Helping You Kick Your Soda Habit

November 9, 2010   14 Comments

A couple weeks ago, Snack Girl featured a post on Dr. Oz's "28 Day National soda challenge". Since then, I have been looking for an alternative to feature and I found one!

Helping You Kick Your Soda Habit

The NoFizz Challenge has a simple premise. Instead of substituting diet soda for regular soda, try drinking water! (If you remember, Dr. Oz's plan suggested drinking diet soda instead of regular.)

NoFizz Charlotte is online, a non-profit, and anyone can join the challenge FOR FREE!!

How can you lose?

Bobby DeMuro, the executive director of NoFizz Charlotte, took the time to answer some of my questions about the NoFizz Challenge.

Snack Girl: What is the NoFizz Challenge?
Bobby: The NoFizzCLT Hydration Challenge is an initiative to keep people better hydrated, healthier, and more focused whether at work, home, school, or play. We began in April as a 30-day no-soda challenge for the city of Charlotte, North Carolina - and have since grown into a full-fledged 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that runs educational outreach programs for students at schools and community centers throughout the Carolinas, teaching the importance of healthy hydration, being active and fit, and proper nutrition.

Along the way, we also utilize social media to challenge adults across the country to give up soda and drink more water. Our most recent challenge, a 60-day Hydration Campaign that ended on Halloween, was picked up by news organizations as far away as Lubbock, Texas and Flint, Michigan - and 2,400 people took the challenge!

The challenge is simple: drink 60 ounces of water every day, and avoid soda. There are no failures here, and no negativity for falling back into a soda habit; we strive to help people build healthy habits over a long-term period, rather than simply be perfect for 30 days without realizing the benefit to their body. If you drink three sodas on day four, get right back up on day five, drink your 60 ounces of water, and start building healthy habits that will last a lifetime!

Snack Girl: Why do you ask people to drink 60 ounces of water per day (as opposed to just quit drinking soda, energy drinks, diet soda, etc.)?
Bobby: We began by just asking people to avoid soda. Then, we added a hydration component for several reasons.

First, we wanted to be more positive than negative. During our no-soda initiatives, we found ourselves telling a lot of people to "avoid this," and "avoid that." When we added in a positive component (giving people something proactively good that they could do to improve their health), our response from new followers skyrocketed accordingly. Now, we help others empower themselves to make a healthy choice with hydration, as opposed to just asking them to avoid something negative.

Also, we found that although many people had successfully given up soda, they weren't seeing as many healthy benefits as they could outside of weight loss. When we added in a hydration component, people responded quickly, noting how much better they felt drinking water, and how little water they had previously been drinking before our challenges.

Water's the best thing on earth. It's abundant, relatively cheap, and readily available. It's great for your body, and necessary for so many functions towards a healthy lifestyle. It's a no-brainer to encourage people to drink more water, and watch them piggy-back other healthy goals along with it; some participants have cut out high fructose corn syrup from their diets. Others have began training for 5k races. Still others have made goals to eat more vegetables. Being properly hydrated is a great gateway to other health goals!

Snack Girl: What are some of the big health benefits of switching from sugary drinks to water?
Bobby: I could list one million different things here, but I'll stick to a select few!

Weight loss, and/or weight maintenance for those not actively seeking to lose weight, is one of the biggest benefits of choosing water. In 2009, a Virginia Tech study found that people who consume a glass of water before every meal consume 75 less calories per meal than people who do not consume water.

Furthermore, a 2007 Oakland Research Institute study found that people on a diet who replace sugary drinks with water lose, on average, an extra five pounds per year than those who do not change their drinking habits.

Water also helps regulate, maintain, and speed your metabolism. A 2004 study by the Franz-Volhard Clinical Research Center in Germany found that drinking just 17 ounces of water sped up the metabolic rate in humans by more than 30% for 30 minutes. Try that with a calorie-laden soda!

There are plenty of other benefits to switching to water, too. It's your natural detoxification system (along with your liver, of course), helping to regulate metabolism, maintain energy levels, and clean out toxins in the body. It improves both skin and muscle tone. Most importantly for people who work long hours, it's crash free! Rather than a soda or energy drink at lunch, drinking water won't cause a sugar crash at 2:00 or 3:00 pm. It allows you to remain focused and on an even energy keel throughout the day.

Snack Girl: I don't drink soda, but I do drink coffee and some juice every day. Is this for me?
Bobby: Absolutely! We don't expressly forbid coffee or juice, but what we've found is that many hardcore coffee drinkers have noticed they do not need as much coffee throughout the day as they drink more water on a consistent basis. Coffee is much healthier than soda, though there are still some concerns with it (as it's a diuretic, among other things). We encourage coffee drinkers to give up a cup or two a day and replace it with water.

As for juice drinkers, the same story goes. Juice is a great option if it's 100%, with no added sugars, but unfortunately many people today consider "juice" to be the stuff you buy from Hawaiian Punch or any other manufacturer who adds considerable sugar (or high fructose corn syrup) to the concoction. From a caloric perspective, It's just as bad as drinking a soda! We encourage juice people to use water as a healthier option!

We also encourage our participants to choose healthy mid-way options, like hot tea, or water flavored with mint, ginger, lemon, apples, cucumbers, oranges, and more. There are so many ways to spice up water so your taste buds are happy, all while still reaping the healthy benefits of consumption!

Snack Girl: What is your favorite snack?
Broccoli, carrots, almonds, and cashews! I love to combine the four in a bowl (cold broccoli and carrots, of course), and eat a big handful or two at a time. The texture and combination of it can't be beat, and it's a perfect snack! Mix in some tuna, and you've got yourself a meal!

Unfortunately, I also like chocolate brownies. Hey, I'm not perfect!

To join - check out: NoFizz Charlotte and sign up for the 30 day challenge.

What do you think of the No Fizz Charlotte plan?

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Great site - thanks.

Usually, when I show people how much sugar they are "downing" over a year's time, it becomes a real incentive to stop drinking sugared drinks.

This is what it looks like

Ken Leebow - reporting from the Coke capitol of the world...Atlanta, GA.

Thanks for featuring us on the Snack Girl website! So far today, 13 people have joined our challenge because of this! Can't wait to keep spreading the good word of health!

Bobby DeMuro
Executive Director
NoFizz Charlotte, Inc.

Thanks for posting this. I was absolutely appalled at the suggestions Dr. Oz made for kicking the soda habit. Switching from sugar-laden sodas to chemical-laden sodas benefits NO one.

I appreciate you posting this article which suggests the logical option to drinking soda -- water! How refreshing!

Sue Ingebretson

Replacing soda with water is an excellent way to take up a healthy choice and at the same time getting rid of an unwanted and unhealthy practice. Besides, many people just drink so less water throughout the day and then starts complain about various health problems like constipation etc.

Also, i would not put broccoli as am first choice snack, but it is always good to know some healthy snack options.

I gave up soda years ago, and in general, cringe at the thought of it, especially the way it made my teeth feel!

It was great to meet you at the Foodbuzz Festival. Please let me know if you are ever in Boston!

Bobby- great cause!! And your snack really are hardcore ;)

One thing that helped my husband curb his diet soda addiction is carbonated water. It's expensive, but otherwise he wouldn't drink water at all so it's worth it!

@Andrea - thank you! As far as my snack choice... just don't see me on a day where I go to QDoba or something, and grab a brownie or two..... ;)

True about carbonated water. Scientists used to think that the carbonation leached calcium from bones, but it has since been proven to be false, so, it's good to go!

I know water by itself is the best for you. But I stopped drinking diet coke and went to making ice tea. I use sweet n low to sweeten it. How much worse (or better) is the tea over diet sodas? And does drinking the tea slow down the bodies ability to lose weight? I find that there are only a few ways that I can drink just plain water (I hate lemon) and that is during meals and right after exercise. And it has to be COLD. Is that good enough? Or do I need to work harder to drink more plain water?

Now there's a plan I can get behind. Thanks Snack Girl!


The WB

Yea for Snack Girl. I don't drink soda enough to have a habit to kick, but I have found myself drinking less and less water. I'm just dehydrated! And a body can't work that way. I'm going to go fill a pitcher right now and make sure it's gone by dinner.

Soda has always been an occasional treat for me, even as a kid. Only with burgers, pizzas, tacos -- all of which were rarities -- or at parties and picnics. I still like soda with those foods, but now I make sure that it is either a natural soda or my daughter's favorite, an old fashioned "shrub" (fruit, vinegar, sugar, water).

I replaced soda with water in May 2010 and stopped eating most proccessed foods too...I've lost over 25 lbs so far.

Before you buy in to all this man is claiming, read some more:…

Give your kidneys a break.

@CC Thank you for your comment. Here is an excellent article from the Mayo Clinic on the health benefits of replacing soda with water -

The article you cite is just about drinking more water on a daily basis - not replacement of sugary drinks - which is the focus of the NoFizz Challenge.

i need a support group to help me kick this addiction. :(

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