How to Quit Drinking Soda in 10 Simple Steps

Plan for quitting cokeIt is possible to stop drinking soda with a minimum of fuss or withdrawal symptoms with this simple plan to replace it with a new and healthier alternative.

Before you start you’ll need the soda alternatives and caffeine and sugar withdrawal products listed below (and enough of them to keep you going for two weeks).

Once you have those here’s the best way I’ve found to replace soda addiction with a similar tasting carbonated drink that is actually good for you.

10 Steps to Quit Drinking Soda

1. Removal

The first step to soda withdrawal is to take whatever you have left in your house and pour it down the sink. This is an important symbol.

First thing in the morning upon waking would be a good time to do this if you think you could be tempted to drink it (no one’s so far gone that they have cola for breakfast are they?).

2. Caffeine Withdrawal Remedies

If caffeinated soda like cola is currently the main source of caffeine in your diet (you don’t drink coffee or caffeinated tea), then the caffeine withdrawal remedies in the series on How to Give Up Coffee will be important here.

While cola generally doesn’t have as much caffeine as coffee, most people drink far more of it and the net effect would be similar.

I found a high potency ginseng extract and transdermal magnesium oil very effective at combating caffeine withdrawal symptoms when I recently gave up coffee.

If you’re still drinking coffee or another source of caffeine while you quit cola, the ginseng extract and magnesium oil aren’t as essential.

Perhaps once you conquer your soda addiction and feel the benefits, giving up coffee too can start to look more appealing. This page on what coffee does to your digestion would be a great place to start for some motivation.

If cola was your main source of caffeine and you have the caffeine withdrawal remedies, take the ginseng extract before breakfast and rub some magnesium oil into your skin after showering. These two will provide a more stable and relaxed energy than caffeine’s jittery jolt.

Beating coke addiction

3. Large Breakfast

Have a substantial breakfast. Eggs are a good food to have for breakfast when you’re first giving up soda as they fill you up, stabilize your energy and lessen mid-morning hunger pains.

Also take a chromium picolinate supplement for stable energy and a teaspoon of calming omega-3 rich fish oil.

This is particularly important if you prefer cereal for breakfast as the combination lessens any negative sugar rush effects.

4. Pattern Interruption 

Think about when you used to habitually drink soda during the day. If it was mid-morning or with lunch be ready with your soda alternative.

At the very first hint of a desire to have a soda, immediately make up your soda replacement. We are not trying to use willpower to resist the soda addiction. Rather, we are training in a new healthier habit to replace the old one.

It is important at the start to make this a ritual and be extra aware of the process. If you’re using the superfruit concentrates for instance, you might start with a couple of blocks of ice in the bottom of the glass. Pour a good shot of the concentrate over the ice and notice the rich, deep color.

Add the sparkling mineral water and watch it all fizz up. As you raise it to your lips, really take the time to appreciate the sensation of drinking it.

The more making up your cola alternative can become a new ritual you enjoy, the easier it will be to quit soda for good. Try not to compare the taste with cola or any other soda, but more to appreciate this new, special and healthy drink.

5. Ginseng for Energy

If you’re removing the main source of caffeine from your diet by quitting soda, have another dose of ginseng extract before lunch on an empty stomach.

Ginseng too late in the day can be a little too energizing for some people. However taken before breakfast and lunch, it can help replace caffeine’s rush around energy with a more stable and balanced one.

At the same time it supports your adrenal glands as they start recovering from the damage chronic caffeine consumption has done to them.

Stop needing diet cola

6. Nutritious Lunch

Like breakfast, lunch would ideally be based around a healthy protein source. Organic chicken in a large, leafy green salad or sardines in a spicy tomato sauce with steamed veggies would be a good example.

Once again, take your chromium, cinnamon and fish oil. If your multivitamin dosage instructions allow up to three capsules/tablets a day and you want as much support as possible, you could take another one of these with lunch. If it is twice a day, then breakfast and dinner would be better.

7. Soda Replacement Ritual

Continue to match your soda replacement with whenever you feel like a soda. Take your time and enjoy making it and the sensation of drinking it.

Just quitting any habit with willpower alone is much less likely to be effective in the long term than replacing the old habit with a new ritual. Make a pact with yourself that if you feel like a soda you can have one, just that it will be this new healthier alternative.

If you want to cut down the amount you drink, even using something healthy like the superfruit concentrates, save that for after the first two weeks when the new habit has been in place for long enough.

