How to Cut Down on Soft Drinks
Put down the cola - it's fizz free February
5 February 2019
If you’re looking forward to a can of coke at lunchtime, today is a good day to reconsider: Fizz Free February has kicked off.
The campaign hopes to encourage people – and particularly young adults and children – to quit drinking fizzy pop for a whole month, in an effort to cut our sugar intake.
Last year, research found that soft drinks amount to 22% of 11-18-year-olds’ sugar intake – their single largest source of the white stuff. And with diabetes a huge risk in the UAE, it's important residents look at their fizzy drink habits.
Here’s how to wean yourself – and your kids – off fizzy pop…
Switch to diet
It’s a baby step, but if you are going to be reaching into the fridge for a can of lemonade, begin by swapping full fat for diet. It may take a while to get used to the new taste (because real coke does taste better than diet), but it’ll have you moving in the right direction.
Read the label
This is for the shock factor. How many ingredients do you not recognise? How much sugar are you actually swigging down? It might just have you slotting that drink back onto the newsagents’ shelf, especially as a can of full-fat Coca-Cola contains 35g sugar – that’s 145% of a child’s recommended daily sugar intake.
Make water more interesting
Nothing beats a really cold glass of water when you’re overheating, but if getting on board with water at other times is a bit of a stretch, pep up your H20. Cucumber, lemon, lime, rosemary, mint and lemonbalm will all add flavour to your water bottle. And they look pretty too.
Make it a mixer
Halve your sugar intake by mixing your soda 50-50 with water or juice, and then save the other half of your pop for another day. You’ll get the fizzy hit while still feeling good about not drinking a whole can, and you’ll have the delayed gratification of finding the other half in the fridge the next day. Win-win.
Carry a bottle of squash with you
If you know you’re going to be tempted by the vending machine at school/work/the gym, be prepared with a reusable bottle of water, filled, chilled and ready in your bag. Still need something sweet? Try sugar-free squash instead.
Redefine what a ‘treat’ is
Previously, a Friday after-school/work treat might have involved a trip to the shop for some sweets and a lemonade, or burger, chips and a coke. You can still go out for a treat, just lop the fizzy drink off the order. You’ll still feel pretty pleased with your sweets and burger, but will have cut out a serious chunk of your sugar hit.
Put the money aside for something else
Lunch will be far cheaper if you leave off the fizzy drink order, and if the kids are begging for a bottle of pop, if it’s possible, tell them you’ll add the price of the fizzy drink to their pocket money total, to spend on something else they want that will last longer than a few sugary swigs.