How To Break A Diet Soda Addiction: Tips From A Former (Diet) Cokehead

by | May 16, 2012

It’s the rare person who has never been a victim of Diet Coke. I’ve definitely been there, and I’m not proud of it. My friend E—geek girl extraordinare—overcame her Diet Coke addiction, and can help you find your way to recovery.

Since 2008, E. Foley has been helping geeks find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles and guides her clients through the perilous waters of the dating scene. She’s totally proud to report that she’s even caused a couple geek weddings! As part of her quest for her healthstyle, she is an admin at Plus5CHA, a fitness & health community for geeks. (Visit GeeksDreamGirl.com or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

How To Break A Diet Soda Addiction: Tips From A Former (Diet) Cokehead

by E. Foley

Hi, everyone. My name is E and I’m an addict.

(Hi, E.)

CNN recently posted an article entitled “Can you get hooked on diet soda?” Before I clicked on it, I thought to myself, “Duh, of course you can. Been there, done that.”

The addict in the opening paragraph of the article sounds just like me a few years back:

First thing every morning, Ellen Talles starts her day by draining a supersize Styrofoam cup filled with Diet Coke and crushed ice. The 61-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla., drinks another Diet Coke in the car on the way to work and keeps a glass nearby “at all times” at her job as a salesclerk. By the end of the day she has put away about 2 liters.

“I just love it,” she says. “I crave it, need it. My food tastes better with it.”

My preferred poison was Diet Pepsi, but I’ll still refer to myself as a recovering (diet) cokehead. It was my coffee in the morning, it was my pick-me-up mid-morning, it was my lunch beverage of choice, it was how I washed down my afternoon snack, and it was the drink of multiple refills if we went out for dinner. Two liters a day? Easily.

It took me three tries over several years to fully break my addiction.

Each time I quit I went through the horrible withdrawal symptoms. Headaches, irritability, and the unrelenting desire to take one long draw on a cold bottle of Diet Pepsi and feel the sweet rush of it as it traveled from my tongue to my brain. Even though it’s been several years since my last Diet Pepsi, I can still remember that feeling. That rush I got when feeding my addiction is still there, buried in my brain.

Which is, of course, why I will still refer to myself as a (diet) cokehead. I could, if I chose to feed the beast, reawaken the same addiction and be back to a two-liter a day habit.

5 Tips For Quitting Your Diet Soda Addiction

1. Don’t feel like you have to go cold turkey.

It’s what worked for me, but it may not work for you. Maybe set a rule for yourself that you only drink diet soda when you’re out at a restaurant. Since your SummerTomato-esque healthstyle involves more meals at home, that’ll cut down on the diet soda you drink. Later, you can start substituting other drinks when you eat out until you’re eventually soda-free.

2. Remove the addictive substance from your environment.

Smokers will attest that it’s harder to quit when someone else’s cigarettes are in the house. It’s the same for a diet soda addiction. Try to enlist your family, partner, or housemates to quit with you. If they can’t or won’t, see if you can put the soda in another location. Get a mini fridge for it and put it in another room. Out of sight, out of mind.

3. Be prepared for the withdrawal symptoms.

Your body is addicted to this substance. Your brain is addicted to the high you get from it. When that feeling disappears, your body will fight tooth and nail to get it back, to get that next fix. You’ll probably feel downright terrible – headaches, irritability, lack of focus.

  • Time your quitting so you can be out of focus and irritable without it affecting your life too much. Don’t quit diet soda the week of the giant research paper or the big work project or your wedding. That’s just a recipe for disaster on both fronts.
  • Get some ibuprofin, or your anti-headache medicine of choice. Remember, these headaches are temporary and they will go away. No sense to suffer through them when you can dull the pain.

4. Substitute a tasty beverage that you enjoy.

When I quit, my savior was unsweetened iced tea with lemon. It gave me enough caffeine to dull the headaches and it was sugar-free and natural. Nowadays, my #1 beverage is water, followed by unsweetened iced tea. Here are some substitutes for diet soda:

  • Water. It’s not as boring as it sounds. Flavor it up with a squirt of lemon, lime, or orange.
  • Sassy Water. I tried this recipe from The Flat Belly Diet and it’s pretty darn good. If you hate straight-up water, give it a shot. It tastes very fresh and zippy.

2 liters water (about 8 ½ cups) 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced 1 medium lemon, thinly sliced 12 small spearmint leaves. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and let flavors blend overnight.