8. Energy Stable Snacks

Have a healthy mid-afternoon snack. I like a mix of nuts and fruits for a balanced energy. Eating smaller meals every 3 to 4 hours keeps a more stable circulatory glucose and helps prevent sugar cravings.

Eat as healthily as you can for these next two weeks while you quit soda. Obviously it’s very important to avoid fast food outlets where they assume you’ll be having a large cola with your greasy burger and fries. If you’re serious about stopping drinking soda you’ll avoid these places completely.

9. Low Carb Dinner 

As with other main meals of the day, try and base dinner around a healthy protein source like fresh fish and steamed vegetables or organic chicken in a stir-fry, rather than overloading on carbohydrates with pasta, potatoes or rice.

Have your multivitamin and other withdrawal support remedies with dinner. For me, after dinner is the time I really seem to need to watch out for carbohydrate cravings. I find taking a chromium picolinate supplement with dinner makes a huge difference in stopping these.Plan for coke withdrawal

10. A New Ritual to Replace Soda 

Over the next two weeks continue to allow yourself to have your soda replacement whenever you feel like it. It is really important for your mind to start linking up the sensation of wanting a soda with the new healthy drink, rather than the old unhealthy one.

Check your soda alternative and caffeine withdrawal/sugar cravings support products supplies and make sure you have enough to not run out.

If you’re using the superfruit concentrates there many different varieties to choose from and it could be worth experimenting with some new ones after the first two weeks to find one you really like.

By the second week, your caffeine withdrawal symptoms should be lessening and you could start reducing the ginseng dosage down to one a day.

Likewise with the sugar cravings remedies. If you are taking them twice or three times a day, you could try reducing down to once or twice.

They are always best taken with the meal where know you are most likely to be hungry again a few hours afterwards. I’d probably recommend staying with chromium for a while, perhaps just once a day, since it’s so effective at diminishing cravings.

2 Weeks to Stop Drinking Soda for Good

There’s the 10 steps to soda withdrawal and replacing it with a healthy alternative. If you can follow it for 2 short weeks, I really believe this plan will give you a great chance of stopping cola addiction and improve your overall energy levels.

If you have any experiences, questions or suggestions, feel free to add a comment below.

Also please share this plan for quitting soda with your friends. Making this change is one of the most important things a soda drinker could do for their wellness and wellbeing.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 27 comments
Ed W

Hi James,

This is a great guide on a topic close to my heart. I’ve gone soda free for nearly 4 years now after the reality of how much sugar and empty calories I was drinking finally sunk in.

I totally agree that you need to think about the times of day when you’re drinking soda and find replacements. I haven’t used red ginseng tinctures myself, that’s something I may try out especially for coffee.

Thanks again for breaking it down into useful steps.


I’ve read quite a few of your articles this morning and they are so informative! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and also providing links to your preference of products to those of us who are still learning. It’s hard to know out there which label is best for which product so your research and application and knowledge is so helpful. I am going to try some fennel seeds for my GERD and IBS as I’ve not found any other natural remedy to work for me yet and have recently been put back on a prescription med (yikes!). Hope this enables me to come off of that and soon! Also, a friend and I seriously need to get our sugars down and I need to kick the coffee habit so I was looking for cola and coffee alternatives and found your articles on those so I’m going to try those as well. While I wanted to give you this feedback of gratitude, I also had 2 specific questions for you: (1) what is the sugar content in the super fruit concentrates? Is that just from the fruit itself and therefore okay for what we are trying to do? (2) one of your articles mentioned a product that had alcohol in it (around 13%) which concerns me but I can’t find that now. Do you know what I’m referring to?

Thanks again so much for the great info!

    James Dillan

    Hi Penny and thanks for your positive comments.

    To your questions – yes the superfruit concentrates I recommend here have only the low levels of natural sugars in the fruit but can be sweetened with a drop or two of stevia if needed. This does not cause flatulence or blood sugar issue.
    – I believe the alcohol content was in the ginseng tinctures, though this article has an alcohol free version

    Hope this helps,



I was just wondering on the recommended ratio for mixing the sparkling water and the concentrates? My apologies if I have overlooked this information. I am a coke with breakfast type of person so I am looking forward to trying this alternative.

    James Dillan

    Hi Jeff,

    Good to hear you’re making this important change. It could be the most important thing you ever do for your health as coke is so destructive to so many parts of your body.

