Diet Coke addiction: My struggle

I felt awkward typing the title of this post. Could I really be addicted to Diet Coke?

As a person who has seen real, life-and-death addiction to drugs and alcohol, I don’t want to trivialize the word addiction by placing it next to my soda-habit. I will say, however, that I do have a problem with my beloved Diet Coke.

A big problem.

Diet Coke addiction: My struggle

You see, I wake up craving Diet Coke. I want a Diet Coke with every snack and every meal. I’ve even gotten up in the middle of the night for a cold can of Diet Coke!

As a woman with few vices, I always felt that my affection for diet soda was completely harmless and it was easy for me to dismiss the articles pointing out the many negative effects of the artificial sweetener, aspartame.

I mean, it’s just pop. Right? I can’t possibly have a Diet Coke addiction.

I started drinking Diet Coke when I was about 25-years-old. I actually despised the taste for weeks, but forced myself into making the switch because I didn’t want to keep drinking all of the sugar and calories in regular Coca-Cola.

How can something that you HATE the taste of at first turn into something that you crave from morning until night?

Breaking the Diet Coke addiction

I made the decision recently to try and break my Diet Coke addiction completely. The main reason, aside from knowing it’s bad for my body, is the fact that I seem to be unable to lose weight and I suspect the Diet Coke has something to do with that.

I went cold turkey, and for about four days suffered horrible headaches. I have still been drinking about one cup of coffee a day, so, I’m not depriving myself of caffeine completely, but it’s till a shock to the system.

After a week, I still crave Diet Coke. Food doesn’t taste as good to me and I find that I don’t look forward to meals as much because I don’t get the same satisfaction when eating as I do when I have the burn of an ice cold can of Diet Coke to chase every bite.

How awful does that sound? It’s true.

I’m also not craving sweets as much as I was, though, so that’s a good sign.

So far so good, even though I still really, really, really want a Diet Coke pretty much all day every day. Hopefully that urge fades as time passes.

Do any of you suffer from a Diet Coke addiction or an addiction to another diet soda? I’d love to know if you share any of my experiences!

If you enjoyed this post, please follow me on Instagram and don't forget to say hello! You can also tag your recipes and crafts with #DearCrissy. I'd love to see how you've been inspired! 💗

Dear Crissy participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Click here to view our complete terms of use, disclosure policies and privacy policy. Thanks! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

33 comments

  1. I have an addiction to Diet Coke as well. I want it with every snack and even in the middle of the night. I will even drink a few crisp sips then go back to sleep. My husband is a physician and has a hate for Diet Coke. He is always telling me how. As it is for me. I had breast cancer 4 years ago and he is afraid I will get it again. 
    How did you quit ? 
    Jody M

  2. Thank you for bringing this topic up! My hubby of nearly 40 years cannot get off Coca-Cola! He’s been off everything else bad for the human body except the Coke. We’ve argued, he’s tried, I mean…he’s a cancer survivor and liver transplant recipient but cannot get off the Cola. He is cutting down, I’ve noticed but can’t get off completely. He pops his first one when he wakes up and uually has a can sitting near him much of the day. Our son comments “he’s drinking cancer in a can”, trying to guilt him into giving it up, no luck yet, but as I said, he is working on it Good luck!

  3. OMG I feel your pain….its diet pepsi for me. I know how horrible it is for you but I still drink it :(

  4. Yup, just replace diet coke, for diet pepsi, and you could be talking about me, everything except the trying to quit, I have been meaning to quit drinking it, but I want to wait until after the holidays.
    Good Luck, and big hugs to you.

  5. I could be the author of this article! I was SO SDDICTED to Diet Coke, I would even call restaurants in advance to make sure they had it (no Pepsi for me!) I quit cold turkey about 6 weeks ago, and I still think of cheating EVERY SINGLE DAY. In fact, last night I had a dream I slurped one down in 5 seconds flat! I wish I could tell you it gets easier…I sure hope it does for me!

