A week without Coca-Cola

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I’ve always been one of those annoying people that once he decides to, can just stop doing something. I decided last week (Friday) to stop drinking Coca-Cola and a week later, I haven’t touched a drop.

To give some background, since Suzie was born I have had trouble sleeping, big trouble. I’d lay in bed for hours just trying to get to sleep, then any time she even stirred, I would be awake, and it would take me hours to get back to sleep, before either one of our cats or my wife would wake me up again, giving me another couple of hours awake. It’s driven me crazy, and it’s really affected how I feel and how I work from day to day.

I’ve also had a major stomach issue, something that I didn’t have in the UK, and something that really caused me a lot of pain. I would eat something, and immediately I would need to go to the bathroom. I’d have horrible pain while I did as my entire body heaved, and sometimes it was at a level of pain and heaving where I felt as if I was going to vomit also. It wasn’t really possible to nail down what type of food caused it, because I had no issue with Milk, and certain things which I should if I was Lactose Intolerant. The only common thing was that if the food was crap, then that’s what it made me do… Crap. So I just tried to avoid processed or preserved food.

While both of these things couldn’t be attributed to my Coke intake directly, I did suspect that the caffeine was responsible for the sleeping problems. And while ‘not touching a drop’ isn’t the goal, not using Coke as my primary method of liquid intake most certainly is, and I have noticed a few things during the last week…

The headaches were pretty bad, but they only lasted a couple of days. I think this is common when withdrawing from a high level of regular caffeine. I don’t get headaches very often (and didn’t with Coke either), so I knew what caused them.

Water doesn’t taste bad anymore. It took about 3 days for my sense of taste to accept the lack of sugar.

I’ve not had a crash in the middle of the day. Whether it was some kind of sugar crash, or because I hadn’t slept well the night before, I always used to get really tired at around 2pm. After Saturday, I haven’t felt that once.

I have been tired at the right time. I used to feel tired from 2pm to 8pm, then feel awake again by the time I should be going to bed. Almost immediately this stopped, and I now feel tired when I actually go to bed.

I fall asleep quicker. I haven’t been laid in bed for hours, trying to go to sleep. Probably because I am tired at the right time (see above). I don’t remember the exercise of ‘going to sleep’ from the night before when I wake up, either.

I’ve slept more soundly. I have had at least three good nights sleep this week, compared with maybe the same amount in the last six months.

No stomach problems. While it’s difficult to say if this can be attributed to this change, I would have had it at least once in a normal week… Fingers crossed.

While my caffeine intake rose sharply the instant I moved to the USA, so did my intake of sugar, so I am not really sure which of those will have affected me the most. So far, the benefits of removing both seem huge. And while it’s difficult to pin down exactly what caused which benefit, I am fairly certain that my sleeping problems can be attributed to either the sugar or the caffeine.

2 thoughts on “A week without Coca-Cola

  1. Interesting reading this, are you still on a non coke diet?

    I’m unfortunately in a similar situation but Redbull being the culprit and all of the things you mention ring true. (I guess the joys of online work rather than out there physical).

    I also need to stop, hell its 4am I was having a “early night” but just did not feel like sleeping. I think I may document the first week of dropping it also to see how I feel on a day to day basis and be good to look back on.

  2. I am, yep. I haven’t had any stomach cramping or anything since, no matter what I have eaten. It’s crazy really, I assume I am maybe allergic to something in it and that affects me based on what I eat. Since giving up the coke (tea, coffee, water all I drink now) I am actually sleeping better, waking better, and able to eat anything without significant side effects.

    You should document it. I am blown away by how much this accepted product was affecting my life. I often dreaded eating when at a friends, and there was a couple of times I almost didn’t make it home. When my wife and I were first appartment hunting she literally had to stop the car outside a pub so I could run in to use the bathroom. Embarassing… lol

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Tim is British and lives in the United States with his wife and kids.

He works for software developers Image Space Inc. and Studio 397 on their racing simulations, and is a fan of Gaming, Motorsports, and photography.