How I kicked my Coke habit
September 28th, 2011
09:15 AM ET
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Holy crap, did I used to drink a lot of Diet Coke. Not just a can or two at lunch and one with dinner. Not just a pick-me-up in the afternoon or the tail end of a droopy morning. More like two liters a day at the very minimum - sometimes four.

Had the end times come and yea and verily the East and Hudson rivers risen up and swallowed New York, I could have easily lashed together a raft of the empty plastic bottles I'd amassed in my recycling bin since the last trash day. First port of call: wherever they're keeping the rest of the Diet Coke. And I'd probably have to fight for it.

I can spot a Diet Coke addict from across the room. At the first sip of one freshly poured or popped, there's a barely perceptible sigh and slump; their itch has been scratched.

A casual drinker will simply slug, quench and continue about their normal activities, but the Diet Coke freak cannot be so nonchalant. They'll pause for a moment, sinking in and surrendering to the sweet fizz. Then comes the surreptitious scan of the premises to ensure there's easy access to more.

For many, it's less enjoyment than appeasement of a bubble-hungry little beast within. It's a physical need with definite emotional underpinnings, bordering on addiction. While the root causes of that are a matter of great debate among healthcare professionals who claim it's tied to everything from caffeine dependence to chasing an ever-elusive high triggered but not satisfied by artificial sweeteners like the aspartame in my precious Diet Coke, that meant jack to me over the course of the twenty or so years I spent trying to kick the habit.

Frankly, I didn't care to give much mind to experts, friends and partners who suggested I cut back a tad, citing expense, lack of storage space, late-night convenience store pilgrimages and (in an anonymous, locally-postmarked letter later traced back to my roommate) concern over "Where does the caramel coloring go?"

One boyfriend went so far as to ask me, on the eve of our anniversary meal at a high-end Manhattan restaurant, "Would you mind not ordering a Diet Coke at dinner tomorrow night?" I refrained from ordering one (not on his account, but because I opted for the restaurant's notable wine pairings), but not from pointing out the tables around us with Diet Cokes upon them. There, it came in small glass bottles for fanciness' sake. I was clearly not alone in my obsession.

We take care of each other, the Diet Coke addicts of the world. My grad school roommate and I had an unspoken pact that even if we were running late to campus in the morning, we'd take five minutes to stop off at the local convenience store and stock up for the day - me with a well-iced fountain cup and her with a two-liter that she'd swig from throughout the day, even after it reached room temperature. Gross, but her devotion paid off; she married the cashier who sold us our fix every day.

After that came a boss whose office I dared not enter for a long meeting unless I came bearing a cold bottle for her, a friend who'd also show up at parties with the requisite wine for the host - along with a two liter of Diet Coke for her own personal consumption, and my now-husband who I adored on his own merits, but even more when he started stocking Diet Coke for me in his own fridge. Bad habits appreciate the heck out of company - and I'd justify it by noting that I didn't smoke, drink to excess, do drugs or bungee jump - but it was time to quit.

It was, in fact, quitting time for a long time. I was sick to death of the expense, the hauling of bottles, the financial support of a company with which I had some serious ethical issues and perhaps more than anything, the feeling that I had no control over this particular area of my life.

It seems like such an insignificant thing, but there's an inherent anxiety to any addiction. I wasn't going to go all foamy-mouthed and twitchy on the floor, but I felt tremendous stress if I didn't know there was another bottle or can close at hand. If I knew I'd be staying over, I'd show up at a friend or boyfriend's home with a supply so I'd be assured a cold one in the morning, and keep bottles stashed in office desk drawers just in case the vending machine ran out.

My attempts to quit were a running joke with friends, but truly, it hurt - both physically and psychically. I shook and worried and my head pounded. I'm an exceptionally friendly person (or at least I try to be), but I was crabby and short with people I love and I'm convinced it wasn't just the caffeine. That, I could get anywhere. There is something specifically in Diet Coke that pushes buttons in me that others might simply be missing. Lucky them; this was humiliating.

And then the Sodastream happened. I'd wanted this magical machine for ages, but couldn't justify the counter space or the purchase price. It is simply a carbonation device - screw a specially fitted bottle of plain tap water onto a nozzle, press a button, and release. Some people choose to augment the water with flavored syrups, but as it turns out, I'm a purist. Who'd have guessed?