    The strength depends a lot on the particular concentrate you’re using and your own personal taste. Generally 1 part concentrate to 6 parts sparkling water is around the amount I use but you might prefer more or less. Have what tastes best to you. The important part is savoring it and making it a new ritual to replace the old one.

    All the best,



I am diabetic. Is my sweet tea a good alternative since I control the amount of sugar that goes into it? I need to quit using all of the sugar alternatives since they’re not good for us, yet at the same time, I know sugar can be just as damaging. I’m between the proverbial rock and hard place.

    James Dillan

    Hi Pamela,

    Stevia is recommended for diabetics and does not have the health issues of artificial sweeteners or sugar.

    Hope this helps,



I used to drink Diet Coke every day, for more than 15 years, I guess 2 or 3 liters per day, starting at breakfast and the last one before going to sleep. The taste of water felt unpleasant, so Diet Coke was a water replacement to me.
From one day to the other, motivated by a conversation with a friend, I decided to quit drinking any kind of soda. ( I don’t drink tea or coffee).
I felt many of the withdrawal symptoms that you mention, but I did it just using will power, drinking water every time I wanted a Diet Coke, and natural juice for breakfast. It was hard but doable.
My goal was to not drink sodas for 6 weeks, the first 2 or 3 weeks were the worst. The good thing of the short term goal is you don’t feel is forever, and don’t get stressed like Anne mentioned.
During the 6 weeks period, I decided instead of quitting soda forever, after the 6 week I will become a “social soda drinker”, that mean is ok to drink soda if you are in a party or with friends at night. (Not at lunch, and not everyday).
After the 6 week period, I took a sip at Diet Coke and felt really bad, as bad as the first time I tried in my life, it seems the taste of the aspartame is the bad one. So you don’t feel is something you want to keep drinking as before.
Now it’s been 9 weeks, and I keep drinking mostly water. Sometimes juice, and rarely diet soda.


    Hi Rod,

    It’s impressive that you were able to come off diet soda so well. It’s definitely strongly addictive for many.

    I’d imagine your health will improve dramatically without the damage 2 – 3 liters a day of phosphoric acid, aspartame, caffeine and ammonia based coloring were doing.

    Personally, on the very rare times in my life I’ve had diet coke, usually by accident, the result was always a splitting headache so I know what you mean with the aspartame making you feel bad.

    All the best,



Unfortunately, a glass of ice cold coke first thing in the morning is the best thing ever. That being said, I’m now on day 5 of cutting diet coke (and sweeteners in general) from my diet and even though it’s difficult, I’m proud of myself. The thing that I find hardest is the feeling of ‘I’ll never in my life be allowed to have it anymore’ which is what made quitting smoking really hard, too. The feeling that I can NEVER do it again.


For the last few years, every morning when I wake up the first thing I do is crack open a can of coke, sometimes before I even brush my teeth. Everything about drinking that stuff makes me happy, from the taste to the sound the can makes when you open it to the feel of it when I pull it out of the fridge. Then I have another with lunch, another when I’m tired and so on. There have been days when I knew it was too much and I should stop but I never did… Until 2 days ago.
Right now it’s 3:53 AM and I can’t sleep, because it’s been a little over 48 hrs since I’ve last had a coke. All I want in the world it to guzzle like 4 of them back to back right now, I think I would pass out immediately afterwards. I know that is terrible and I shouldn’t give in but I’m feeling very miserable and weak and just want to sleep and be happy. I’m gonna try the things you advised but am already wavering in my resolve, didn’t think it would be this hard. Perhaps cold turkey was a mistake, I might try limiting my input to a small glass once a day to stay sane and then wean down from there.
It really is like trying to quit a drug, I have a very strong will and this is one of the hardest things I have ever attempted to do.


    Hi Steve and thanks for your comments.

    I agree it really is like a drug and withdrawal cold turkey can be difficult. This replacement method would really help and is cola was your main source of caffeine I’d also have a read of this article which, while originally written about coffee, has things that can help minimize withdrawal symptoms.

    It also sounds like that much coke has affected your adrenal glands and you may need to look further into this, thought breaking the addiction would be the first step.