  6. Wow, after reading some of these comments, I guess the amount of DC I drink a day really is a lot because I’m at 6-8 cans daily. My story is similar to yours…made the switch from regular to diet in hopes to lose some baby weight. I now despise the taste of non-diet sodas. I like the carbonation and the aspartame taste. I don’t really have an addictive personality either, but I am most definitely addicted to DC. I do eat sweets pretty much every day–usually multiple times a day. I hate water, like very sweet tea, juices and very sweet Kool-Aid but don’t care for them with food. However, after just having a thorough check up, it appears I am the epitome of perfect health according to my doctor. Maybe it’ll hit me later down the road…I’m at 10.5 years of DC consumption now.

  7. Dear Crissy,
    Sugar and artificial sweeteners are bad for you, we all know this and drink them anyway. I do the same thing, My husband and I have grey hair we know better but instead of soda we drink Kool-Aid for a sweet drink. If you do the grocery shopping in your home the best thing you can do is fight that moment when you want to put it in your basket at the store. Pass that isle all together. Tell yourself you are setting a good example for your children. Be patient with yourself and it will happen for you day by day you will forget about the “addiction” and be stronger for it. If you stray from the path it happens from time to time just get back on and begin again. The key is to always move forward and love yourself. It’s obvious you do because you want to change. That’s the biggest hurdle! Good luck, I’m rooting for you!
    Say these words to yourself when you feel weak for your “addiction”.
    I now discover how wonderful I am. I choose to love and enjoy myself.
    *From the book Heal Your Body written by Louise Hay*

    Love and Peace to you,
    O.

  8. I actually never realized the problem with diet coke until recently. My dad was a type one diabetic so I just grew up with only diet coke in the house. I mean I literally went from my Capri-sun lunch pack juices straight into diet coke by age 5. And I am now nearly 20 years old,despise water or any other drinks and consume about a 12 pack of diet coke A DAY. It’s not even just having one when I eat, from the time I wake up as soon as I finish one I automatically go and open another, even if I’m not even thirsty. I will ALWAYS have one at all times. My friends got most concerned when at spring break When everyone else was having orange juice and vodka, I was having diet coke mixed with rum, which I agree is a tad ridiculous. I’ve tried kicking the habit many times and it’ has just been caffeine headache cranky misery. I’ve went as far as putting them in a hot room and if I needed it that bad I would have to drink it hot, and even that didn’t help. I’m in the process of starting a “natural” diet, so hopefully it will help.

  9. I had drank diet colas and mostly diet coke since I was 15. I started having horrible migraines when I was 26. Up to that time it was just headaches. I went to see a Acupuncturist, who kept telling me to drink at least 3 glasses of water when I felt a migraine coming on. I started drinking water, but realized leaving my diet coke was not so easy, I swear I craved it! For three years I remained migraine free and drank water. I moved and in my area I did not really trust the water and would forget to pick up gallons of distilled at the store, I am back drinking diet coke. When I seen your article, it reminded me that I am addicted to it once again! Diet pepsi did not work for me, it had to be diet coke. However, my doctor told me that drinking water all the time depletes my body (rinsing it per say) of all minerals that it needs – Good luck because I know it is a hard habit to break! Lol – Mary

  10. You can do it- go cold turkey for at least a month….your taste buds will adjust.

    Then, just treat yourself to a diet coke like 3x a week, as a “treat”..or just avoid it in general. I’m doing maybe 3x a week now instead of 1x a day. Maybe you need some carbonated water with a lemon…something with that kind of bubble you might be missing. Make it really cold.
    I like the can of coke because it’s so portable to bring in the car for my caffeine need, and it’s not as easy to grab something else so quickly when in a rush. Darn.

    Good luck

  11. My stepmom has a DC addiction. She has three for breakfast, instead of coffee. She’s one of the healthiest, fittest people I know, but her diet coke intake makes me cringe!

