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The Sugar Addiction in America
More and more kids are addicted to larger and larger amounts of sugar. The number of kids addicted to sugar is quite alarming. One of the biggest violators of our kids consuming large amounts of sugar is soda. It’s one of the hardest things to cut out because our brain loves sugar. Each sip of soda releases large amounts of dopamine in our brain and our kids are consuming this beverage in larger servings. So the question becomes how to stop drinking soda? How do you, as a parent, combat this sugary drink? How can you get your kid to give up soda?
So the question becomes how to get your kid to stop drinking soda? How do you, as a parent, combat this sugary drink? How can you get your kid to give up soda?
We all know that large amounts of sugar is terrible for your health. It can lead to so many health issues down the road. It is said that sugar is just as addicting as heroin, so it is highly urgent that we combat this. Here are some tips that we have for you to help you and your kids get off of soda using neuroscience.
How Habits Work
Before we can go into the tips, we need to understand how habits work or else the tips won’t make much sense.
Our brain is mysterious in how it works, however, just recently neuroscientists have figured out that our brain responds to triggers in our environment. When a trigger event happens, our brain goes into this loop where we will perform a certain action. This is how habits are created and the whole point of this post is on how to break the soda habit. So it pays to know how the brain works.
Here is a quick rundown of the cycle of a habit:
- Trigger Event – This is an event that “reminds” your brain to activate the next stage, the “action”, to get to the reward the brain wants in the end
- Action – Your brain will literally order you to perform some action in order to get the reward
- Reward – This is where the brain gets the reward it wanted so badly
Now that we know how habits work, let’s get into the tips…
How to Stop Drinking Soda Using Neuroscience
1. Keep a Water Bottle Handy
By keeping a water bottle handy, you can change your “trigger event”. The hard part is that you need to make drinking water rewarding. The brain moves towards rewards and sugar is one of the most rewarding things, so breaking that habit can be tough.
We recommend making tea with a little bit of sweetener in it. Truvia is a generally safe sweetener that you can use and put into tea. Generally, the night before, you can brew up some tea, put in Truvia, pour it into the water bottle for consumption the next day.
2. Use Social Peer Pressure
The main goal is to make the appeal of soda less. One way to do this is to use social peer pressure to lower your cravings. For example, you can give permission to your friends to “shame” you whenever you drink soda. This social pain will destroy the reward of drinking soda.
When you decrease the perceived reward of soda, your brain will want less and less of it.
On the flip side, whenever you drink something healthy, such as water, your friends will praise you. When you drink something healthy and get praise for it, you will feel good about drinking healthy and your brain will want more of that healthy drink.
So by using social pain in a smart way, we can break the perceived value of drinking soda.
3. Punish Soda, Reward Water
Whenever your kids drink soda, punish them for it. Now, you don’t need to go overboard with this, simply need to make it undesirable to drink soda. For example, you can take away electronics for an hour whenever they drink soda.
Again, you want to destroy the “reward” of drinking soda. By punishing them for drinking soda, the “reward” to drink soda decreases and your brain will crave less of it.
As stated above, you want to reinforce healthy habits. So if your kids opt for water instead, make sure to reward them. In the beginning, we actually recommend to heavily reward them to break the cycle of wanting soda. Remember, you’re going against sugar, one of the most addicting substances, so you want to make sure that the rewards are worth it, especially in the beginning, or else it will not be sustainable.
Habits are hard to break and breaking the habit of sugar is one of the hardest habits to break. There are many reasons for that, however, we won’t get into that. All that you need to know is that you can use neuroscience to your advantage to “trick” your brain into not wanting soda.
If you are really having trouble with your sugar addictions, feel free to reach out to us! We are more than happy to help you and give you personalized suggestions on how to get un-addicted!