  • Unsweetened Tea. As a former resident of NC, I can tell you that asking for unsweetened iced tea in the South will get some really odd looks (especially after you tell them you won’t require fake sugars either). But most places have it, and you’ll discover quickly which restaurants have unsweetened iced tea worth drinking.Hot tea is also amazing, especially if you get loose leaf tea rather than grocery store teabags. My favorite loose leaf teas come from Adagio Teas and their Ingenuitea teapot is super spiffy for brewing.
  • Italian Soda. If you can afford a few extra calories, consider stepping down from diet soda to Italian Soda. You make Italian soda by mixing carbonated water with flavored simple syrup. Torani syrups come in a myriad of flavors and are made with cane sugar (not HFCS). It’s 100 calories for two tablespoons, but trust me, you do not need two tablespoons, or even two teaspoons, to transform your water into something a bit more flavorful. Be careful to watch your consumption of Italian soda. It won’t have all the calories (or chemicals) of a HFCS soda, but the empty calories do add up. (Torani does make sugar-free syrup, but it may be better to go the more natural route, even if it does mean a few more calories.)

5. Get a sponsor.

No, you’re not an alcoholic. Diet soda isn’t going to ruin your life and relationships the way alcoholism can. But you will need help sometimes, and it’s good to have a friend or three you can call or text or visit when you’re feeling the need to swing into a 7-11 for a Big Gulp. Have your lifelines on speed dial and don’t be afraid to use them.

You can do it!

Why don’t you drink soda?

Originally published March 9, 2011.

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67 Responses to “How To Break A Diet Soda Addiction: Tips From A Former (Diet) Cokehead”

  1. Ken Leebow says:

    The quick fix … sparkling water. No need to purchase the fancy brands. Just go for the store brand.

  2. Jill says:

    Oooh diet Coke – how I miss you! I didn’t consume large quantities (1-2 cans a day, occasionally a glass of it at lunch) but I had to caffeine in some for every day. I knew it was something I wanted to cut out – between the chemicals, the caffeine, the acidity, etc – but it’s so yummy.
    Well, the day I found out I was pregnant, I knew that was the it, I was done with caffeinated soda. BUT, it was also the same day I was going on a big business trip back east for 4 days. Not the time to cut the caffeine! But, I ended up having 1/2 can on the plane that morning and tried to hold out the rest of the day. Towards the night, I started to get that horrible caffeine headache I always get if I skip a soda for the day, so I drank about 6 sips of coffee right before bed. Headache dulled enough to go to sleep and I was fine the next day. Tired as heck, but no headache.
    I haven’t had a diet coke (or caffeine) since then & it hasn’t been so bad. I don’t miss it like I thought I would (ok, maybe once in a while) but I do drink a lot of water, occasionally a Sprite or non-Barq’s root beer, a diet Hansen’s once in a while, etc.
    Good luck to those trying to quit!

    • E. Foley says:

      Dealing with the headaches is the worst, especially when you know that just one glass of diet soda could make them stop. Congrats on quitting!

    • John Fulkerson says:

      I’m totally hooked on diet coke. Two big bottles a day. I’ve tried and tried to quit. No luck. I gotta get off this stuff. Could you help me?

      I’m overweight, heart palpitations, etc. I gott quit. I quit smoking, quit drinking, but I simply can’t quit this.

      I need some help. Perhaps start a twelve step group. I can’t find one on the website.

      • Lou says:

        I sympathise. Same here. Just had first nlp session and done one day without -he gave me relaxation and images to put in place of dc. Can you see if you can find nlp trainer?

      • Sandra says:

        Try foodaddicts.org for a meeting in your area. Helps to have others who have been there or are there, to quit with the diet soda and overeating. And it is free!

  3. Tracy says:

    I love mixing seltzer water with fruit juices to create my own soda. Of course, you still have to watch the calories, but it does help make a few ounces of juice into a more satisfying beverage.

    • E. Foley says:

      Yes! I’ll do that with juices anyway. (It’s funny, I saw a product that was essentially juice + water being sold in the juice section of my grocery store… for about the same price as 100% juice.)

  4. Andrew Violette says:

    Nice article. I found that I was in it for the fizz, so rather than Italian Soda, I switched to club soda, perrier or San Pellegrino, or some kind of sparkling water. On the rare occasion when I’m craving a real soda, I have a real soda (although I try to buy the Mexican Coke that has real cane sugar).

  5. Darya Pino says:

    I stopped drinking soda when I stopped shopping at grocery stores. I barely even noticed, but realized at some point that I had stopped ordering it in restaurants as well.

    I got used to real food, now soda just seems strange.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi,

      I just want to let you know that I agree with you Darya as well. I am currently kicking the diet pop and it has been an easy thing to do now that I have been eating alot healthier. I tried to kick it before but because I wasn’t eating healthy enough, I did not have the energy or endurance to kick it but now I do. Never underestimate the power of healthy eating.