  12. It’s great you’re trying to break the habit/addiction! I never took to soda, first time I tried it when we came to the U.S. I kind of liked Sprite, but Coke made me gag, literally. Then I gradually stopped drinking any soda altogether, I guess it wasn’t hard because it was never a daily habit. BUT I was addicted to coffee through college, it was horrible, I couldn’t stay up without my cup. So my senior year I decided to quit, I just didn’t like how it was controlling me. First two weeks were brutal, but I never went back and feel so much better! No migraines and I love the freedom of being able to stay up without it lol Wishing you the best on your quest!

  13. Mine was Diet Pepsi, before that, just plain old Pepsi. I had switched to Pepsi One due to the fact that it was sweetened with Splenda and not Aspertame but it was still a diet drink. About a year ago I decided to get off of it altogether. I started by reducing my daily intake and added more fresh, cold water, found out I was really thirsty… who knew??? I had been drinking soda at dinner and switched to milk. I don’t like skim but 2% was fine. Now I drink water, tea and coffee. I have been using either stevia or monkfruit as a sweetener and it’s worked out fine. I also make a nice tall glass of lemonade a couple of times a week just for the cold jolt. It is easy to get hooked on anything and usually you don’t realized you are. Soda is the same as anything else. It sure makes one realized how easy it is to become an addict to anything. Good luck. on your quest to kick the habit. I’m sure you will and after a while you’ll find if you drink it again it just doesn’t taste good at all.

  14. “to try and break my Diet Coke addiction completely.” …. Firstly, you need to delete the words “try” and “completely” those words lack determination. You can substitute I will break my Diet Coke addiction! I found this info from Dr. Oz very helpful and avoid all artificial sweetners. http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/new-dangers-artificial-sweeteners I hope you find it helpful! Good luck!!

  15. I could’ve written these very words myself.

    I’m living proof that giving up soda – even DIET soda – and replacing it with water and iced tea is one of the very best ways to kick-start weight loss. But man, I do know how hard it is. I started my detox by forcing myself to have only one can of diet coke a day. It was easier than giving it up cold turkey, as you experienced. Over time I found that I was drinking more water and then believe it or not, I was actually CRAVING water. I still want something other than water with my meals, and I’ve found iced tea to be a good fit for me.

  16. I have gone cold turkey from soft drinks for a month. I just recently tasted a Coke and it didn’t taste very good to me. I’ve tried to drink coffee and take caffeine pills to offset the headaches. I agree meals are not as good as they used to be. You would think I would lose some weight too but that didn’t happen either.

  17. Here’s an article about how bad it is for you – http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2012/07/31/do-you-have-a-dirty-little-dietary-secret-and-is-it-called-diet-coke/

    I still like to drink it though. Try saving it for a once a week treat.

  18. I used to love diet pepsi. When I taught school I had one every day with lunch. One year for lent I gave it up. I craved it for about 2 weeks and then I was fine. I dropped 2 pant sizes.

  19. Keep it up! I too, was a Diet Coke addict.
    It was on Christmas 2012 that I had my last Diet Coke. It was giving me so many stomach issues. I also was having an issue dropping weight. Now I’ve been clean and sober of the DC since then, and still am having problems dropping weight. So many people said it would automatically take 5 pounds off if you stop – that wasn’t true for me.
    But I do notice I sleep better at night and do have more energy. I do have Starbucks about once-a-week – but that’s about it for caffeine.
    Good luck – it’s a tough habit to break!

