Is drinking soda a habit or an addiction?

If you reach for a soda at meals or during the day without thinking, chances are drinking soda is just a habit. But if you get irritated or jittery when you can’t have a soda, you might be addicted to it.

Either way, you’re not alone. Soda is generally full of sugar—17 teaspoons or packets of sugar are in just one bottle! Sugar releases a feel-good hormone in your body that makes you want more.

If you want to drink less soda, or quit drinking it altogether, we can help. It may not be easy, but know that you have lots of options and you can take it slow.

For example:

  • If you like the bubbles or carbonation, choose flavored seltzer water. You’ll get the same bubbly feel with less sugar, no caffeine, and a fresher taste. There are a lot of different flavors to choose from and they are often less expensive than soda.
  • If you drink four sodas a day, try to replace one with a seltzer or flavored water. The next week, swap two out. And keep going until you’re down to just one (or zero!) a day.
  • Try this challenge: For every soda you drink, drink a glass of water. You’ll be more hydrated, which could mean less cravings for soda.

If you need help with your soda habit or addiction, reach out to your doctor. Food addiction is real and a true condition. If you’re feeling out of control, consider making an appointment with one of our social workers, health coaches, or a nutritionist.

Commonly asked questions about soda

What makes soda addictive?

Many sodas are full of sugar. Eating sugar releases a hormone in your brain that makes you feel good. But it’s also what causes a mood and blood sugar crash afterward, which makes you think you need more sugar to feel better.

What’s the problem with drinking soda?

Most people think that drinking soda can take the place of drinking water. But drinking soda doesn’t hydrate you. In fact, it makes you thirsty, and that can cause you to crave more soda. Soda is also full of empty calories, meaning it leaves you hungry and wanting more sugar. This can lead to weight gain and increase your risk for other health conditions.

When you stop drinking soda can you go through withdrawal?

Yes. Like with other addictive substances, you can go through withdrawal when you stop drinking soda. If you are used to drinking soda with caffeine, you will probably get headaches and feel grumpy if you stop suddenly. Try cutting back slowly to help limit the amount of withdrawal symptoms.