My husband presented me with one of these for Christmas, and I appreciated the novelty. It makes a comical little honking sound upon operation, and one can opt for everything from a mild sparkle to a riotous, nose-tickling rush of bubbles. I began drinking a glass or two of carbonated water a day, then three or four or more and it wasn't until I tripped over an unopened bottle of Diet Coke on the kitchen floor one day that I realized I hadn't bought any for weeks.

I have no idea how I was released from diet cola's hold, but I opt for seltzer or water in or out of the house every time now. I haven't supplanted the caffeine or the sweetness with anything else, and the most I'll adulterate the sparkling water is by adding a dash or two of Fee Brothers peach or celery flavored bitters or a dash of Tabasco sauce, because I have really odd flavor issues. I'll chalk it up to a fizz addiction which is - lame, I admit, but I'll take it.

Tallied up, that's a savings of (with New York City pricing) $850 a year at the very low end of an estimate and a cool grand or more if we're figuring in taxes and bottle deposit - not to mention the 400 or more plastic and metal containers I'm no longer chucking willy-nilly at the planet. That's pretty darned cool to me.

I certainly don't mind if folks around me are having a Diet Coke and a smile. I just won't be chilling out with them - for now.

soundoff (650 Responses)
  1. Jay

    Okay, the title says "How I kicked my Coke habit." But after rambling on and on about how much she enjoyed it she finally admits she doesnt know how she kicked it. Thanks for nothing.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  2. Bill O

    I quit the COKE habit cold turkey about 2 years ago. I was hooked 6-8 a day!! Holy crap. I woke up one day & said "no more" & that was it. It doesn't help that my wife likes Coke though.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  3. Bobby L. Price

    I was addicted to cigarettes once, when it came time for me to stop smoking I stopped cold turkey and have not smoked since. Believe me when I say I was addicted for I smoked for 33 years, but I quit several years ago and now can't stand the smell. Diet Coke is the same as with any other addiction I feel for those people for I was an addict once. I now say bless those that kick their habit for it is very difficult. I still think about smoking, and or whatever, I'll never ever smoke again.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  4. Kathy

    My kids will only drink soda if I have it in the house, so I don't buy it although they do get the occasional fix from the drive-through. I too bought a Sodastream about a month ago and it is great!!! We drank a lot of bottled seltzer water and the "do it yourself" Sodastream saves on plastic consumption and is just as satisfying as soda. I highly recommend it. (and no I don't work for Sodastream!!)

    September 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  5. Matt

    A bunch of weak fuks addicted to diet soda, nice. The world needs a new plague to kill some of you doosh bags off.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • brenda

      you seem like a delightful person with a really fulfilling life.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Sean

      I admit I kinda rolled my eyes at this article, But I don't stoop low and demean the people this article applies to. Have a little compassion for the common man and don't be a jerk...

      September 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Matt

      I'm guessing you get beat up a lot.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
      • Sean

        Never have been, never will... It pays to be nice and not a jackass...

        September 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • apostate

      hopefully you will be the first to get this 'plague".

      September 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • David

      Thanks so much for adding to debate! Find something better to do!

      September 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Steve

      Poor little Matt,

      I imagine you get sick of seeing them while on your night shift flipping burgers

      Maybe you should get out of your momma's basement and see a little bit of the world and would realize there really are worse things out there.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • WhoWhatWhereWhenWhyHow

      The only 'doosh' bag I see here, Matt, is you. I have no doubt that you are a crass bully with low standards and self-esteem issues. Why don't you run along and grow up some? My guess is you're about 14 or 15 and angry at the world because mommy and daddy don't believe in a little discipline.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Drew

      Dear Matt, your wit is as sharp as your spelling.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • tooz72

      there's a bigger epidemic of weak minded people that don't know how to spell "doosh"

      September 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  6. Merit

    Yep I'm addicted too, clicked on this article the moment I saw and KNEW there would be others. They're putting something in this stuff to make money. A decade ago it was Regular Coke (my teeth are still paying the price), but now it's Diet. I buy the grocery store brands for cheaper but am SICK to DEATH of having one bag of groceries for every 3 bags of pop. I've quit before and if I take a sip after 3 'clean' days, the stuff tastes awful. But yet I go back because it only takes that second sip. Well no more. I just swallowed my last gulp of pop (was gonna go to the store in about 10 minutes for more) but instead have poured a glass of mineral water that's been in the fridge, unopened, for months. Enough is enough.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  7. Ex-addict