  6. thomas says:

    you might wanna try http://www.specialteas.com/ … they package their loose tea in an airtight,light-blocking plastic bag that is great for storage (and you can remove their labels easily in case you decide to put the tea in a tin).

  7. Ben says:

    I quit all sodas years ago. Now if I taste one they taste horrible and give me a stomach ache. Diet sodas taste like chemicals, which isn’t surprising since that’s what they are! If you are quitting, just remember someday they will taste like what they are, crap!

    • E. Foley says:

      I was also amazed at how bad diet soda tastes. But oddly, there’s still a tiny portion of my brain that remembers the “good ol’ days.”

      • Tam says:

        If you drink decaff Diet sodas especially like Diet Rite..No calories, no caffeine and no sodium, then I’m wondering what is so bad about that? I’m guessing the artificial sweeteners because everything has chemicals in it, just read any label. So can anyone tell me why it’s so bad to have this as a drink of choice, why exactly are they so bad for you? If you drink decaff then you shouldn’t have headaches if you quit. I couldn’t find anything in the article to support why it is so bad for your body. And I’ve never drank unsweetened tea before, so can you also explain why this is better?? Thanks, any advice is well appreciated.

      • C-A says:

        Hi Tam,

        I am not an expert, but recently shared a facebook string with a friend of mine who is an artificial sweetener addict. I started looking around and found some info when specifically looking to read about Splenda.

        This is a website based upon Stevia that details side-affects of alternative sugar substitutes. Granted it is a site that appears to be in favor of stevia, so they may be motivated to knock out other products, but the splenda info alone was enlightening as to why I happen to get headaches when consuming products that use this artificial sweetener (which I don’t anylonger): http://www.steviasideeffects.org/splenda-side-effects/

        An excerpt:
        “One of the benefits of Splenda brings also a negative side effect. When you consume an artificial sweetener, your body thinks you’re eating sugar and it produces insulin to absorb the sugar. The problem is that -as already said- Splenda doesn’t influence the blood sugar level, so there is no sugar to be absorbed and you got to much insulin in your blood, and this will raise your appetite (on sugar). But that’s a general problem of artificial sweeteners.

        Moreso, it explains the creation of the Splenda product, which is enough to make anyone wary of artificial sweeteners:

        “In 1975 the two chemists Leslie Hough and his student Shashikant Phadnis of the Queen Elizabeth University in London started to experiment with sugar and chlorine to develop an insecticide. Hough told his student Phadnis to test a compound they had created, but it is said thataccidentally he understood that he should taste it. This way, they found out about the extreme sweetening powers of their product, Sucralose. It was 600 times sweeter than normal sugar. Over the next years they worked together with the sugar company Tate & Lyle to develop the final structure of the sweetener and the salable sugar substitute Splenda.”

        I also checked wikipedia just to see how closely related it was: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splenda

        Granted these aren’t all of the research you should do to determine why something is bad for you, but for a while, I’ve avoided soda for a while, though I had a big diet coke phase during college and I admit that reading this article kinda made a diet coke sound attractive to me right now. I have also started to cut coffee out of my diet (though I feel pressured to have some sort of special morning beverage, so I drink 100% coconut water when I can afford it… otherwise, just plain water gets the job done nowadays). I have way more energy since I quit soda and coffee (and cigarettes!)

        Anyway, maybe this can get you started on why diet soda isn’t good for peeps. :)

      • ada says:

        Nobody has mentioned that the carbonation actually lowers your calcium levels. I found this out the hard way. MY drink of choice was always CF diet Pepsi and by drinking CF I thought I was doing good. I actually found out that at the amount I was drinking (about 2 liters a day) was lowering my calcium level dramically.

      • Ron Dodson says:

        I believe the aspertame withrawl causes headaches just like the caffine. Thats why its so hard to give up the diet drinks.

  8. Tracy says:

    I also just crave it for the fizz, so I do club soda at restaurants and LaCroix (grapefruit or lime) at home.

    • Lela Kurtz says:

      Carbonated water is not completely the answer either. It has as much acid as other sodas and can cause degeneration of the dentin on your teeth. Better substitutes are xylitol, erythritol, and I just learned about coconut sugar. Stevia is suppose to be very safe also but I have not liked the taste and it seems to give me a headache.

      • Darya Pino says:

        I’ve looked into the carbonated water question extensively and the data does not support the idea that it is worse on the teeth: http://blog.zocdoc.com/does-carbonated-water-harm-your-bones-and-teeth-fact-vs-myth/

      • Lela Kurtz says:

        I was speaking about the acidic ph which is about 3-4 which is very acidic. Acidic food and drinks effect the teeth directly by not only allowing the bacteria to grow, but, also the acid directly causes loss of dentin, which covers the teeth. I wish this was not true. It would make my life so much easier and more pleasurable but I have to do what I can to avoid dental problems.