  20. I HAVE BEEN A DIET COKE DRINKER SINCE 1991 BEFORE THAT I DRANK COKES. MY FRIENDS AND HUSBAND TOLD ME FOR YEARS TO STOP DRINKING DIET COKES. I DID NOT LISTEN AND KEPT
    RIGHT ON I BET I WAS UP TO 8 CANS A DAY SOMETIMES EVEN MORE. I THOUGHT I COULD NOT LIVE WITH OUT DIET COKES ( ZERO) . ON NOVEMBER 4TH/ 2013 SOME THING TOLD ME TO STOP.. FOR YEARS I HURT ALL OVER HAD SO MANY PAINS IT WAS HARD TO SLEEP AT NIGHT ( IF I DID ) I THOUGHT I MIGHT EVEN HAVE CANCER AT ONE TIME THE PAINS WERE SO BAD. ON THE 4TH/ I QUIT COLD TURKEY AND ON THE TRIRD DAY MY HEADACE WAS SO BAD I THOUGHT I WOULD DIE. BUT I DIDN’T I LIVED ON AND EACH DAY GOT BETTER AND BETTER. SO I WAS PAIN FREE AND WAS SLEEPING LIKE A BABY AND HAVE LOST A LITTLE WEIGHT . BUT TO BE PAIN FREE WAS A WONDERFUL BLESSING FROM GOD .. I AM STILL A NON DIET COKE DRINKER AND WILL REMAIN THAT WAY WITH HE HELP OF GOD TO REMIND ME OF MY PAINS IN THE PAST. SO I SAY WITH KIND WORDS TO OTHERS PLEASE LAY THEM DOWN AND LEARN TO DRINK WATER . I DRINK PROPELL WATER AND LOVE IT . AND I FEEL LIKE A NEW PERSON EVERYDAY……AND IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO POST THIS IT WILL BE FINE WITH ME IF IT WILL HELP EVEN ONE PERSON TO STOP DRINKING DIET DRINKS. MARGARET ELL’ MCDANIEL SHREVEPORT,LA 71118 I CAN BE REACHED AT ellnmc@hotmail.com THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU ………….

  21. Yes. I have the same addiction to Diet Coke. I have several blog articles and a Diet Coke Pinterest board too. I crave it non stop too. I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night and had a Diet Coke too. I’m just glad to hear I’m not the only one who had the addiction.

  22. I am NOT a diet soda fan (the taste is just a tad “off” for me) but I used to have a real issue with iced tea. Like I would drink it CONSTANTLY (sweetened, unsweetened, artificially sweetened, it didn’t matter). For some reason, I just stopped, and it wasn’t too hard.

    HOWEVER, I do have a problem with artificial sweeteners. I drink coffee every morning (just one cup…and I have tried to NOT drink it, but the HEADACHES!!!) with Splenda. Here’s my dilemma — I have to have it a little sweet (I’m not huge on “sweet”) and I keep getting bombarded with how bad sugar is for me, so I automatically opt for Splenda in everything. And I can’t stop. If I get iced tea on the rare occasions we go out to eat, I add Splenda. If I get coffee ever, it’s with Splenda. If I have any kind of specialty coffee drink, it’s with Splenda…my biggest issue is, I don’t want to switch to sugar, but there’s really no “cutting back” on artificial sweetener, because if you have ANY, it makes you crave more. So I suppose my only solution is to cut out both. But I really, really do not like the taste of coffee or iced tea (among other things) without a touch of sweetener or sugar.

    I know that neither are doing me any favors and that the only real way to good health and to lose those extra pounds is to cut sugar AND sweeteners…but it’s SO hard! Ugh.

  23. Me!!!!! But mine is Diet Pepsi. I don’t drink anything else, like ever. (Well very rarely I will have iced tea, VERY rarely). I don’t think I could give it up without hurting someone. :) Anytime my hubby says something about it being bad for me I tell him when he quits smoking then I will quit drinking it. So far he is still smoking………… I don’t know what I would do if he did quit (of course I do wish he would just to make it clear).

    So no, you are NOT alone!!!!!

    :)

  24. We stopped drinking soda in our family a long time ago, if kids do want any kind of pop it would be plain sprinkled water mixed with Juice and that is not every day.
    I read enough how bad diet coke vs regular soda and just knowing the fact and caring about my health is enough for me to say NO!

    Here is one of the facts that i hope will alarm those who can’t stop drinking diet soda. (unless of course you don’t care what you put in your body and your Health!) 2.8 PH Soda is way over 10,000 times more acidic than distilled water, It takes 32 glasses of water at 7.0 to neutralize one glass of Diet Coke! Our bodies leach calcium right out right out of our bones and teeth when we drink diet soda, that is why in America a lot of people have osteoporosis!

