28-Day National Soda Challenge

Soda is an addictive stimulant. Break the cycle with this 4-week plan.

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The average American drinks 53 gallons of soda a year; if it's regular soda, that comes to about 49 pounds of sugar. Soda is loaded with caffeine, high-fructose corn syrup and calories. In addition to contributing to weight gain, soda increases your risk of diabetes, bone weakening and tooth decay. Break your addiction to soda with this 4-week plan.

Week #1: Quitting any addiction cold turkey is hard to do and it increases your chance of relapse. This week, switch from all regular soda to diet soda. Add foods high in L-glutamine, like eggs, beans and fish, to your diet. L-glutamine is an amino acid that helps to reduce sugar cravings.

Go Sugar-Free
During the first week of the challenge, you will break the addiction to sugar. Switch from regular soda to sugar-free, diet soda only. If you only drink diet soda already, you're one step ahead of the game. Try to consume 1 fewer can per day.

Week #2: As you tackle the second addictive ingredient in soda, remember that headaches are a common symptom of caffeine withdrawal. Take ibuprofen for headache relief, as well as adding foods rich in vitamin B to your diet, like chickpeas, spinach and whole-grain cereal.

Go Caffeine-Free
Switch all sugar-free, diet soda to soda that is sugar-free and caffeine-free.

Week #3: As you cut your soda consumption in half, find other fizzy drinks to replace the sodas you've cut. Try carbonated water with a splash of juice or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Try adding coconut water to your carbonated water, which is low in sugar and high in potassium.

Cut Your Consumption by 50%
No cheating. Whatever amount of soda you are currently drinking, cut it in half. If you drink six sodas a day, decide which three are the most important to you and eliminate the other three.

Week #4: The 4th week of Dr. Oz's 28-Day National Soda Challenge brings total cessation. You are no longer drinking any soda; no sugar-free, diet or caffeine-free soda. At the end of the week, use the money you would have spent on soda to treat yourself to something that is good for you.

Go Soda-Free
If you experience a craving, try chewing sugar-free gum. Additionally, if you find yourself fixating on soda, find a method of distraction, like taking a walk, doing 10 push-ups or cleaning.