hand holding soda can pouring a crazy amount of sugar in metaphor of sugar content of a refresh drink

Drinking your calories could be what is causing your bloat and weight gain.

Drinking your calories could be what is causing your bloat and weight gain. Do you love soda, tea and weekend cocktails? I did too. You may not be tracking your food, but your body is.

Are you ready to stop drinking your calories and make some simple swaps that will help you start making progress toward your fitness goals? Let’s chat about easy and delicious liquid swaps that will be beneficial for your body and your goals.

The first and most common is soda. Hi, my name is Alex and I am a recovering soda-holic. I used to consume soda by the liter daily. It was a habit that was hard to break, but once I did, it was easy to maintain.

Soda may taste refreshing and delicious to you right now, however, if you work on changing your nutrition, the taste will not be the same. One of the reasons soda tastes so good is the high amount of sugar used to create it. Now occasionally having a soda is totally fine — it is when you consume large amounts that will start to spike your insulin levels and cause faster weight gain.

You can switch to diet soda but to be honest, after doing some research, diet sodas are not much better for you. The phosphates in diet soda have been known to deplete calcium stores. In other words, they cause your bones to become weaker, and like regular sodas, contain large amounts of sugar.

Any type of sugar overly consumed becomes an addictive additive that causes craving and weight gain, which will make you want more and more soda. So how did I conquer this bad habit? Going cold turkey didn't work for me. I needed to slowly break the habit.

I found a drink similar to soda in every way, except the ingredients used; Zevia. Zevia is a healthier soda-like drink that even comes disguised in similar cans. It is carbonated and the taste is very similar to all the favorites — cherry soda, Sprite, orange soda, etc. Zevia is made with stevia instead of fructose and other sugar names I can’t pronounce.

I switched out my regular sodas for Zevias. Then each week, I would simply focus on cutting one drink out of my weekly routine. For example, if I drank 12 Zevias in a week, the following week I would only allow myself 11. I did this each week until I was no longer drinking them.

As I started to fuel my body with more beneficial foods and liquids instead of filling my body with empty calories, my taste buds changed and the cravings went away. Months later, after I had conquered my soda habit, I took a sip of a regular soda. It was disgusting. I could taste the sugar.

Not only that, making this simple swap to my nutrition and eventually breaking the habit helped my body debloat and drop pounds.

Give it a try. Next month, let’s talk teas and cocktails.

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Alex Garzaro.

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