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Are You Addicted to Liquid Candy?


How many people do you know who are addicted to soda pop? Whether it’s regular or diet soda, the number just in my own circle of friends and family is astounding, so I can’t imagine what the official stats are (and couldn’t find a reliable source to quote). Seems to me that Mountain Dew and Diet Coke are the ones I hear about most often, but consumption of “energy drinks” are on the rise, too.

Is it a “real” addiction?

When researching for this post, I found one news video where they said soda pop addictions aren’t “real addictions.” Tell that to my brother in law who can’t quit Mountain Dew even after a couple very serious heart scares. He was able to quit smoking but just can’t get off Mountain Dew long term. (Read about his heart scare and the shocking follow-up appointment with his heart doc.) Yes, liquid candy can be a very real addiction.

Need some hope?

I know there are people out there who have broken these addictions, though, and I want to hear from you! Please tell us how you did it in the comments.

Be sure to check out these links for more, including WHY we shouldn’t drink pop:


  1. OMGoodness..yes! I’d love to give it up. In Mexico, I drink about a cup a day. At home in CA, about one a week. But still, everyone KNOWS it’s crap.
    I am going back and reading this and taking your suggestions to heart and practice!!! I’ve taken to drinking purified water w/ ginger sweetened with a bit of Stevia. It tastes about 100% better w/ a little honey, but *sigh* I’ll stick to Stevia.
    Anybody that has any doubts about this “sugar thing,” oughta read Gary Taubes new book. Alas, he made the title about “fat” so it’s going to be lost on many people, but it’s revolutionary!!! Off the wall brilliant and totally “kitchenkop” line of thinking.
    Thanks, Kelly!!!! Great article. I’m inspired.
    Karen in Merida, Yucatan

  2. We are basically totally off it. It is a rare treat, usually gingerale made with natural ingredients. Growing up, diet colas were all we drank. We weren’t allowed to drink milk and juice was too expensive and our well water wasn’t good drinking water so we went through tons of diet cola every week. I shudder to think!

    Here in Canada, Mountain Dew isn’t caffeinated. I found it rather shocking that it was in the US. No wonder there is so much addiction to it (it’s funny when Americans come here and discover the difference, lol!). I can’t handle caffeine in non-chocolate sources anymore (which is easily regulated ;)). The last time I drank an energy drink, I thought I would have to go to the hospital! My whole body was buzzing and my heart was a pounding. It was an all natural one too; they aren’t any better for you IMO!

  3. I’ll brag a minute Kelly and say we stopped this habit years ago. It was an awful habit too as I would often make trips to the grocery store just because we were out of pop. I always drank Diet Mountain Dew. Yuck! I drank about 6-7 cans a day, back in college. But then my husband did just a little research on aspartame and we quit immediately, cold turkey. I mean, after finding that out, there is no way I could continue poisoning my body. I’m not so good at other areas in my life, but this one was easy.

    We moved onto bottled water and about 3 years ago, moved onto filtered water with reverse-osmosis here at home. This was probably the healthiest move we’ve ever made.

    Although, when I get pregnant again, I’d love to try homemade ginger ale for morning sickness and sneak in a few probiotics too.

  4. I didn’t think I was addicted until I gave it up a few years ago. At the time, I had free access at work. I would just stand in front on the ‘fridge eying the diet coke. I gave it up for Lent…sounds silly, but everyone time it would tempt me (calling, sometimes yelling, my name), I would think about what was given up for me and be able to move past the diet coke. At the time, I hadn’t intended to give it up forever, but after those 6 weeks, I was off of it for good. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (and I drank caffeine-free, so it wasn’t really the caffeine). Now, I find it disgusting and wouldn’t willingly drink the stuff. One of the best health moves I have ever made.

  5. I cold turkey-ed the coke last May. I was only drinking a few a week as a pick me up after work. ( I was teaching 3 year olds at the time) In one month I lost 8 lbs.
    It felt so good.
    So I started reading.
    I cut out HFCS and most processed foods. It was so easy because it was Summer and the Farmers Market was full of Wonderful fruits and Veggies.
    Everyonce in a while I’d try a sip of a soft drink that one of my daughters would have, a special root beer from the Whole foods store or something, and they just don’t taste good anymore.
    So easy to stay away from something that doesn’t taste good.

    I’m not always perfect in my food choices, but Cutting out Coke products was my first step to losing 30 lbs.

  6. Carbonated sugar water is not bad for you. HFCS is bad for you because it is made from GMO and is out of balance. Caffeine is not bad for you. Caffeine without sugar or cream is harsh on your liver. Babies can make their own caffeine.