  25. I am so with you on this. I was a steady diet coke drinker from the age of 20-22, then I switched to regular after reading how bad the aspartame is for you. This caused weight gain, of course, so I switched BACK to diet from 25-28. At 29 I really wanted to kick the habit. I knew it was bad for me, I heard things online or from friends that were always terrible: it causes you to gain more weight because it’s sweet and you crave sweet things, it can cause cancer, it causes lupus (a friend who got lupus swears it’s from her lifelong addiction to diet coke, who knows if that’s true or not though), bloating, the sodium is bad for your blood sugar, carbonation causes bone density loss and osteoporosis later in life, etc. etc. the list of BADS goes forever. So I kicked it. It was really hard. I switched to iced tea. At first iced tea with sugar (I have never been a sweet tea person, so just a little sugar goes a long way for me). I missed the bubbles the most. I missed that weird aspartame aftertaste. I tried iced tea with aspartame sweetener. That was just weird, and still, no bubbles. I found sparkling water was my favorite switcher. I would buy flats of it from costco or bunches of bottles of crystal geyser’s when they were on sale at the grocery store. Sparkling water became my new favorite thing (it still is today). The headaches were the worst part of any of it. But eventually, I stopped Diet Coke.

    For years, I had kicked it. Every now and then I’d allow myself a regular soda as a treat if I was out with friends, etc. I never wanted more because I was so used to not drinking soda that those were often “too sweet” or “too much.”

    AND THEN I started dating my current boyfriend. And oh maaan, was he a bad soda influence! He’s addicted to regular dr. pepper. And he wants to kick it. But for 2 years now, I’ve been back on the Diet Coke train. It started because he would buy soda and just the IDEA of all those bubbles and sweet delicious pop cans in the fridge. I couldn’t help it, I had to start getting Diet Coke. And now I’m back hopelessly hooked on it. I buy them at work, I drink them all day at home…All my hard work kicking it has vanished. I never make iced tea anymore. I haven’t bought sparkling waters in ages.

    The power of a can of soda pop is incredible. What kind of sorcery did they PUT into these silver cans!?

  26. I also am a diet coke addict. I have sd it for years. It is so so bad for us. I even received an email from a friend who read an article about ppl being misdiagnosed with muscular distrophy! One lady was in a wheel chair and stopped diet coke for like a week and was walking again! I still drink at least 2 per day! My chiropractor once told me the aspartame builds up in ur muscles causing inflammation and makes u feel tired and sore. And it is true, it does cause u crave sweets! Good luck with the staying “clean”. :)

  27. They say it takes 20 days to break a habit. ..So, You are on your way! In order to break a bad habit you need to replace it with a good habit. I think it will only be a matter of time before you will never want to drink one again. Good Luck!

  28. Hi, my name is Heather, and I’m a Diet Coke-aholic. :\

    It’s been about 6 weeks since my last drink of it. My husband and I were both drinking it. We would start with coffee in the mornings and then switch to Diet Coke with lunch and continue to drink it until bedtime, sometimes even taking a fresh can to bed at night. If we were taking an hour or more road trip, we packed a cooler, or planned where we would stop along the way to get a cold one. We shop for groceries every 2 weeks, and 3 cases of cans each trip was not unusual for us.

    We’ve made a lot of changes in our health and overall wellness the last couple of years, but I would (like you) justify to myself that it wasn’t really that bad for me, in spite of all the little ailments I suffered and couldn’t seem to get rid of (skin issues, couldn’t lose weight, my hair was lifeless, etc.) no matter what I tried.

    So, we talked it out one night, and decided we needed to “cut back.” We each switched to just one or two a day, saving it for dinner (because you’re right, the food just seemed to taste differently). We dramatically upped our water intake in the process (and some iced tea), and before long I was noticing that I’d “forgotten” to grab my dinner soda. And when I did grab it, I wasn’t enjoying it as much. By the end of 2 weeks of this approach, I didn’t even want it anymore. My food tasted BETTER and the soda just tasted like a can full of chemicals.

