Firstly, congratulations on deciding to take your health seriously! Now onto the good news.
How quickly can you lose weight after quitting soda?
Well, the short answer to the question is ‘Immediately’! Cutting out sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet can give you the jump start you are looking for.
However, not quite the way you may think. The complete answer is slightly more nuanced. So, before jumping into the full-blown calculation, let’s get some facts right.
Quick note: My aim with this article is not to get you to completely quit drinking soft drinks. I don’t think you have to be that drastic. Honestly, moderation is the key to successful weight loss.
What is the sugar content in soda / soft drinks? (In a 330ml can)
Below is the list of popular soft drinks, their sugar content and calories. (for a standard 330ml serving):
|Drink||Sugar (gm)||Calories (kcal)|
Mountain Dew has the maximum sugar at 43g, but most drinks fall in the range of 30 to 38g. In this post, we will consider a 330ml (slightly less than 12 oz) can of Coke for all further discussions and calculations.
This can of coke has
- Total Calories = 139
- Grams of sugar = 35
- Teaspoons of Sugar = 9
Point to be noted: 35g is A LOT of sugar for a single serving! Specially because a can of coke has no other micro / macro nutrients. No wonder it’s considered to as “empty calories”!
So, how much sugar should I have in a day?
The daily recommended intake of sugar by the AHA for men is 9 teaspoons and for women is 6 teaspoons. So as per this, most of us have already completed our daily quota of sugar with just one can of Coke. And this is without eating or drinking anything else!
Also, the sugar used in making soft drinks is normally high-fructose corn syrup. Although very cost effective, it can cause numerous health hazards. We will discuss the other harmful effects later in the post.
For now, let’s find out how a can of soda per day can derail your weight loss goals and give you a ton of diseases.
So, what happens if I have 1 can of soft drink a day?
Let’s say you usually order a can of coke with your lunch. That’s 30 cans a month.
- Total Calories = (139×30) = 4,170
- Grams of sugar = (35×30) = 1,050
- Teaspoons of Sugar = (9×30) = 270
So, if you have just one can of coke a day, you are consuming more than 4000 calories and 1kg of sugar a month. Which is criminal if you are trying to lose weight. To be honest, 1 kg of sugar in a month is super unhealthy, whether you’re trying to lose weight or not!
Let’s say you continue this for a year.
- Total Calories = (139×365) = 50,735
- Grams of sugar = (35×365) = 12,775
- Teaspoons of Sugar = (9×365) = 3,285
And if you’re wondering how much weight that would be, read the next section…
So, how much weight gain can drinking 1 can of coke a day yield in a year?
I would say A LOT! But the math will put it in the range of 6.5 – 7kgs (14.5 – 15 lbs).
Hey, don’t just take my word for it. Let’s look at how we got to this number.
Assume that you are on a maintenance diet. This means you are neither in a calorie deficit nor surplus, resulting in keeping your weight constant.
Now, let’s add 1 can of coke a day to this diet. This results in you consuming an excess of 139 calories every day and 50,735 (139×365) calories over the whole year.
A rule of thumb is that there needs to be a surplus of 3500 calories to gain 1 pound / 0.45kg of fat. So, with everything else being constant, the surplus of 50,735 calories will result in you gaining 6.5 – 7kgs (14.5 – 15 lbs). (I have done the same calculation above, hence not repeating it here)
For more perspective, you would need to do any one of the following exercises to burn off the calories from 1 can of coke.
- 30 minutes of brisk walking
- 22 minutes of zumba
- 15 minutes of going up the stairs continuously
- 13 minutes of vigorous cycling
- 10 mins of skipping / jumping rope
Now that we know the damage it can cause, let’s see how kicking this habit can fast-track your fitness goals.
How much weight will you lose if you stopped drinking soda (soft drink) for a month?
Sorry for the tease in advance, but the weight loss will depend on a couple of factors like:
- The amount of soda you’re drinking every day
- Is your weight currently increasing or you’ve maintained the weight since some time?
Don’t worry, I will factor in both the situations mentioned above and explain the weight loss you can expect.
For the sake of the examples, let’s assume you’re drinking 3 cans of coke per day.
Scenario 1 – The weight stagnation phase / Maintained weight phase
You have been drinking on an average 3 cans of coke per day and your weight has been constant over the last few months. Calculating the weight loss is pretty easy with this one.
Keeping everything else constant, if you cut out the soft drink from your daily diet, you will be consuming (139×3) = 417 calories lesser every day.
Over a month this amounts to 12,510 calories deficit.
The generally accepted calories you need to lose per pound of (1 pound/~0.45gm) of weight is 3500Kcal.
So just cutting back on the soft drink (and keeping everything constant), you can lose between 1.6 – 1.8 kgs (3.5 to 3.7 lbs) in a month!