        I also love colas and bubbly water. I do get the naturally carbonated water from Trader Joes. I also have found a xylitol sweetened cola syrup from Natural Flavors. I had to give up sugar because of Sjogren’s disease my teeth were being very quickly destroyed in the amount of $9000 in less then 9 months, not including insurance payments.

        Because of this I have also done a lot of research on how to protect your teeth. I have read multiple scientific studies and dental reports on the effects of both sugar and bubbly water on the teeth. It was suggested if these were going to be used, to use a straw to help prevent the soda from directly flooding the teeth. Also to rinse the mouth frequently with water. I use xylitol which has a ph of 8 and helps to neutralize the ph to a more alkaline level. It has also showed in some medical studies that xylitol is protective to the teeth and the gums. So for they have not found any real side effects as with other substitutes and it taste exactly like sugar with 40% of the calories. Some people do have some GI problems with it when they first start using it. We don’t have all the answers but it seems to be less harmful than sugar and the sugar substitutes and also has some good benefits on the body.

        You can add a little baking soda to your plain water and either drink this or at least rinse your mouth out with it several times a day. Brushing your teeth with xylitol tooth paste and rinsing your mouth with xylitol mouth wash several times a day will help keep your teeth protected.

        There is also many good health reasons to keep your body less acidic so that is why I try to eat more alkaline foods and use baking soda as an alkaline product. It has been suggested that we all have
        ionizers on our water faucets which cost over $1000, since even drinking water has an acidic ph. I refuse to spend this type of money at this time, but will do what I can live with, to keep my teeth healthy and avoid the cost of implants.

        I have not read the studies on carbonated water on the bones because that was not my direct concern at this time.. maybe when I get control of a few other problems. thanks for your comments. Lela

  9. susan says:

    I went from two litres of diet Coke or Pepsi per day to no diet soda literally overnight. I bought a thermos that is shaped like the 24-ounce diet Coke bottles that I used to drink and simply substituted cold, unsweetened tea for the pop. ‘Still getting the caffeine, still have the action of drinking something, and it was absolutely no problem. When I heard all the really bad things they’re learning about artificial sweeteners, giving it up was easy.

    • sbergs says:

      I’m a total diet Pepsi junkie! I drink it until I feel like I’m burnings hole in my stomach. What’s wrong with me? Worse addiction I’ve ever had! Also I had a urologist tell me that carbonated beverages of any kind are bad for your kidneys. Just one more reason to give it up

  10. Diane says:

    I live in North Carolina. We grew up drinking tea instead of soda. It is true, asking for unsweetened gets a strange look. In fact, in NC, if you order tea, you are going to get sweetened unless you specify otherwise. Well, in Asheville they tend to ask since they get so many tourist but not so much in the triad region. Don’t be surprised if you see it in baby bottles and sippy cups either! Anyway, I didn’t start drinking soda until I was in college. I never liked diet soda but was a sucker for root beer and pepsi. I can’t say that I have an addiction like others – I could go for weeks without a soda – but when I want one, I REALLY want one. I do find that the thing I like about soda is not the flavor so much as the fizz. Like others, I’ve found that seltzer water, San Pellegrino and the like satisfy me just fine. If I want a little flavor, I might add a splash of juice if I have any on hand, or a slice of citrus. I do, however, love italian sodas and have to be careful not to drink too many of them.

  11. Funny, this topic just came up amongst my exercise (zumba) group. A few are quitting the diet coke and having issues with that. I’m going to share this with my facebook group.

  12. Chris says:

    Although I may have had a diet drink in the far away past, I grew to understand the danger of artificial sweeteners. Would have an occasional root beer soda about once or twice a year with lots of ice, shared with my hubby. But now it’s no sodas of any kind ever to stave off the cancer monster–no sugar in my body to feed it. Yeah!

  13. I am the biggest diet coke head. I just told my husband that I was going to give it up for Lent this year. These tips will for sure help me out in my time of need. ;)

  14. Connie says:

    I drank a diet pop once and got so sick from it that I never wanted another one. Artificial sweeteners and I don’t get along.

    That said, I did drink a lot of regular pop until about 8 years ago, when one of my doctors told me I’d really benefit from cutting way back on caffeine. Doctors tell me to do a lot of things, but that one stuck, and I haven’t had a caffeinated beverage since. Since I mostly drank pop for the caffeine, that alone cut my consumption way down.