    I don’t even miss it now.

    I’ve never been a cold turkey kind of person, and I know for a true addiction like alcoholism, weaning yourself off isn’t the right approach, but in my case, with Diet Coke, it worked very well. Once my body and my taste buds adjusted, it was easy to tell what I really wanted.

    Sorry to ramble! Best of luck to you on this huge step you’re taking toward your wellness!

  29. I was also a coke drinker who switched in my late 20’s? early 30’s? to diet coke for the same reasons–to cut the sugar and calories. I also hated Diet Coke at first, but after a while, regular coke was too sweet. I never thought of it as “addiction,” but I drank Diet Coke daily for the next 10 or so years. Then–long story how it happened—I decided to “clean” my diet. Among many other things, the Diet Coke had to go.
    I forced myself to drink iced tea (homemade only!) or lemon water. Now that I have become used to eating mostly whole foods cooked at home with no cans or boxes, I find Diet Coke–all sodas–way too sweet (this from someone with a serious sweet tooth) and almost all restaurant foods too salty. Good luck!

  30. I was that way with Diet Dr Pepper and when they came out with the Cherry Vanilla version I was totally hooked. I hate to say it but over a weekend if I was home it was nothing for a new 12 pk to disapear. I found a flavored carbonated water that has no calories, no sodium pretty much no nothing. I started drinking that and cut down on the number of 12pks I bought. Now I rarely buy any soda at all. It took about 3 months before I could really say I did not want one. Now if I do have one it just tastes so bad I rarely finish it.

  31. I am thisclose to be a diet coke/diet pepsi addict. I feel like I can’t function or wake up fully unless I’ve had my diet caffeine fix. The funny thing is that I wasn’t really a big soda drinker until my late 30s. I used to work in an office that had free tea, coffee, and soda in the break room. I only drank tea or Snapple through out the day, and soda only if I was eating a fast food restaurant. When I became a mom and went back to work, I would drink 3-4 cans a diet coke a day to stay awake. Most days, I drink 2 twenty ounce bottles. At this point in my life, I have very few pleasures so I haven’t made a big effort to give it up although I have cut back. Good luck!

  32. My husband has been trying for 23 years to get me to quit Diet Dr. Pepper now its Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper. I’ve cut down to 1 glass a day. There are even days that I don’t have any at all. It’s now more of a treat so I opt for it verses a cupcake or something. Stay strong. It is a super hard addiction to break. I’m still a work in progress.

  33. One of the reasons that inspired me to become a Registered Dietician was to help people cut their seemingly harmless food habits and teach them how much better they’ll feel without them overtime.

    My entire extended family drinks diet soda. I’ve tried again and again to convince them that if they’re going to drink soda, regular will be better for them for the many reasons that aspartme found in Diet sodas can cause addiction, weight gain, and over time liver problems. But they are addicted to the stuff!

    I know how hard it can be to kick a bad habit. When I decided to lose my baby weight last year, the first thing I worked on was my soda drinking problem. I would drink about 2 cans of regular soda a DAY. I started cutting back slowly. Trust me, cutting back cold turkey is difficult at first and then you are going to eventually having a craving SO BAD you’re going to binge!

    I started off with one can a day for a week, the next week I drank one can every other day, and then slowly cut back after that and I was officially off of the soda for a month and that month turned into a year! I was able to lose 20lbs last year just by making small lifestyle changes that will add up overtime.

    One thing I will recommend is that you try and reach your daily goal of water each day. Take your weight and divide it by 2 and that’s how many ounces of water you should drink each day for normal body functions. Once you reach your water goal for the day, I bet you won’t want to drink the diet Coke because you will be really content.

    Also, don’t beat yourself up! At least you’re admitting that your diet Coke intake is becoming a problem and you’re recognizing that you need to make a change. Start off slow. Slow and steady wins the race! You can totally do it.

Leave a Comment »