No matter how happy and healthy the people in the commercials are, it’s no secret that soda is absolutely terrible for you. But then again, what isn’t? Other than, like, kale and baked potatoes? Most Americans would probably continue to drink soda if scientists came out and declared it was acid that literally oozed through your stomach every time you poured it down your throat. But with recent information on the extent of just how unhealthy it is, Americans have begun to wise up a bit.
Sales of soda have dropped nearly 25 percent over the past 20 years, with over two-thirds of Americans saying they actively avoid soda in their diet altogether. But some of us aren’t so strong. We’re stuck in the middle ground where you don’t have enough self-control to go cold-turkey on that sweet carbonated caramel elixir. It’s out of this childish lack of willpower that I’ve come up with a compromise: soda weekends.
Here’s the gist. If you’re willing to cut out any and all soda during the week, you can treat yourself by basically bathing in the soda of your choice on Saturday and/or Sunday. This way you cut down on pointless calories while still indulging. Think of it like a liquid cheat day, or the laziest way possible to slouch toward better health.
Even as we drink less, Americans still drink a hell of a lot of soda: 57 gallons per person per year, or 7,296 fluid ounces of soda per year. This, roughly. A normal-sized bottle Coke these days runs 20 oz; conveniently that amounts to 364.8 bottles per year, very nearly one tall bottle per person per day. We’re fiends, people.
Say a worker who busts her ass on the job drinks four bottles of soda per week — caffeine, sugars, and psychological comfort to push past that debilitating 2 o’clock sleepiness every day. That’s 960 calories per week from soda, and if you’re not drinking diet, something like 50,000 calories per year. But limiting regular Coca-Cola to soda weekends — one on Saturday, another on Sunday — would cut that by half. That’d be only 480 calories from soda per week, and 24,960 soda calories per year. Take those leftover 24,960 empty calories and use them up elsewhere, preferably on nice whiskey or, in a pinch, cheap whiskey.
This is but a small fraction of the over 1 million average calories per year men consume or the 800,000 per year for women, based on the USDA’s most recent 2010 dietary guidelines. It’s also an idiot-proof way to cut back on the way to cutting out soda for good, if you’re really aiming to try such an unpleasant stunt.