    Today I’ll have a root beer, cream soda, or lemon-lime once a week at the most, and it’s always a treat that way. I do like to keep ginger ale and/or 7-Up on hand for upset tummies. Otherwise, I almost always drink water or decaf iced tea (made with maybe a 1/4 cup of sugar in each 3-quart batch).

    But it’s no holds barred when it comes to cherry limeade from Sonic, which is basically Sprite with a little grenadine and lime. LOVE IT. :D

  15. Oh My Word! Why did it take me so long to discover your site? I’ve been blogging about “living the good life” in the Texas Hill Country around Austin for several years now, and am also a volunteer with a group called The Bountiful Sprout (just got our first write-up in Edible Austin) who’s goal is to seek out all the local growers and producers who use sustainable methods and hook them up with people who want to know where their food comes from and how it was raised or produced. People are always asking me things like “But, what on earth do I do with this kohlrabi?” Now I can just forward them to your blog!

  16. Christina says:

    I quit diet coke cold turkey last January after being addicted to it for 10 years. I realized I needed the fizz on my tongue and so I switched to sparkling water, which I had never really cared for, but realized after drinking it that I could get the same sensation on my tongue with none of the bad chemicals. I only had a sip or two here and there to remind myself why I was stopping and really couldn’t understand what had made me like the taste for so long, it really tasted like tin to me. I can say that I taste my food more now that I’m not numbing my tongue with the drink and I feel satisfied with my food much more quickly now.

  17. Satu says:

    Oh, you remind me of the joys of cold diet Pepsi! :-) I don’t think I’m addicted to it but sometimes I drink too much.

    I have always drunk a lot of unsweetened black tea and sometimes I wonder if I’m addicted to it. On the other hand I didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms when I switched to green tea in the evenings.

  18. DownloadDude says:

    NO this isnt an anti aspartame rant this is MY opinion and suggestions about WHY I personaly do not drink soda and also my suggestions—–

    Aspartame is super bad for you no matter what they change the name of it to. It’s been PROVEN that aspartame drinks (diet soda in particular) mess with your brain as you body expects to be getting something sweet and tasty when you drink the soda…but you dont get the sugar it thinks its getting….and then your body whines and makes you crave carbs so you stuff your face to compensate for the urges.It’s a drug that makes you crave carbohydrates a drug thats been proven in rats to cause neurological damage and other issues like brain tumors
    Aspartame is found in over 5,000 products.

    Aspartame was originally created as an ulcer drug NOT a sweetner The chemists found out it was sweet in nature. ORIGINALLY named saccharin. then changed to NutraSweet then name changed to aspartame….
    http://www.bonfirehealth.com/our-doctors/dr-paul/posts/the-diet-soda-death-trap

    Hawaii Bills to Ban Aspartame
    http://www.thenhf.com/article.php?id=2749

    you can do your own aspartame research….

    Aspartame is the main reason i stay away from diet soda and the fast and simple powder packs u toss in a bottle of water.
    —-
    Sparkling water: Faygo lemon lime, raspberry etc.. ONLY water and flavoring no aspartame….. the lemon lime over ice taste like 7up or sprite but with no sugar.

    PLAIN sparkling water: 3/4 a glass of sparkling water to 1/4 juice…grape, raspberry, cranberry all those work good…..tried it with apple was a bit nasty.

    Flavored stevia drops into some sparkling water rocks….vanilla creme stevia drops from http://www.sweetleaf.com (store is here http://www.buywisdom.com/products.asp?dept=2 ) tastes just like creme soda. you CAN get it cheaper at herbal sites or maybe even your local health/vitamin store.

    ALSO drink tea…celestial seasonings has awesome flavored green tea like blueberry, raspberry….lipton green has citrus

    ALSO go here http://www.truelemon.com they have cold pressed DRIED lemon, lime and orange powder. one packet = one lemon wedge equivalent. Its not super sour or tart (love buying and squeezing real lemon into a quart bottle and sipping on that all day…but whose gonna juice a lemon daily) so carrying a few packets of true lemon or lime aorund rocks.

    • Tam says:

      Thank You DD, that was helpful information I needed, appreciate your time.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Sorry, I feel like I need to step in here. Just to be clear, I’ve read all the data and aspartame has not been PROVEN to mess with your brain. It has just been suggested that may be possible from rodent studies. Rodents and humans have different digestive system properties, and you can’t just assume that if something happens one way in rats or mice then it is the same in humans.

      Also to be clear, aspartame is not another name for saccharine, they are different chemicals. They each have different brand names (SweetNLow is saccharine and NutraSweet/Equal are aspartame).

      There are a lot of reasons to be suspicious of aspartame, and I’m certainly not a fan. I just want to make sure everyone has their facts straight.

