted to coke (cola cola :)
it's been 6 years now and i only drink my coffee in the am and then about 10 glasses a day water. i fill my cup with ice and water, uh, so yummi.
i like the idea of taking excedrin for your headaches if you're going to do this. i wish i could quit my coffee but i always throw up after taking something for a headache even if it is motrin or advil.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

C., I so hear you! I could have written this same question, verbatim! I didn't have a chance to read all the other responses, so pardon me if this is a duplicate. What worked for me is to change my routine. It wasn't so much that I was addicted to Pepsi, but to the event of going to get it. Every time I would drive anywhere, I would stop and get a Pepsi. So I had to change that habit first. Plus, I started working out in the mornings, and believe me, I didn't want one soda to ruin what I just accomplished running 4 miles on that elliptical machine! You have the right idea, too, about "weaning" yourself, that makes it easier. I didn't replace the caffeine; I think exercising in the morning wakes me up enough. I don't ever feel that I need any extra boost. Don't beat yourself up...Good luck! B.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

If you're tired all the time, there might be physiological reasons for it. One way to find out would be to have a 24-hour saliva test done for cortisol (this can be ordered by many alternative medicine practitioners). If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, it could account for your craving for stimulants, and the good news is that there are adaptogenic herbal formulas that will boost your adrenal function and reduce that fatigue naturally so you will have no more cravings. But get tested first, please don't self-medicate without knowing what is really going on.

Best of luck...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I gave up cold turky for Lent. I'm a 3-5 per day gal and I am actually fine, that is unless somebody opens a can of soda. Something about that hiss from the can right when you pop the top sounds heavenly! You can do it and you'll lose weight while you're at it. I lost 20 lbs when I quit a few years ago!



answers from Los Angeles on

To me, education is always the key.

You DO NOT need something sweet that has caffeine. You need something will hydrate your body and leave you feeling energetic and alive.

Why don't you look at something sweet, that will feed your body and sustain your energy?

C., make a decision about your HEALTH, please do not substitute one bad habit for another. If you are going to change a habit, replace the bad one with a good one.

Family Success Coach



answers from Kansas City on

My name's M. ...and I'm a Dr. Pepper addict...
OH!..I know this one...(maybe) I was addicted to Dr. Pepper, too. I totally understand. So what I found was this water that wal mart has. It is called Sam's Choice Clear American. There are several flavors but I liked strawberry the best.
As far as the caffiene part...well there are a lot of otherr means to get that.



answers from Los Angeles on

have u tried the Synergy kombucha drinks? u can get them at Wholefoods..i like the gingerberry one..they have a good kick to them and give u energy..try it out ...that's what i drink instead of soda.


answers from Los Angeles on

There are easier, more economical ways to get water.
Do some googling.



answers from Dallas on

I was/am completely addicted to Diet Coke. I love it. I have heard over and over again, how bad it is for me. When I realized I was pregnant, I just stopped. I do love a fizzy drink with certain foods though (ie. pizza, burgers...) So I bought cans of club soda. After weeks of no DC, I found that I didn't crave it anymore! My husband bought me some Caffeine Free Diet Coke (thinking Caffeine was my reason for quitting) and I'll occasionally have a couple sips, but I never finish a can.
You can do it--just get past the first two weeks or so--don't slip during those 2 weeks--and you won't need the caffeine OR the soda! You'll feel so much better, too!


answers from San Diego on

FRS! This stuff is great, is good for you and gives you healthy energy. it has a bit of caffeine in it, but less than a cup of coffee. I swear by it before and after having alcohol. If you feel a little cold coming on - drink it. check out the website to learn more: we order it online and use the liquid concentrate, but they have cans you can buy, small powder packs you can put in your purse. all my friends and my Mom love it now too



answers from Boston on

I switched to sparkling water. You can get flavored ones (raspberry lime, orange, etc) or just plain unflavored. Mixing it 1/2 and 1/2 with grape juice or cranberry juice has totally replaced my Coke addiction. You get the fizzy and the sweet kick -- just no caffiene. Over time, you may find yourself adding less and less juice and therefore less sugar. Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

how about home made smoothies?

bananas, strawberry, kiwi, vanilla yogurt, and fresh squeezed orange juice or store brand should be okay (or any fresh fruit juice). VERY HEALTHY

or if you decide to buy your smoothie at a local robeks or jamba juice, just know that any smoothie that adds "fruit juice from concentrate", which all their drinks do, is not going to be naturally healthy. It's packed with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. So maybe ask them to replace it with orange juice (even if it's not fresh squeezed, it's still a lot healthier than the other juices they have). And some have ice cream. I would leave that out if you're trying to go the healthy route, and ask for yogurt instead.



answers from Chicago on

I think the best thing to do is to make a plan. Ration out what you have left...two a day for a couple of days, then one a day, then maybe every other day until it's all gone. DON'T BUY MORE!

If you get the headaches, try to drink more water and maybe take 1 Excedrin. If you need a sweet drink, try OJ or apple juice.

Cutting out soda and coffee can be very hard. I do still have 2 cups of coffee a day with creamer, but have done well off soda. Now, if I have 2 a week it's a "treat". I don't chug it, I drink water beforehand so I don't feel thirsty, then I can slowly drink the soda and enjoy it.

Good luck


answers from Los Angeles on sound just like me!! I am still fighting my battle with Diet Coke, but I have found that Crystal Light makes a drink (in powder form that is added to water) which has a small amount of caffeine in it - it is the "energy" crystal light. It comes in a few flavors and is pretty good (the lemonade flavor that I tried was pretty good). Plus it will help you to drink more water and stay hydrated.

Also, if you decide to go cold turkey and get the caffeine headaches you may want to try Excederine ("the headache medicine") because at least some of the varieties have a small amount of caffeine in them, to take the edge off and it might help step you down from caffeine without as much of a headache.

Good Luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C., I come from a family of soda addicts, and I think you just need to go cold turkey. You might get a headache for a day or two but it will be worth it. Try having some OJ or fruit and do some stretches to wake yourself up. You will feel better not to have all of that soda every day! It will be good for you and your body, and to make a good example for your child.


answers from San Antonio on

You sound like me three weeks ago. I was only drinking one DP a day (17 oz), and now in just three weeks I'm down to two a week and I feel more energized than before!

So when I have a sweet craving (after meals, when my son's napping) I suck on a jolly rancher. It lasts a good 10 minutes maybe and satisfies me. And istead of soda, it's water water water. I still have my coffee in the morning, but sodas only twice a week. (Twice a week helps the headaches from ever coming - as I know what you mean that you will get headaches after 3 days or so of no soda). I think the Jolly Ranchers are 30 calories each? Much better than sodas. And the caffeine - honesty if you try drinking lots of water I think you will feel more energized. Try it. And good luck!

Oh and I have lost at least a couple of pounds already, just from cutting the sodas! Oh and great idea from the other poster - if you don't buy the sodas, then you can't drink the sodas. For me, I buy a 6 pack and it will last me 2 or 3 weeks. But my way to not drink them also is 'dont put them in the fridge' because I don't lik them on ice.

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