I’m as much a fan of the freaky tabloid story as the next guy. But even Mr. Bad Food – a guy who spent 11 years writing about freaky guys and gals while working for a tabloid – refuses to swallow every story that makes print.
Case in point: The British woman who says Diet Coke has made her broke.
Mom-of-five Jakki Ballan claims to be a Diet Coke addict. She says she has spent more than $150,000 guzzling up to 10 big bottles of the calorie-free soft drink every day.
"This addiction is taking over my life,” said Jakki, 42. “I can't even go out of the house without making sure I've got enough Coke on me.
"I won't do the school run unless I have at least two 500ml bottles in my handbag."
There are enough real addictions in the world to worry about. An addiction to Diet Coke doesn’t hold a fizz to me.
Now, if this story maintained Jakki was addicted to caffeine – well, then maybe I could believe that. Upon further review, that could possibly be the case here.
"I am constantly tired, but all the caffeine I consume means I have trouble sleeping,” Jakki said. "So I end up sitting awake at night and drinking even more Coke. It's a vicious cycle I can't seem to get out of."
Jakki, who said she picked up her habit at age 14, scoffs at those who suggest she simply stop the pop.
"If I could stop I would have already,” she said. “Alcoholics get help, people addicted to cigarettes get patches and drug addicts get weaned off slowly. This is a real addiction but no one will help me.”
The smart folks at WebMD.com say there is no such thing as a soda addiction. However, they will admit that some folks can be victimized by a craving for their beloved soft drinks.
"People have an affinity for certain foods, and they develop food habits, but that's not the same thing as an addiction," Liz Marr, MS, RD, told WebMD.com.
So how can Jakki and other soda lovers wean themselves?
CNN.com came up with five ways.
Hydrate with water. Reach for a glass of water when the urge for soda strikes. While both beverages help us to feel temporarily full, water won't leave you feeling deflated like the letdown after a caffeine high.
Seek support. Soda is often consumed in large amounts in social situations, whether at the movies or dining in groups. Enlisting friends, significant others, and relatives to help you rid yourself of your habit will help keep you accountable and on track.
Choose a healthier caffeinated beverage. Antioxidant-rich green tea is an excellent alternative to soda and has been shown to offer a number of overall health benefits. Studies have shown green tea may protect skin from sun damage, stabilize blood sugar levels and decrease the risk for certain types of cancer.
Stay occupied. As with many of the things we do with repetition, they often become habits due to boredom.
Isolate yourself from the source of your “addiction.” You're much more likely to cave to the temptation of popping the tab on a cold can of soda if one is within easy reach.
Okay, Jakki… can you kick the can?
Mr. Bad Food has made it his mission to seek out the worst of the worst foods so others can lead a healthier lifestyle. His new columns only appear here at eDiets!