    All foods have a context, used properly they can beneficial…taken out of balance or isolated, they can be harmful. IMO

  7. I used to drink a lot of cola, every day I would get a large cup from the store next to where I worked and get it refilled midway through my shift. At some point I decided this was a Bad Thing and stopped cold turkey. After dragging a bit for two days despite generous quantities of the blessing commonly known as coffee I poured myself a small glass of cola when in a hurry and not thinking. Sucking down that soda reminded me of a few years earlier when I had quit smoking and after 3 successful days bummed a Marlboro and got an incredible rush from it. Except more. That’s right folks, Coca-Cola was a stronger addiction (to me anyway, can’t speak for anyone else) than the target of thousands of really ugly public service messages.
    I did give up soda of all types eventually, started drinking iced tea lightly sweetened with honey. Was not able to do that though, until I had already changed the way I was eating. Once I started eating better the soda cravings faded.

  8. I was addicted to Coke and Diet Coke for most of my adult life. I would have at least a litre a day, sometimes more. Every time I tried to quit, I would get headaches, crabbiness, and the most humungous sugar cravings ever.
    Last year, I started delving into eating ‘real’ and ‘traditional’ foods. I went off processed foods, and started eating more ‘good’ fats. The coke cravings just…. went away on their own. No side effects. I still love a bubbly drink, so I make my own ginger beer each week now. I love experimenting with flavours- blueberry, mango, and peach are my top three favs. I haven’t had a coke craving in over 10 months now, and is it ever freeing!

  9. Oh, I was definitely addicted at some level. I have no doubt. I was a Diet Coke guzzler until about three years ago. I traveled with Diet Coke in my suitcase, so I’d never come up short on my morning Diet Coke at my mother-in-law’s house and get a headache. I stopped pop cold turkey and now haven’t had a pop in four years. However, I did not stop caffeine cold turkey. When I cut out the Diet Coke, I started drinking Water Joe (caffeinated water). I weaned myself off the caffeine by weaning myself off the Water Joe. It took a few weeks of weaning, but after a few weeks, I was both pop and caffeine free! It worked! After over 20 years of daily pop-drinking, I am pop/caffeine-free!

  10. I wish I could say I was off entirely off pop. I still have one a week or so, which is way too much for me.

    I just sent an email to my mom’s roommate with some facts about fructose, insulin and the pancreas. I absolutely cannot believe the doctor didn’t discuss food choices with her when she had to have half her pancreas removed after a bout of severe pancreatitis! Can you imagine? She eats cookies for breakfast, PB&J for lunch and ice cream for dinner, and sips a six pack of Coke all day long. During her pancreatitis and surgery she was so sick that she was able to kick her 60-year cigarette habit. But she can’t kick Coke.

  11. I used to be very addicted to soda, I had to quit all caffeine because of a serious stomach problem and that helped to quit drinking all soda. Now it is so sweet and strong tasting when I drink a drink, its gross to me now. My brother is really addicted to redbull and other energy drinks; he won’t eat but will drink a few of those drinks a day. Ugh, I feel bad for his insides.

  12. I’m in Texas and here (for most that I know) Dr. Pepper is it. I used to drink about 4 cans a day. Maybe more. About 9 years ago, after my 4th kidney infection, my doctor explained what things would go up what orifices of my body to run tests if I got another one. He recommended cutting sodas and I listened. LOL When I was pregnant with my now 5ds, the cravings came back and I caved. It started with just one here and there and went to several a day. I quit when he was 2. Then I started back up again a little over a year ago. And had my last one on Aug 17th of last year. It’s also the day I had my last french fry and fast food. I gave birth to my dd on the 18th. I knew how bad it all was, just not really how bad. My son has never had soda. Juice is a rare treat for him and it’s watered down by half.

    But I started drinking sweet tea, about a pitcher a day. I decided I didn’t need the caffeine or so much sugar. So I cut it down to decaff and half the sugar. Now I don’t drink any tea at all. I don’t like coffee, so that’s not a problem.

    Quitting Dr. Pepper was way harder than quitting tea. The first week I had major migraines, shakes, and was very very quick to anger (my poor family). But it went away with time. The other day I had a sip of my husband’s DP and it was NASTY. So our tastes change. If I could only get my husband to cut back on them. I figured out how many ounces he had one day. It totaled to a gallon. A gallon! No wonder he was complaining of stomach aches.

    I think that this time with all the knowledge of exactly why the sodas are so bad, I’ll stay off them for good.

  13. I gave up all diet soda about a year ago. The one thing that I noticed is how much better food tastes with either water or the occasional glass of wine.

  14. I pretty much quit sodas when I got pregnant with my ds3. I still have one every once in awhile, but it tastes nasty when I do. I tend to drink lemonade instead when we are out somewhere and the drink is included, not that lemonade out of a fountain is any better than soda, but it doesn’t have the caffeine. I wish I could get my husband to quit, but I don’t want him to feel like I am forcing him.

