6 Effective Ways to Lose Weight—While Still Drinking Soda!
Let's be honest: There's nothing better than cracking open a refreshing can of soda on a hot summer's day or enjoying a big cup of it with buttery popcorn at the movie theatre. But when you're trying to lose weight, some of your favorite indulgences need a bit of adjusting. The good news is, you don't have to totally ditch your love affair with soda. It all comes down to following smart habits that still allow you to sip your favorite soda beverage without putting your health and weight at risk. We spoke with experts who share the best ways to lose weight without giving up soda, so listen up.
Implementing better habits and hacks into your routine can go a long way. For instance, opting for a healthier soda or sparkling beverage instead of your typical go-to can help you shed pesky pounds while still savoring a cold, fizzy drink. Keep reading to learn all about the best ways to lose weight without giving up soda. And when you're finished, don't miss these 10 Ways to Lose Weight Without Giving Up Cheese.
Enjoy sparkling water with soda ice cubes.
One awesome hack to indulge in your soda cravings in a healthier nature is by pouring yourself a glass of sparkling water and adding ice cubes made out of soda to it. "This would give you the same carbonated effect as a typical soda would, but you would be drinking much less of it which in essence means consuming a lot less sugar," explains Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDN, the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, a nutritionist in private practice, and a member of our Medical Expert Board. "Consuming large amounts of soda can lead to weight gain and other health-related issues, so it is important to find ways to make it work in a healthy lifestyle."
Find healthier alternatives that still give you that "soda" feel.
In today's day and age, there are a plethora of lower-calorie, low-sugar soda options at your fingertips. For instance, Young and Jamie Lee McIntyre MS RDN, nutrition consultant at JamieLeeRDN.com, are both major fans of poppi.
"These sodas are made with prebiotics and probiotics, are gluten-free, non-GMO, made with 100% real, clean ingredients, and contain five grams or less of sugar," Young explains. "For comparison, a regular soda can run you 150 calories and upwards of 40 grams of sugar," McIntyre adds. "[Enjoy poppi] in all the traditional flavors of soda you love, like Classic Cola, Root Beer, Doc Pop, Grape, and Orange, plus many others like Cherry Limeade and Strawberry Lemon."
Another brand Young favors is Spindrift. These tasty sparkling waters come in a plethora of refreshing flavors like mango black tea, peach strawberry, blood orange tangerine, grapefruit, raspberry lime, pineapple, and more. They feature actual squeezed fruit, zero sugar, and zero calories. Plus, Spindrift is gluten-free and non-GMO certified.
Infuse your water.
Keeping yourself hydrated is key to managing your weight. Even the littlest bit of dehydration can make you thirsty, which can easily be mistaken for hunger, resulting in eating rather than rehydrating. "Get used to drinking good old regular water," McIntyre suggests. "If the plainness bores you, try some fruit infusions. For just trace calories, you can add a couple chunks of frozen mango, berries, or peaches into bottles or pitchers with a special fruit infuser contraption that traps the fibers and seeds but allows for the flavor of the fruit to enhance the water. You can also try simple additions, like a couple of lemon or lime slices, or sliced cucumber with fresh mint leaves for an added boost in flavor."
Opt for diet soda over regular.
If you really don't want to give up your go-to soda brands, consider opting for diet soda. McIntyre points out that diet soda isn't for everyone, since it contains artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or stevia. In addition, the difference in taste may be apparent to you, and you might not be as satisfied with drinking diet over regular. But by switching out regular soda for diet, McIntyre explains, "You are reducing your calorie intake by -150 calories. As with regular sugar, I recommend limiting the non-calorie sweeteners to moderate amounts as well. Even without the calories, the sweetness, in excess, can lead your taste buds to expect a frequent and heavy dose of sugar-containing foods for satisfaction. Balance is always key!"
Start cutting back.
For all the soda diehard fans out there: If you consume it regularly, a solid tip is to start cutting back on your intake. "If you're used to drinking a 12-ounce can (150 calories) of cola with lunch every day, try cutting it down to eight ounces for one week, then four ounces the following week, or perhaps limiting it to one can per week," McIntyre suggests. "At seven cans a week, that's 1,050 calories. Cutting it down by any amount will start to save on those empty liquid calories that don't contribute to fullness or satiety so your body won't miss them as much as you think—in fact, your body will start to thank you for it! Healthy habits start with small simple steps and add up over time."
Take a step back, and consider your diet as a whole.
As with any successful weight loss journey, it's important to take a step back and see where you're getting your excess calories from. Start tracking your typical food and beverage intake for a few days. If you indulge in one can of soda every week, your excess calories are probably coming from elsewhere, such as your daily breakfast pastry, the portion sizes of your dinner, or ordering calorie-packed takeout for lunch.
"In these cases, the soda takes on the least blame for contributing excess calories when viewing your diet as a whole," McIntyre explains. "Shifting your focus to the other high-calorie eating patterns and considering ways to improve them will lead to greater weight management success when compared to cutting out that one can of soda per week."