      Tam, some studies have suggested (rather weakly) that aspartame is linked to cancer. The problem is there is too much politics around this to trust much of the data. To me the biggest reason to avoid it is it is unnatural and it doesn’t help. What we do know is that people who use artificially sweetened products aren’t any thinner (if anything they’re heavier), so what’s the point?

  19. DownloadDude says:

    someone had this on FB

    Creme Soda
    10 drops root beer flavored sweet leaf drops
    4 drops vanilla creme flavored sweet leaf drops
    8 oz carbonated (or sparkling) water

    Root beer
    15 drops root beer flavored sweet leaf drops
    8 oz carbonated (or sparkling) water

    Orange soda
    15 drops Valencia orange flavored sweet leaf drops
    8 oz carbonated (or sparkling) water

    7-UP
    10 drops Valencia orange flavored sweet leaf drops
    8 oz carbonated (or sparkling) water

    Orange Creme
    10 drops Valencia orange flavored sweet leaf drops
    4 drops vanilla creme flavored sweet leaf drops
    8 oz carbonated (or sparkling) water

    TEA: has wayyyyyyyyy less caffeine then a cup of coffee. or soda.
    http://www.celestialseasonings.com/products/category.html/green-teas

    Blueberry Breeze® Green Tea
    Raspberry Gardens® Green Tea

    VERY fragrant and yummy even cold

    also mentioned normal green tea i use liptons regular AND also their citrus…..but some people like celestial seasonings teas.

    I’ve been off soda for 2 years….problem is tho I still get “aspartamed “on occasion in gum like extra (sucks you cant find a sugar free gum without aspartame)

    now to attempt to get away from high fructose corn syrup…..grr
    all that unhealthy garbage they “invent” to replace natures yummy stuff.

    DONT even get me started on the fluoride in the drinking water stuff….all im gonna say is stick to distilled water if you can.

    • Tam says:

      I didn’t know fluoride water is bad for either, sheesh, can you tell I’m new here. Why does the dentist give it to me twice a year then?

      • Darya Pino says:

        Again, the fluoride issue is complicated. There is absolutely no danger from topical application of fluoride that your dentist gives you. Some people say that drinking fluoride is bad for you, and I don’t think their case is very strong. Be careful who you believe on the internet.

        In either case, distilled water is not your best option. Mineral water is the best (it doesn’t have fluoride). Trace elements of minerals in water are important for your health and nervous system. There’s a reason distilled water tastes bad to humans, we are meant to have those trace minerals in there. Distilled water doesn’t exist in nature. It’s useful in the lab and in other places, but there’s no need to drink it.

      • Tam says:

        Thank you for the advice, you’ve been very helpful.

  20. Kendall says:

    Wow…. I quit a few weeks ago. I lose weight so much faster when I’m not sipping on Coke Zero all day.
    I bought a Pur Flavor Options Filter Pitcher. It has flavor cartridges and you can pump some flavor into your glass.
    No COKE is allowed in the house. I have two cans left in case of an emergency.
    Do they have meetings for Diet Coke addicts??
    XoXo

  21. Keith says:

    Well, 24 hours in to my quitting. So far, it’s going OK. Had a slight headache brewing, but my hour at the gym seemed to take that away a bit. Started drinking decaf green tea today, lemongrass, which as surprisingly good. So far, so good. I’ve also been able to identify my worst craving times. Good to know that I think.

  22. Laura says:

    This is such a good article, there are clearly so many people struggling with aspartme addiction.Its horrendous.
    For any people out there who are struggling with diet coke addiction and want a place to vent, swap ideas or just read my attempt to quit then please read and feel free to comment on my brand new blog. [link removed]

    Take Care X

  23. Eden says:

    As a fellow DC addict (though trying to cut back!), appreciate the tips and advice. I pulled together this list of articles, blog posts, tips and other information related to Diet Coke – like a cheat sheet to DC addiction. Of course I included this great post here. Please do add to it if you have something to share:

    Diet Coke Addiction – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
    http://www.skinnyscoop.com/list/eden/diet-coke-addiction-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly

  24. Lydia Miller says:

    I am a Diet Pepsihead!
    So I drink A LOT of Diet Pepsi. In fact I have a 2 liter sitting by me right now….and I’m drinking from the bottle. I work at Pizza Hut and we get $1 medium drinks with as many refills as we want throughout our shift. I fill it up with Diet Pepsi and will keep refilling it all the way through my 4 to 9 hour shifts about 5 days a week. I go to local gas station about 4 times a week to buy the 1 liters they sell whenever I’m not at school or work, and I buy 2 liters at the grocery store to keep at home for when I don’t eat out. Its my beverage of choice at almost every restaurant and if there are free refills I will get about 5 to 10 throughout a meal. At my college they only have diet coke in the vending machines but I still find myself inserting that $1.25 for a fix before and after every class. I go to school 4 days a week and have 5 classes. Like I said I drink ALOT! My friend was recently talking to me about my “addiction” and told me that when she was on a diet she also stopped drinking diet soda and lost 14 pounds in 2 weeks. Now, I am not on a diet, but would like to lose some weight. I know stopping drinking diet soda will definitely help my health. Other people have told me that I should stop…. But its not that easy! I even tried to quit cold turkey once…..yeah…that didn’t go so well! So I decided to google my it and see what I could find. These tips are very helpful and I know it won’t be easy…but its good to know that I am not the only one.

  25. ag says:

    I get this totally. I have always thought Diet Pepsi was a horrible thing. My mom got me hooked on it ever since I was little… She has had an addiction to it for 40+ years and is obese and has hypertension. I am also obese and have hypertension. I’m trying to quit, and feel like I get ridiculed by people when I say I’m trying to stop drinking diet pepsi. I had quit for a few months and lost 20 pounds with no effort, but made the mistake of having some again. I’m in the process of trying again, hopefully this time it works out! Then I’m hounding my mother to stop to. Good luck to everyone else trying to stop!

  26. Stephanonymous says:

    Thanks for posting this, I may have to give the italian sodas or sparkling water a try. I feel like I am more addicted to the “bite” it gives you when you throw back a freshly-opened coke. Right now I am trying to cut back to 4 cans a day (I could easily consume 2-3x that if I wasn’t checking myself). One on my drive in the morning, one with lunch, one in the late-afternoon, and one with dinner. At my absolute worst I remember needing a diet coke in the afternoon one day, and having barely any change on me for the machine, so I scrounged around the concrete ground for dropped coins. When I couldn’t find enough, I went to the trunk of my car and managed to find a single beat-up can that had been there for weeks. It was flat and hot and disgusting, but you should have seen how fast I downed it. That’s when I realized “Yea, this is a problem.”

  27. Joe says:

    I like that, “get a sponsor” idea.

    Sure, tongue-in-cheek, but does underscore the point that soda is an addictive substance. By design.

    Those foodie industrialists are sure sharp. The fat/sugar/salt trifecta with a mix of other savory addictive additives keep us yelping for more of that stuff stuffed in cans and boxes.

    To those wondering what all the soda-fuss is about, consider what happens within one hour of drinking one: http://wp.me/pA04z-xU

  28. Dee says:

    When I feel like having a coke (very very rare) I always mix a small amount with regular cold water — the taste on the tongue of straight Coke – diet, zero or regular is way too sweet – I enjoy that.

    I’m really sorry for those who are addicted- i have some friends in that predicament.

    I see parents feeding their children coke, I never give my kids coke (probably the rare occasion flavored soda at parties etc. they may be allowed to consume if desired ). I rem as a child being told not to drink too much of it… One good advice from my mom….

    Are you aware that there are religions that do not allow its members to drink coke? – the seventh day Adventists … I’m not sure of their reason tho…

    Why don’t people just drink water!

  29. Jane Carroll says:

    I kicked the diet coke habit a few years ago…pretty much by accident. In an effort to get healthier I decided that I was going to drink at least 4-16oz bottles of water a day…and then…I could drink my diet coke…the first few days I drank a diet coke in the afternoon…then…one day…I realized I hadn’t drunk one…and…I just never went back. Today, my drink of choice is water with lime and the occasional unsweetened tea with lemon.

  30. Karebear says:

    Thanks for the tips! I am in the process of quitting myself and they will come in handy. My 5th attempt and hopefully my last!

  31. Lisa says:

    Pepsi has been my addiction for 30 years. I have been drinking excessive amounts daily. I would have a 2 liter next to my bed, on the sofa table, kitchen counter and so on, just so as long as it was at my reach. I have tried many times to quit but cant. I don’t smoke drink or do drugs but I cant give up my addiction to diet pepsi. and its true it triggers cravings for sweets. the best thing is a sweet and an ice cold glass of diet pepsi. Today I made the decision to attempt to quit for good. I have been drinking unsweetened tea so I get the caffine but want to eventually cut that also. wish me luck!

  32. Natalie says:

    I tried to quit two days ago– I’ve been addicted for years, now. I went the whole day with only one can and a couple sips from another can (the rest of my drinks were water), and then the next day (yesterday), I didn’t have any diet coke at all…

    And then I got to work at 4pm (I work nights), and I had been fighting a headache all day, and that headache just didn’t go away. There was nausea, sensitivity to light, the whole shebang. I drank two bottles of water, took 4 advil, tried eating– nothing worked. I eventually had to go home sick it was so bad. Even drinking a can of DC didn’t help.