  15. I’m weaning off of cf diet soda, down to one a day from 5 a day.
    It really is an addiction, I realized that the acid was helping me digest my meal, and was palate cleansing. So now I’m chewing Xylitol gum, or brushing after I eat and taking dandelion tincture to help with my digestion.I plan to quite totally in the next two weeks.

  16. After giving up soda I find that any time I do have it (or anything too sugary) I get a huge headache and just feel soooo tired. So my current response to it now that my body has been re-sensitized, so to speak, is definitely the incentive I need to keep off of it. My husband has said the same for his response now that he’s finally given it up.

  17. I have heard soda pop described as “liquid cigarettes” for what it does to your health–and can personally attest to its addictive qualities (and sugar in general). I was in WalMart with DD the other day, and she said, “Whoa, throwback Mountain Dew! Now that’s a TON of sugar!” (“Throwback” means they are making it with “real” sugar instead of HFCS.)She then told me that she’d had some throwback Pepsi, and asked if I had ever had it. I had to explain to her that they weren’t ADDING sugar to the existing formula, but rather “throwing back” to the original formula, which was made WITH sugar, INSTEAD of HFCS, and that yes, that was the Pepsi I had when I was her age. Every bit as destructive, IMO; a sugar addiction is just that: an addiction.
    I am currently doing the sugar challenge on another blogger’s website; for me, this means cutting out pop, which I know from experience, it won’t be easy–sometimes, it’s the ONLY thing that will kick a migraine for me (literally, I’ve been down for 4 days, and half a Pepsi later, it’s gone). The big telling factor for me is that, as I have been weaning myself off over the last week, my BBT has already gone up by about 6 tenths of a degree–indicative of the immediately damaging effect that sugar in general has on my adrenals and thyroid. This next week will probably be uncomfortable as I detox a bit, but I am armed with lots of kombucha and coconut oil, and will be doing some body brushing to help stave off the worst of it.
    Thanks so much for this post, Kelly; it’s obviously a very hot spot for many, and just the encouragement and reminder that I need as I kick off my mostly sugar-free and all HFCS-free life! No more Pepsi–ugh!

  18. I have been addicted to Diet Coke for years. I’ve quit for 1-6 weeks here and there. I drove, almost daily, through the McDonald’s drive-thru to get a large diet coke. Their diet coke tastes more bubbly and sweet than diet coke anywhere else (I wonder why?)
    Earlier this year, early September, I made a vow to not have any aspartame until after the New Year. By mid-November I found out I was pregnant (any connection??) and I’d always promised God if I got pregnant again I wouldn’t touch the stuff while pregnant or nursing. It feels so good to be free of the addiction – I don’t notice lots of health differences, but I feel psychologically free.
    I do buy Blue Sky organic sodas now. But it takes me 4-6 weeks to get through a case of them (and I usually only have a half of a can as they are so sweet). They are made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup – I wonder if that makes them less addictive than regular soda? I also don’t get into the habit of drinking lots of them because I’m watching my weight. With the diet soda, it felt like a “free dessert” – no calories. But surely I was paying in other ways.
    It’s good to be free. I hope to stay that way after the baby’s done nursing! At least I know I have about a year and half to continue practicing avoiding it!

  19. Stopped drinking sodas all together when I got pregnant. It was one of the best things I have done. One day (recently) I was out of water and was given a soda by a coworker for my lunch. It was such a bad decision. I spent the remainder of the day so thirsty! Sodas are self perpetuating. They make you thirsty and so you drink more of them.

  20. I was addicted to coca cola most of my life. I picked up the habit from my father who drank a two liter everyday and little else. I switched to diet about 10 years ago, that stuff is poison and I knew it but I just needed to save calories, sigh.

    Last year I decided enough was enough. I weaned myself off. When I had gone cold turkey in the past I got migraines. I replaced the diet soda with fresh homemade iced tea with just a tiny bit of real sugar (1 TBS to a quart) and lemon. I feel so much better when I am not drinking the soda. I do admit that I still crave soda and drink it when I am out and about and I probably have a bottle a week. I am not perfect but I have made a positive step in the right direction.

    My next step will be to get a new reusable bottle and start carrying my tea with me. Most of the time I think I just like a drink on ice. I can get a cup of ice and have my tea!

  21. I drank so much pop as a kid it hurts to think about it. My parents both drank several diet cokes a day so I guess they figured they’d be hypocritical to limit our pop intake. When I was an exchange student I had to quit because my host family didn’t buy pop and I didn’t have the money to buy my own. When I came home after a year of virtually no pop I got one out of the new pop machines at my high school. It was HUGE! It was when they started selling it in bottles instead of cans. I downed the whole thing during an intermission of a play because I felt bad not finishing. I felt so sick afterwards that I haven’t had pop again. No cravings, nothing. The few sips I’ve had have been so gross I’ve never gone back.

    Now if only I could get my mother to give up her diet coke. She’s had so many health problems and while she’s cut down, she won’t quit.

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