You can’t expect this rate of weight loss every month since many other factors come into play. However, if you couple this with healthy eating habits and exercise, you will see great results.
Scenario 2 – The weight gain phase
Now, let’s assume your current diet is causing you to gain weight. Cutting out the extra calories from these drinks can
- Help reduce the rate at which you are gaining weight
- Make you lose weight
Honestly, either of the above is possible. It depends on how many extra calories (over your maintenance calories) you were consuming to begin with.
In order for you to lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. And to be in a calorie deficit, you need to know what your maintenance calories are. I have an in-depth article on how to calculate your maintenance calories and create a deficit plan that you can stick to.
I digress. Back to soda and sugary drinks. The easiest way to reduce your soda intake is my replacing it with other low-calorie drinks you enjoy.
Low-calorie drink options to replace soda
Below are some easy ready-to-drink soda replacements. These will quench your thirst and cravings without adding a lot of calories.
|Best low calorie soda||Zevia Zero Calorie Soda|
|Best low calorie prebiotic soda||POPPI Sparkling Prebiotic Soda|
|Best flavored sparkling water||Sparkling Ice Flavored Sparkling Water|
|Best flavored water||Hint Flavored Water|
|Best zero calorie iced tea||Zevia Organic Sugar Free Iced Tea|
|Best zero sugar energy drinks||ZOA Zero Sugar Energy Drink|
|Best infused supertea||Bai Antioxidant Infused Supertea|
|Best electrolyte Powder Packets||LMNT Electrolyte Powder Packets|
|Best coconut water||Vita Coco Coconut Water|
What happens if you drink too much soda?
There are numerous health repercussions of having soft drinks. Many of them are due to the high fructose content. It causes:
1. Weight gain and obesity
What a shocker, right? The consumption of every serving of soft drink comes loaded with calories and absolutely no nutrients. This is the main cause of weight gain. Having just one can of coke can result in exhausting your sugar quota for the day! That sounds crazy!
Honestly most of the things we eat today contains sugar in some form or another. So, this would put us way over what our body actually needs. In addition, fructose is metabolised differently in the body as compared to glucose. This just makes pilling the weight on a lot easier and faster.
2. Leptin resistance
Leptin is our satiety hormone. It’s responsible for the feeling of fullness we get after eating food. If the leptin function reduces, we continue to feel hungry even after consuming a hearty meal. This can in-turn lead to over-eating or binging. There are studies showing that a high sugar diet can lead to leptin resistance i.e. lowering the leptin function.
3. Metabolic syndrome
Consuming high amounts of sugary beverages is linked to higher chances of type 2 diabetes  and a cluster of conditions like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
4. Tooth decay
The high sugar and acid content in carbonated soft drinks causes tooth decay. The acid causes the erosion of the enamel and the sugar demineralizes the teeth.
Most of the sodas contain caffeine, which is a diuretic. A diuretic is any substance which causes you to create and excrete more urine. This can lead to dehydration and will also over-work the kidneys. So, next time you want to have a soft drink to quench your thirst you’d probably know that you’re doing the exact opposite!
6. Caffeine insensitivity
As we all know, caffeine is mildly addictive. One can of soda contains nearly 40-50mg of caffeine. Which is equal to a strong cup of coffee. Consuming these drinks in a large quantity can lead to caffeine insensitivity. It is also associated with disrupted sleep and anxiety. Initial caffeine withdrawal symptoms like headache, fatigue, depression and irritability can be noticed.
7. Osteoporosis and Weak Bones
The high amount of caffeine can also increase the excretion of calcium in the urine, decreasing the bone mineral density. Hence, frequent consumption of soft drinks is linked to osteoporosis, weak bones and high chances of fractures.
8. Kidney Damage
Excessive consumption of soda is also associated with kidney stones.
It is not just soda. Here are some other drinks that can make you gain weight
Honestly, anything that is causing you to be on a calorie surplus will make you gain weight. But as mentioned, sugar sweetened beverages play a very big role in the weight gain across the world. It can be any liquids that are sweetened with added sugars (brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose). These include, but aren’t limited to the following:
- Carbonated soft drinks / sodas
- Fruit drinks
- Sports drinks
- Energy drinks
- Sweetened water
- Flavoured milk
- Sweetened tea / coffee
Now, before I go ahead and conclude the article, I would like to clarify that I am not trying to diss the sugar sweetened beverages. Instead, my aim is to show you how it can affect your weight loss goals. I think it’s okay to have these drinks every once in a while, as far as you are careful about your daily calories.
However, if you’re wondering about healthier alternatives that you can replace your soda habits with, then I’ve got just the right article for you. Check out this in-depth guide on how to quit the soda habit along with 30 easy healthy alternatives.