    I guess I am not going to be able to go cold turkey, I’ll have to wean myself off of it slowly but surely.

    I don’t drink coffee at all, so I guess the ‘out at restaurants’ thing won’t work. I’ll try to get down to 3 cans a day to begin with, and go from there.

    Kind of thought I was overreacting and attributing it to trying to quit DC when it wasn’t really that, but reading this makes me realize that probably was it. :(

  33. Dianne says:

    I’m on day 2 of quitting my DC addiction. It hurts to put that in print. I have such a headache and I really want a soda because I am hot from housework and my kids are driving me nuts. But, I made it through yesterday and I am more than 1/2 way through today so I will keep going. I’ve been off from it before (pregnancies) but went back. I know the bad consequence of DC on my calcium levels. My mom has osteoporosis and I should be more concerned about myself. But right now, my motivation is this awful weight that I’ve been putting on no matter all of the good food choices I’ve been making. I finally got myself back to the gym and there was an article posted there about how badly DC messes up your metabolism. I hate this belly fat and if DC is causing it to pile on there…then good bye Diet Coke. I will miss you but I won’t miss this belly fat! So that is my motivation. It has been hard to not stop at a convenience store and buy a soda. And it has been terribly hard to think of the next time that I might go to McDonalds or another place and NOT order a soda. I’ll just have to stay out of those places for a long time!

    • Dianne says:

      @Darya Rose: Thank you for your reply. Knowing that my comment was read by someone has helped with my endurance this week. Yesterday’s headache was not as bad as the others have been and I have just a hint of a headache today. Mainly I’ve been soooo tired! And I still feel very deprived. I miss my bubbly cold “friend”…who isn’t a friend at all. I’ve even survived two occasions at restaurants/with friends where I would have normally had a DC but asked for water instead! Drinking a DC was also an escape for me when the kids were driving me nuts or when I was hot and tired or as a “reward” for doing something. So, now I keep thinking of the benefits to my metabolism. And I find that I am not craving sweets so much. So I will continue…I will! There…I’ve said it outloud (well, put it in print) so I must stick to it.

  34. Mo says:

    I switched from Diet Coke to Caffeine Free Diet Coke. Now I am trying to replace it with Club soda. Still get the cold burn down the back of my throat. I think I will make this work.

  35. Jen says:

    It has been 40 days. It feels like 40 minutes. Even after 40 days of zero coke zero I could drink 64 ounces on the spot. I was only able to quit after a 7 day water fast. I went back to everything else but managed to stay away from diet coke because I wanted to get pregnant. That is probably not going to happen but I still want to stay free.

    I wish I had food aversion. I ate watermelon; threw up; an hour later I had more watermelon. If there was anything I could do to make coke zero taste bad or feel awful I would.

    I went gluten free. I never craved gluten. I craved the convenience.

    How could I still crave something after 40 days?

    Sorry for babbling. Thanks for letting me post.

    • Darya Rose says:

      Have you tried eating a nutrient-rich diet? Lots of vegetables, unprocessed meats, beans, grains, eggs, etc. The cravings I experienced my entire life went away when I started giving my body proper nutrition.

  36. Rose says:

    I like to drink Capt. Morgan and diet coke. I know the diet soda is bad. What could be substituted for the diet coke in a mixed drink??

  37. Maria says:

    I’ve been addicted to Diet Coke for decades! The problem is that I’m a very controlled person… I’m always on a diet, I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink any alcoholic beverage… The Diet Coke is my one and only pleasure!!
    I tried to quit once, but I realized that I didn’t have a real motive for that! My weight is ok, my health is ok and the soda helps me with my mood!
    So I know that I should quit, but I can’t convince myself to do it!!!

  38. Karebear says:

    Okay so I posted on here in March of 2013, and I wasn’t able to quit then. It took a *serious* anxiety attack for me to kick diet soda, and actually all caffeine from my diet. I have not had caffeine or soda of any kind in almost 3 months now. I drink water infused with fruit, and herbal teas. It was hell, but I have lost weight, feel amazing, sleep so much better and look like a million bucks. Trust me- soda in general is a terrible thing to put into our bodies, and since I quit drinking it, no anxiety attacks, and no need for the medications that go with them. I will never drink diet pepsi again!!!

    • Darya Rose says:

      Amazing! Congratulations. That’s huge.

      I’d love to hear the specific strategies you used to get through the cravings if you wouldn’t mind sharing.

      Congrats again :)

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