Hi. My name is Faith and I am a Diet Coke addict.

Although I stopped drinking it almost two years ago, I was totally hooked for over 25 years. During that time, my habit  fluctuated from 1-2 cans a day to several–sometimes all day long and often well into the evening, but always, always first thing in the morning.

Interestingly enough, my parents played a big role in getting my sister and me hooked on the stuff that became my crack. My sister was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes the same year Diet Coke was introduced. I was 13. In an attempt to compensate us for the elimination of sweets from our household, Diet Coke became a staple. Quite honestly, as a teen and young adult, I rarely recall drinking anything but Diet Coke.

Unfortunately, we weren’t the only kids drinking soda pop nonstop. And, the problem has only gotten worse. Today, the typical American consumes 1.6 cans of soda each day and soda pop accounts for 7% of the calories we consume.

To help motivate you and your family to give up soda pop, here are my Top 8 Reasons to give up Soda Pop (Why 8? Because I have more than 5, but couldn’t come up with 10 without really stretching.):

1. Obesity–Empty calories pack on the pounds. According to a study conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Center, drinking one to two cans of soda a day increases a person’s risk of being overweight by 32.8 percent. Diet soda is worse. Researchers found that those who drank one to two cans of diet soda per day had a 54.5 percent increased risk of being overweight or obese.

2. Your Bones–In the 1950s, children drank 3 cups of milk for every cup of sweet drink. Today that statistic is flipped: children drink 3 cups of sweet drink for every cup of milk. Less milk means less calcium which translates into lower bone density and higher occurrence of osteoporosis. Additionally, a recent study showed that women who drink cola daily have lower bone mineral density–likely because most colas contain phosphoric acid and caffeine which leach calcium from bones.

3. Your Teeth–Acid erodes tooth enamel. Soda pop is acidic. For context, battery acid has a pH value of 1.0 and water a pH value of 7.0. Most soda comes in at about 2.7. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) journal General Dentistry, the erosive potential of colas is 10 times that of fruit juices in just the first three minutes of drinking.

4. Diabetes–Consuming lots of high sugar foods and beverages like soda pop may increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes. According to research from Children’s Hospital Boston, “when sugar enters the bloodstream quickly, the pancreas has to secrete large amounts of insulin for the body to process it. Some scientists believe that the unceasing demands that a soda habit places on the pancreas may ultimately leave it unable to keep up with the body’s need for insulin.”

5. Environment – Soda pop is bad for the environment. Despite recycling programs, most people don’t recycle their bottles and cans. Approximately 50 billion aluminum cans and plastic bottles from soft drinks end up in landfills every year. The containers are also energy-intensive to mine, produce, and recycle.

6. Cancer–According to findings from a 2006 study conducted by Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, people who drank high quantities of fizzy or syrup-based soft drinks two or more times a day had a 90 percent higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those who never drank them.

7. Your Wallet–Based on the average American’s consumption of soda pop, the average American spends almost $500 annually on soda pop (based on $.75/can). Thus a family of 4 could save about $2,000 a year by eliminating soda pop. That’s a nice addition to a vacation or college fund.

8. Your NailsDisclosure: This one is based on my own experience, not any scientific evidence. When I cut out Diet Coke, my fingernails became strong for the first time I can remember. I always had weak fingernails that often broke or peeled. Although I tried lots of remedies, nothing strengthened them. Since giving up pop my nails are incredibly strong and rarely break. I can’t say for sure it’s due to eliminating Diet Coke, but that was the only significant change I made.

It’s been almost two years since I kicked the can and I can honestly say I don’t miss it. In fact, on the few occasions I’ve tried it since then, I haven’t even enjoyed the taste. Quite honestly, it tastes kind of like what I would expect battery acid to taste like! Hopefully at least one of these reasons will resonate with you and you too can kick the can!

Be well!