    All the best with beating it,



I quit cola approx. 3 weeks ago as it was wreaking havoc with my digestion system; along with this decided to begin a whole new diet (forced to in order to try to heal my digestive system-suffered with irritable bowel syndrome and a whole host of other digestive issues like acid reflux, etc)..and have given up processed foods.. My new diet consists of lots of dark green salads with all kinds of fresh veges, organic chicken, salmon, lots of good proteins, like eggs, and enjoy fruit smoothies and juicing, but have eliminated all processed foods to the very best of my ability. Have also been reading up on “food combining” which has seemed to help tremendously with all digestive issues. I do not combine starchy foods with protein- and it was difficult at first- but now it seems almost natural. I have lost weight (though not planned!) and have experienced so much natural energy.. but not initially due to withdrawal effects from caffeine, sugar and other chemicals from processed foods. The withdrawals were extreme fatigue- on and off, foggy thinking, irritability, mild depression- it was very unpleasant and I wished that I had the time to take a few weeks off from work to rest and cope. The withdrawals seemed to come and go- like in waves- but I would be sure to combat them with high protein meals,lots of fresh water (apprx 2 liters or more daily), good vitamins, lots of rest and my new most favorite of all drink of choice.. Ginger, Lemon and honey (just a small amount!) hot tea- one small cup in the morning and one at night. It seems to relax me and even help me sleep. I was a big cola drinker (yes, even in the morning!), for most of my life and could never imagine a single day without a soda. Now I cannot even imagine drinking one again- I have no desire anymore.. My digestion system is worth it. Now my goal is learning to build a healthy digestion system- and am learning about prebiotics and probiotics and proper ways to eat (like even taking time to thoroughly chew food-instead of rushing through meals). There are so many healthier alternatives to enjoy. Good luck and blessings to all.. And don’t forget prayer— I know God hears and answers! And never, never, never- give up!


    Hi Lisa and thanks for your positive comments.

    It’s great to here that quitting cola has been so beneficial for you and it really sounds like you’re on the right track with all the healthy foods you’ve been having. Ginger tea is a great replacement too, very energizing and healthy.

    All the best,



Sad that so many people drink this poison. Would be an awesome day when the government bans the production of these types of beverages. They do no good for anyone :/


    I agree but I won’t hold my breathe on it :)


    Isn’t it amazing that the FDA approves this and other beverages for consumption. What big companies are lining their pockets?

    I will try this process. I replaced my coke habit with Dr. Pepper thinking that i could give up DP more easily. I have no desires for coke but my addiction to DP is growing stronger.


Coca cola is my drug of choice. Excited to kick that habit!


“no one’s so far gone that they actually have cola for breakfast are they?”

I assure you that plenty of people (including myself) drink cola at breakfast! Plenty of people (including myself) drink it at every meal. I’m trying to give it up now.


    Hi Chris,

    Several other people have written in saying they drink coke for breakfast. Hopefully this article will help as the replacement is similar tasting without the stress cola creates within you body.

    All the best,



Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I drink many diet sodas a day & have for 25 years, the amount increasing over time. I’ve intuitively known for quite some time that I needed to quit, but am truly addicted & had no idea what I could replace it with in order to succeed & fill that hole. I went for a sleep study a couple of years ago & had to obstain from caffeine for like 24 hours & could not believe how uncomfortable it was! I even took a six pack of caffeine free diet soda with me to make it through the evening-that’s pretty sad. This gives me hope! I now need to gather up the supplies & courage & go for it. I’ll let you know how it goes. Sincerely, Amy


    Hi Amy and thanks for your comments.

    I hope you’ll give the plan a try as for a regular soda drinker I really believe switching to this healthy alternative would be one of the best things they could do for their overall wellbeing.

    It would be very important to read these two articles as well to minimize caffeine withdrwal and sugar/aspartame cravings for the best chance of success.

    The good news is after a week or two you can make the switch and be free of the jittery tension, cravings and brief energy spikes followed by energy crashes of a soda addiction. It works best if you create a new ritual around drinking the healthier superfruit concentrates in sparkling water. Replacement is always much easier.

    Hope this helps.


I tried these steps, and it worked. After 20 years, I am Diet Coke free. And I have not had a Diet Coke or Cola in 4 months. I have not even been tempted. You could pour out a Diet Coke in front of me, and I would be able to turn it away. The ginseng helped wean me off of the caffeine and the La Croix/Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate got me off of the cola. It took less than 2 weeks. 3 weeks to be completely off the ginseng. Plus I am not addicted to the La Croix. This really worked for me!


    Hi Melissa and thank you so much for the positive comments.

    I’m really glad it worked so well for you and hope your experiences will inspire other people to give this plan a try. I really believe replacing soda is one of the best things a regular drinker could do for their long term health.

    All the best.


Yes, I have Coke for breakfast.


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