    I'm convinced it's largely the aspartame, and here's why: I used to drink diet coke religiously until I gave up all caffeine for Lent one year and suddenly was unable to drink caffeinated beverages after noon without being up all night, so I switched to caffeine-free diet coke, which satisfied the craving in me just as regular diet coke had before. Now I unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!) can't drink anything with aspartame in it because I get strange neurological symptoms – don't believe me? look up aspartame and seizures, there is scientific evidence for the connection. Diet coke with splenda is okay, for the fizz, but just doesn't do the same thing for me that regular diet coke or caffeine free diet coke did.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Aspartame is the fecal matter of e-coli

      It is the Aspartame. But, please look up Splenda- it is no better for you than the Aspartame. Good for you for listening to your body! Most folks don't.

      September 29, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  8. DeeDee

    For me, it's not the fizz, carbonation or bubbles. It's the TASTE of coke/pepsi. I can pass up a root beer, Dr. Pepper, orange soda, mountain dew anytime but i cannot pass up the taste of Coke – there's something about THAT taste. I am addicted – this I admit. The 100 calorie mini-cans are a big help in trying to wean oneself off of it. But how do you get past the taste??

    September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  9. docrags

    For me, as a generation X'er, it's the taste and the fizz. I once busted a bottler because I could taste a hint of Dr Pepper in some 12 packs. They wrote back to tell me they were not following cleaning protocal correctly between whatever they were bottling, and sent me coupons for 12 12 packs and was a little amazed I was able to catch it.
    I once tried to quit, and the headache and vomiting after 8 days broke me. Caffiene for me was like kicking Herion. I'll stick with my Diet Coke.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  10. Karianne

    I was seriously addicted to Dr. Pepper since I was a kid (I actually remember when I was first turned on to it), and my jones kept growing. I had tried to cut back or quit many times, with no success. I finally quit by accident. I was planning a skiing trip out west, and to prepare for high altitude I decided to drink only water for a week prior. It was awful, but I did it, probably because I believed it was only for a week. Then when I was in the high altitude, all I wanted was to drink water – nothing else satisfied my thirst. By the time I returned home, I had been off of the Dr. Pepper for two weeks. I knew if I had even one, I'd be right back where I was before. So I tried to avoid it, literally one day at a time, as they say. It was rough, though, and I was on the verge of relapse at any moment. I observed the things I was withdrawing from: caffeine (not so bad), sugar (much bigger deal, but substituted other sources), and finally, the bubbles. I learned that it's the bubbles I absolutely can't live without – the carbonation. So I started drinking Vintage (the best) seltzer water, and that did the trick. Now I drink more fluids each day, and my kidneys feel a whole lot better (I was having trouble before). I had tried seltzer water before, but it didn't work either because I didn't choose the right brand, or I hadn't detoxed yet. Flavored waters didn't work either – they only made me more thirsty. Now I still crave Dr. Pepper sometimes, and it's especially strong when I have a migraine, but I know I can't have even one or I'm done for. So if you're thinking of quitting, you will feel so much healthier if you do. Hopefully Vintage seltzer water will help you too. The Sodastream sounds good too, and much more economical. Vintage is more expensive than soda – $1 per liter.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  11. RogerSmith

    Seems like TPTB want us to drink the tap water. Second article today promoting tap water.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Aspartame kills brain cells

      I completely agree with you, Roger. That gave me a chuckle. Thank you.

      September 29, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  12. Gregg Anderson

    I stopped cold turkey. I was 5" 11" and weighed 242 lb.s. I do lift weights so I was not all fat.
    I literlly dropped 22 lb.s in the first 5 weeks without increasing my exercise or altering any other part of my diet.

    I highly recommend "0" pop for anyone who has enough will power to stop.

    PS: Since then I have altered my diet and exercise and lost another 20 lbs.How, I simply exercise and track my calories with a journal from If you track it, you can change it.


    September 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • J

      We were in the same boat (except I was drinking regular, not diet). Multiple liters of soda every day, and I was at 5'11" and 230lbs at age 16. I woke up one day, decided I didn't want to look like that anymore, and never touched soda again. That decision was the beginning of a radical diet change for me, and I've lost right at 100lbs and never looked better!

      September 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Marie

      Sure Gregg...Whatever you say...Seems you like to frequent any board on weightloss and health to claim you were in the exact same situation so you can have a moment to spam the board with the web address leading to your ad-filled website...Fail.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  13. Kathy

    How about a regular coke addict? Yummmm....

    September 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  14. George

    My wife also broke her coke addiction with a sodastream. At first I was skeptical but it works great. Now I'm drinking soda water too. I like it with a couple of dashes of angostura bitters.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Raine

      I kicked the Coke habit......I now drink PEPSI....................

      September 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
      • Cathie L


        September 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  15. Kirsten

    This is me. I could have wrote this. :) My friend at work sent it to me and said this could be you. Every single thing you did, I did. I quit cold turkey a little over a month ago. I think I, too, miss the fizz. I will be looking into the sodastream. Thank you for the wonderful blog that made me laugh and made me feel better abut not drinking pop. :)

    September 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  16. Adam

    Alright, we get it – you live in New York.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • eepah

      Seriously! Bloggers that live in NYC just can't stop talking about NYC. I've been many times... it's still just a city. Get over it already.

      September 28, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  17. SJB

    Did I write the testimony in this story? Oh no, wait, I am still an addict. :-) Help Me Please!!

    September 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • BJ

      I absolutely understand! I have quit and started many times with diet Coke or diet Pepsi. Here is how I is how we moved from whole milk to 2% or 1%. Remember that? Mix Diet Coke with caffeine and Diet Coke without caffeine. 1/2 glass with the first, 1/2 glass with the second. Do this for a week. Then slowly get to all non-caffeine cola drink. Then, cut that consumption in 1/2. It works, and no headache will follow. If it does, just take Tylenol or Advil until it stops. Recommended dosage. Then, NEVER pick one up again, because, if you are like me, I get that taste again, and off I go. Good luck!

      September 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  18. DC

    I'm DC and I'm diet coke addict.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Matt

      Hi DC

      September 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  19. Ihopper

    Want to stop drinking soda, stop getting fat??? STOP SHOVING STUFF DOWN YOUR PIE HOLE! Go outdoors and walk! GO DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!

    September 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Smarter Than You

      Wow, such an insightful message. Your brilliance is unsurpassed...what have I been doing with my life until your brilliant remarks made their way onto the net? Take your opinion and shove it up your ass.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
      • Thinner than you

        Methinks the fat lazy person has many issues with anger, refuses to get off mom's couch and go for a walk.
        I know it hurts, fatty, but ihopper is right.
        1) Reduce intake
        2) exercise
        3) burn off more calories than you consume
        4) Lose weight
        6) Profit

        Seriously, go for a good walk 5 or 6 times a week and eventually that anger and self-loathing will go away.

        September 29, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  20. 'Nuf Said

    You'd be better off to get off diet coke and Aspartame all together. Aspartame is a neurotoxin associated with brain cancer, Parkinsons, MS, migraines and a whole host of other major, as well as minor, health issues. I was a Diet Pepsi addict for 28 years. One three day weekend, I quit cold turkey. I experienced intense headaches, vomitting, muscle twitching and other symptoms for those 3 days and these symptoms came back intermittently for about 2 months afterward. I later learned that they were caused by the build up of phenylalanine in my brain, which happens with massive consumption of Aspartame over time. I haven't had any Aspartame in about 30 months now and I've never felt better. I can think more clearly, I don't have the frequent headaches that I used have and (most importantly) I don't feel like a slave anymore. I also have greatly reduced my chances of getting the health problems I described in the opening of my comment. Getting off the stuff was tough, but it's the best thing I ever did.

    There are a number of articles and documentaries on the history of Aspartame and its dangers that you can find by searching the Internet. One is a movie available on U Tube called "Sweet Misery". Its not the best edited documentary, but it gets its point across well enough.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Nicky

      Aspartame is perfectly safe, this is all made up rubbish. If there was a problem with this additive people would have been dropping like flies for years, give me a break!

      September 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • plav74

      I can't drink diet drinks. They do horrible things to my digestive system. I know it's the aspartame, so I avoid it like the plague.

      Unfortunately, it took me about a year of drinking diet drinks to figure out that was the source of my problems. At least I figured it out!

      September 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • PaperCraneStyle

      There is no science directly linking aspartame with any of the diseases you sited. The notion that it is a neurotoxin is quite laughable. The only 'association' with these medical conditions is from alarmists, jumping to conclusions before there is any hard science in.

      Show me one double-blind clinical trial proving a direct link with aspartame and any negative health condition, and then we can talk!

      September 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  21. deadbuggy

    I drank Diet Coke for eons, years ago, but more significantly to your point later in the article... I'm a fizz addict. I'm a bubble fiend. I bought a SodaStream earlier this year, and I used various diet flavors and also drink it plain. Flat bevvies just don't have the same zingy ooh la la - I need my fizzy fuzzy bubbly fix!!

    September 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  22. descarado

    Diet sodas are the biggest scam. They make you fat, but gullible zombies drink more "diet" soda so they won't get fat and they end up getting fatter and drinking MORE "diet" soda to curb their fatness and they can't quite figure out the correlation so...have another diet soda Fattie!

    September 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • rkt210

      No, calories make you fat, and diet soda doesn't have any. The problem is when people get in the mindset that since they are avoiding 150 calories by drinking a diet soda instead of a regular one, they can have "a little extra" during their meal, which ends up being much more than the 150 calories they "saved".

      September 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
      • PaperCraneStyle

        Exactly. I am guessing that research would show that 75% of the people that order the double quarter-pounder meal from McDonalds, get it with a diet coke!

        September 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  23. us1776

    The U.S. is in the midst of a diabetes epidemic.

    Do you think high-fructuse-corn-syrup or aspartame or sucralose, etc. have played a part in this?

    I say absolutely.


    September 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  24. me

    I have so been saying for years that caffeine wasn't the reason for my calorie free, caramel colored, asparatame sweetened, carbonated beverage addiction. My demon is not Diet Coke, it is Pepsi Max. But, should a Pepsi Max not be available (gasp!!), I will go with the next best thing....a Diet Coke. I am so glad to know it's not just me. I can't kick the habit...I have tried. Props to those who did though.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • 'Nuf Said

      Please try to kick the habbit and keep trying until it works. You're poisoning yourself with that stuff.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  25. KLee

    My husband is a tried and true Diet Coke addict, and has been for about 30 years. He was originally addicted to regular Coke when he was a kid, but his parents switched him to Tab to avoid so much sugar. Little did they know that they were starting him down the road to hopeless addiction! :) Once Tab was off to the market, he switched to Diet Coke and has never looked back. He used to drink about 24 cans in 24-hour period, but he recently started getting 2-liter bottles because he goes through fewer ounces that way. Every weekend, I buy about 8 2-liters at the grocery store, and I usually have to make a stop by Wednesday or Thursday to get more.
    I figure that Diet Coke is his one vice - he can have it. But, there's a joke in our family that he won't have to be embalmed when he passes away. because of all the perservatives!

    September 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Tony

      My wife says the same to me about not being embalmed.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • dog phart

      Why do you continue to enable his addiction? Make him buy his own soda with his own money.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  26. George

    I used to be a Diet Coke (DC) addict, drinking an average of 6 cans daily during college. Recently, similar to the author of the article above, I have turned to flavored seltzer. I'm still buying the bottles, but there's something about the bubbles and the nice hint of flavor.

    The long story is that breaking my Diet Coke addiction was forced by my stomach. It essentially put me on notice. Suddenly I could not drink one without having stomach issues. So I was forced off. Years later, with weight lost on Atkins and feeling good, the urge returned. Dite Rite with Splenda just wasn't cutting it. Eventually, I dropped Atkins, went back to my way of eating and my addiction returned but now with Coke. Oh the deliciousness! I now vary between Coke and Diet Coke but mostly flavored seltzer.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  27. JohnnyDH

    My name is John and I am a Coke addict. Cocaine, not diet or regular Coca-Cola.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Socrates@JohnnyDH

      Hi John. Welcome and it gets better.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  28. Jer Mack

    This looks more like a long-winded advertisement for Sodastream than a news article.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  29. DA

    I did the same. I have used both soda stream and La Croix sparkling water. Kicked the habit!!

    September 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  30. Georgie

    Hi Guys:

    I have been off diet coke for just over 4 months now. I drank it 24/7 – In the middle of the night if I woke up I had one right by my bed, It was my one and only drink.
    If anyone even told me about how bad it was for me I would shut them out.
    I never quit until I got sick and sick I did get. It was awful, I couldn't sleep at night so I would take benadryl and that stuff is expensive.
    How I Quit – I just stopped – water tasted awful at first but now I love it.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  31. Frank

    the asparteme int the diet coke is what's so addictive. it's the same chemical in ant-sting treatment. it's highly addictive, carcinogenic, and one one of it's components is a petrochemical. Drink up!

    September 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Itak

      I was going to say, I dispute the caffeine claims because I am addicted to Caffeine free DC; ( though I know people do have caffeine addictions)

      September 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  32. Gomer Pyle

    I switched from diet coke to excedrin migrane.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  33. RC

    I am a 100% a diet coke addict. I drink about 7 or 8 cans, sometimes more of diet coke a day. Be it morning, afternoon, evening, late night...does not matter to me. I tried to quit one time-I had withdrawals, had a massive headache and I felt miserable without it. I do not drink any other drinks except water and diet coke. I know i should quit this habit, but at the moment, just can't do it.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Rick

      i am much the same, with diet pepsi. i have 4 a day

      September 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  34. Zena

    Someone who understands my addiction! I used to be addicted to Diet Coke (20+ years), but I've been a Diet Dr Pepper addict for the past five years. I travel with cooler in my truck so I'm never far from one. I pack a small cooler to work so they're handy at my desks. When I go to parties, I bring several cans with me. Two litres? I can do that in an hour! I tell people it's where I get my oxygen. Who cares about the caffeine! I can get that from NoDoz. It's the Diet Coke or Diet Dr P that gives me the sweet, bubbly goodness that causes my heart to start pumping regularly again and my brain waves to calm down.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  35. Alyssa

    I don't drink soda for the caffeine. I need no caffeine in the mornings, and I don't drink soda until I get home from work. If I don't have soda for a few days I have no ill effects. The sweetness can also be obtained from other sources. I firmly believe that my addiction is related to the carbonation alone.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  36. David

    I, my name is David, and I'm a Coke addict. Regular Coke, not the Diet.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Another David

      If you keep on drinking regular Coke, have your cholesterol & triglycerides checked regularly. I didn't and ended up having a heart attack (I'd been a vegan for 8 years at the time it happened, so the only cholesterol in my body was that which occurred naturally. Your liver is extremely efficient at converting sugar to triglycerides / cholesterol, especially if you consume it late at night)

      September 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  37. Jake

    This article sounded very familiar to me! Caffeine was not the reason I liked Diet Coke (I drank caffeine free) it was the carbnation and sweetness. I was drinking about 4 liters per day. I decided to try and give it up for Lent so as an alternative I switched to polar seltzer. No calories, no salt, no artificial first I struggled but after a few days I didn't miss Diet Coke at all. When Lent ended (about 40 days later) I tried a diet coke and found out I could no longer handle the tasted disgusting. I also feel better about not putting all those chemicals in my body. Try seltzer as an alternative if you really want to may take a little while but in the long run you'll be better off

    September 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • ED

      I switched to mainly water now. I feel much better too. The longer i go the less i think about my once favorite drink, diet cherry pepsi.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  38. Mack

    If you're going to drink soda everyday, at least drink one with natural sugar, like Sierra Mist. High fructose corn syrup is garbage for your body. Too much natural sugar isn't good for your body and teeth as well. But if I had the choice, I'd rather put real sugar into my body instead of that nasty high fructose corn syrup.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Zena

      There's no fructose in diet sodas.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  39. mcg

    Wow, TONS of comments on this article. I was addicted to regular coke for years, and it IS an addiction people. When you haven't had something for a while, and thinking about it causes physical pain, and you NEED one right NOW, that is an addiction, I don't care what people say. And I didn't drink much of it, relatively speaking, just one or two cans a day.

    I ended up doing a "soda bet" with a friend of mine who also wanted to quit. Basically cold turkey, and whoever caved first had to endure some humiliation and donate some cash to a charity of the winner's choice. It worked very well, kicked the habit. We have since amended the agreement, and let each other have soda one Saturday each month. So each month, on the following Sunday morning, I feel like complete garbage, and remember why I gave it up (of course the following month I will again drink it on that one Saturday, always seem to forget how bad it makes me feel...).

    September 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  40. ryan

    this makes me want a diet coke

    September 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  41. R Burns

    Here's a shocker for all you naysayers who would quickly condemn a person for quaffing gallons of diet soda: Coke Zero is the ONLY soft drink that I can consume safely! I'm even allergic to tap water, and it's all due to the chemicals in our environment. Not talking about a little rash or a headache. My reactions are swift and anaphylactic, which requires me to live like the Lady in the Bubble. It's expensive, isolating, and very painful. But Coke Zero is my sanity! My theory is that, because the water used for soft drinks is ultra-purified, all the chemicals I'm allergic to are removed before manufacture. Then, because of some miracle, nothing is added to the mix that causes my body to react. This is only true of the canned soda, since I'm also unable to have any beverages from the fountain or in plastic bottles. The plastic is obvious, but I don't have a clue as to why the fountain drinks are so bad. So I'm good at home with 6 to 8 cans of Coke Zero a day and pray they never change the formula!

    September 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • BobTheDOubter

      I am going to call BS on this one. Have you actually been to an allergist and been TESTED? You speak of your 'theories', that leads me to believe that you have not. If you were truly allergic to 'regular' water, than you should be able to drink a bottle of distilled water with no problems – nothing by H2O.

      You should go get some help for your hypochondria.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
      • R Burns

        Hypochondria is an over-reaction to real or imagined illness. It doesn't involve real, documented episodes of anaphylaxis involving swollen throiat, problems breathing etc. My ER visits for exposures to chemcials in food, water and air average 2-3 times per year, always documenting the episode as all too real. I have respiratory aids at home and a list of criteria given to me to gauge at what point the episode requires immediate medical assistance. It's similar to the reactions people have to peanuts and bee stings, but in my case I have been identified as a rare "environmentally sensitive" individual. Yes, I've been to an allergist. He sent me to a rheumatologist who diagnosed lupus. I also have Crohn's disease and nearly constant bleeding from the gastro tract. This cluster of conditions is sometimes mistaken for hypchondria, by those who do not wish to understand it. I'm calling BS on you!

        September 30, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • j

      1. The water they put into soda is not "ultra purified"
      2. If ultra purified is what you need, they make purified water. You can even buy a filtration system.
      3. If it were the water you were allergic to, wouldn't you also have some side affects from showering and brushing your teeth then rinsing? (Yes.)

      September 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
      • R Burns

        Distilled water and purified water, as well as bottled water, come in plastic containers rendering them unusable for me. I do have problems with showering and brushing teeth, etc-but it passes quickly enough when it's not taken in through the digestive tract. Believe it or not, I'm miserable a majority of the time which most people don't want to hear. I realize there is little sympathy for my situation, but people die every day in ER's from "mysterious" reactions. I could easily be the next one as my reactions include problems with commonly used medical supplies. For instance, EpiPen contains the preservative sodium metabisulfite. It's in many IV and injectable solutions, but is so toxic to people allergic to sufites that it cannot legally be put on produce and salad bars. Go figure! I'll stick with Coke Zero as a beverage as long as it doesn't hurt me and gives me some pleasure.

        September 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  42. D

    My wife also kicked the diet coke addiction by using a Sodastream and she too is a purist, not adding any flavors to her seltzer.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  43. JPT

    My wife drinks Diet Coke like anyone else breaths oxygen. She even signed up for their rewards program and we usually get at least one coupon for a free 12 pack of Coke products every other week. If you look in our fridge we usually have Diet Coke, water, milk and beer.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • JPT

      The sad thing is I'm actually drinking a diet coke...which I usually hate.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  44. Gina

    Didn't you just replace one addiction with another?

    September 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  45. In Memory Of Frank Garrett

    Wow. Really? This is such a first world problem to have. Just stop drinking it and start drinking water, problem solved.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Alyssa

      Ah. Well gee, I wish I had considered that solution years ago. How is it possible that such a simple solution escaped my mind? Unless...that particular solution is not simple after all.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
      • In Memory Of Frank Garrett

        It's not? Please explain.

        September 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
      • Jeff S

        Actually it is. You make a conscious decision to drink soda. So make the conscious decision not to drink it.

        September 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
      • Alyssa

        Because it's an addiction. It's like assuming a meth-addict is going to be able to go cold turkey and be successful. It's a lot less an exercise of free will than you would imagine.

        September 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
      • In Memory Of Frank Garrett

        Comparing meth addiction to drinking soda is just ridiculous.

        September 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
      • Alyssa

        Suggesting that a soda addiction is easily abrogated by merely making a conscious decision to stop is equally ridiculous.

        September 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
      • In Memory Of Frank Garrett

        Actually, my point is valid. Your assertion that soda/caffeine withdrawal is in the same league as meth addiction is ludicrous.

        September 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
      • Alyssa

        Actually, your point is invalid. So he easy it is to do that without any supporting information whatsoever? I'm right, you're wrong. So easy to say. Not so easy to prove.

        September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
      • In Memory Of Frank Garrett

        Pretty sure you don't see people in rehab for caffeine addiction or have to detox from it at a hospital.

        September 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
      • j

        Actually, it is an addiction, to the fake sweetener. And yes, people do have similar withdrawal symptoms as when quitting drugs or cigarettes or alcohol (because aspartame and other fake sweeteners are drugs).
        What this should make one realize though, is that if your body goes into withdrawal from not having diet sodas, then there is something seriously wrong with putting that into your body.
        It might not be the easiest thing in the world to do, but it is certainly not that difficult. You just have to make the decision and commit to it – mind over matter, get yourself some willpower.

        September 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • txwtch67

      I'm addicted to Diet Coke, no other diet drink, or sugar free drink. Non diet drinks are too sweet for me. It's Diet Coke that has been my nemesis, since 1985. I worked on my college newspaper that was in the basement of the guys' dorm. I'd work till 4am, and what do you think was the only beverage left in a machine in the basement of a guys' dorm. Yup, Diet Coke. I have gotten as high as 3 literes a day from time to time, but and have gone straight for many months at a stretch. I am definitely addicted. When I stop, I get irritable, my digestion goes to sh*&, headaches, shakes. These are not alleviated when I pop the top off a Diet Dr Pepper or Diet Mountain Dew, it's definitely something in Diet Coke itself. Don't belittle an addiction till you know more about it.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • In Memory Of Frank Garrett

      It's not in the same league as withdrawing from heroin, meth, or coke ect... Sure I'll admit that the sweeteners ARE drugs, and you DO have withdrawal symptoms, to some degree, but nowhere near the same level. It's not that hard to understand really.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  46. JMW

    I'm a diet mt. dew addict – no joke. I've "cut back" to about 3 cans a day, but who am I kidding – that's still way too much.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • shiny

      Me too! I drink lots of tea and use my sodastream to keep of it, but as soon as I run out of teabags or CO2 it's to the grocery for those shiny green two liters, and i can't justify it at all.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  47. Chris

    I only drink the fountain diet coke which has saccharin instead of aspartame. it tastes oh so much better. I cant stand can or bottle diet coke.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • j

      Saccharin is no better than aspartame. Don't fool yourself. Your only safe bet is to cut out soda period.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  48. Sara

    All these beverages and foods with sugars/chemicals are designed to keep you coming back for more. Additives are addictives! Remember that. If you want a healthier option, go with flavored selzer water, not club soda.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  49. Sarge

    Coke, coke, coke...I love Coke...down it goes...into my belly....

    Both my grandpa and my dad worked at Coca-Cola for a combined 88 years, so Coca-Cola has always been a part of my life. Lots of warm memories with cold Coca-Cola at the ready, and years later I find myself hooked on Diet Coke. I guess it's better than heaters or snorting a line, but, an addiction nonetheless. I guess I can relate to the idea of not wanting to be under control of something, which is my #1 reason for wanting to quit.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  50. Trazey

    I like having a glass with a burger once in a blue moon, but what's all the fuss about? LOL it's a fizzy drink with no alcoholic kick, so how great can it be? hahahha I don't think the product itself is addictive, more likely the habit and experience is addictive. It can be quit, never fear.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Alyssa

      I prefer soda to an alcoholic kick. And just because something is not addictive for you, doesn't mean it's not addictive in general.

      September 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
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