July 14, 2020/Nutrition

Why It’s Time to Start Replacing Your Daily Soda

Replace sugary drinks with healthier beverages

pouring soda into a glass

Kicking your daily soda habit can be difficult, but the cons are enough to help get you started on the journey. Concerns are building about sugary beverages and their association with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, according to integrative medicine physician Irina Todorov, MD.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

According to an American Heart Association study, consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks was associated with coronary vascular disease mortality and artificially sweetened drinks were associated with cardiovascular disease mortality in the highest intake category only.

“The more regular soda cans per day we drink, the more likely we are to die from heart disease,” says Dr. Todorov. “As for the diet soda users, the risk was observed in heavy users only.”

What about one can a day?

Is there harm in drinking soda in moderation like one can a day?

Even that amount — even if it is a diet soda — can hurt your health.


An American Diabetes Association study reported that consuming one or more sodas per day compared to none at all increased the risk of metabolic syndrome by 36% and type 2 diabetes by 67%. Moreover, drinking one diet soda per week was linked to a 70% greater risk of diabetes compared to those who didn’t drink diet soda. Currently, around 1 in 10 adults have type 2 diabetes and 1 in 3 have prediabetes.

Don’t even think about reaching for that diet soda, either. Diet soda is notorious for having artificial sweeteners in them, which can contribute to weight gain, increased hunger, diabetes and can even impact your metabolism. Not only that, but one study suggests that diet soda may change how your brain reacts to cravings for food high in calories.

On average, one can of soda can have as much as 39 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of sugar per day for women and no more than 36 grams of sugar per day for men. When you consume soda, you can easily cut it close to your daily sugar recommendations or even go overboard.

“Changing habits is difficult,” says Dr. Todorov. “Instead of concentrating on what you can’t drink, try to put your efforts into what you can.”


Kicking your soda habit

To help wean yourself off of your daily soda, try swapping it with a few alternatives:

  • Try sparkling water to mimic the bubbles from your favorite soda.
  • Flavor your water with slices of cucumber, kiwi or strawberry.
  • Freeze fruit in ice cubes and add them to your water for extra sweetness.
  • Enjoy a cup of black coffee, green or black tea for a caffeine kick.
  • Drink chamomile, valerian or lemon balm tea if you feel stressed.
  • Sip on hibiscus tea throughout the day if you have hypertension. This may help you achieve better control of your blood pressure.

“If you cannot stop drinking sweetened beverages cold turkey, try to taper off as best you can,” says Dr. Todorov. “If you’re drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda a day, try a 12-ounce bottle instead. If you’re drinking two sodas a day, try one.”

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

A wooden spoonful of salt on a granite tabletop with salt scattered around
February 28, 2024/Nutrition
Why Too Much Salt Can Be Bad for You

Excess salt and sodium consumption is a worldwide health concern

Person enjoying container of assorted fruit
February 28, 2024/Heart Health
How To Protect Your Heart When You Have Prediabetes

You can counter the risk of prediabetes-related heart attack or stroke by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as exercising regularly

Blood pressure cuff on arm and blood pressure-reading device
February 27, 2024/Heart Health
Here’s What Your Blood Pressure Numbers Mean

An ideal blood pressure is less than 120 mm Hg systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic

overhead photograph of open and empty energy drinks
February 19, 2024/Nutrition
Are Energy Drinks Bad for You?

Regularly drinking these sugar-fueled, stimulant-laden beverages can increase your risk of adverse health effects

Doctor shaking hands with patient, with large heart and EKG line behind them
February 19, 2024/Heart Health
How Weight Affects Your Heart

Having underweight, having overweight and having obesity can be dangerous for your heart

fire cider in a mason jar
Fire Cider: What Is It? And Can It Prevent Illness?

This spicy concoction can do more harm than good, upsetting your stomach and causing painful acid reflux

healthcare provider speaking with older female in office
February 6, 2024/Women's Health
How Estrogen Supports Heart Health

Your natural estrogen levels support a healthy heart by improving your cholesterol, increasing blood flow and reducing free radicals

Caregiver and elderly male with head bent down
February 2, 2024/Brain & Nervous System
After Your Stroke: How To Handle 14 Common Complications

Your age, the type of stroke you had, the cause and the location can all impact your recovery

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey