Last summer, I wrote an article about “Divide & Conquer: Small Changes Add Up” where I described how changing your body didn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. If you “divide” by prioritizing which of your habits you need to change the most, then “conquer” by making the changes over time, you can make MASSIVE changes in how you look and feel.
I wanted to further explore this concept of how making a very small change can have a HUGE impact on your health. I know firsthand that the prospect of “improving health” or “losing fat” can seem daunting because there is so much to think about and consider. Instead of worrying about the totality of the task, splitting the task up into actionable goals will make the process much more manageable.
For example, if you drink just 1 can of coke per day, eliminating that coke from your diet leads to a significant change over time.
Here are the stats:
1 Can of Coke/Day:
Calories = 140
Grams of Sugar = 39
Teaspoons of Sugar = 10 (4g of sugar in 1 teaspoon)
1 Can of Coke/Day For A Month (30 Cans):
Calories = 4,200 (1.2lb of fat – 1lb of fat is approx. 3500 calories)
Grams of Sugar = 1,1170
Teaspoons of Sugar = 292
…Which equals more than half of a 5lb bag of sugar:
1 Can of Coke/Day For A Year Stats (360 Cans)
Calories = 50,400 (14.4lb of fat)
Grams of Sugar = 14,400
Teaspoons of Sugar = 3,510
(Should have used 365 cans, but made the calculations easier for the video)
…Which equals 30lb+ of sugar (6 5lb bags)!
…Which equals (assuming you don’t burn it off) 14.4lb of Fat!
I hope this was a helpful visual for you to see how making just a small change in your diet can over time lead to a HUGE difference. I chose a can of coke because I think sugary drinks are particularly egregious. If you’re flooding your body with sugar, it may lead to cascading health and weight problems beyond the excess calories alone.
For more information on sugar, check out Are You Eating Too Much Sugar?
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment!
Hello Marc. I like your video on Coke and other sugary type drinks. In what I could gather from your video, some people who work such as a full time job are just as bad on exercise, workout, or on the job motion activity as introverts, or people who spend much time sitting around the house and watching tv, surfing the web, or playing video music and games. I have found that being sedative I eat more vegetables, fruits, and carbohydrates and sugar free products. When I tend to eat more other foods that ate fattening, I head for the cardiovascular moves. I have found that the sugar in such as Coke–when I need more–and such as Gatorade–when I need less is what I use to put my feet in long distance motion to burn the excess calories. I manage to keep a path of long distance walking so that I can advane briskly. Heavy sugar like pies and cake, I think, will help us sit down and gain weight. So the sugar in fruit is probably good for light paste. Thank you for posting.
That is a very helpful visual that will stick in my mind next time I’m about to order a drink. Thanks for the help Marc!
Your teeth will also thank you for kicking the soda habit!
As a kid I drank far too much Pepsi. Drank that stuff like water. And while I had clean teeth (good brushing habits), every dentist visit seemed to show a new cavity rearing its head. When my dentist finally spoke up about the possibility of sugary drinks being the cause, I was all, “Oh yes, um, that may be exactly it.” Was also about 14/15 at the time too so as a kid, giving up your favorite drink can be hard. Years later it’s been totally worth it.
Also had a friend in college OBSESSED with Coke. Finally stopped drinking it 100%. That’s all he did. It made a remarkable difference in his weight the next school year. This is, in the scope of things and in my opinion, one of the easiest things to kick from your diet.
@Jessica – Thanks for sharing. I totally agree there are a log of serious issues with drinking coke aside from just the excess sugar/calorie intake. Also agree drinking coke, or other sugary drinks is a great habit to break.
I’ve just started getting in shape at the age of 41. First two things I did – started drinking Diet Coke when I felt the need for carbonation and began drinking water when I was thirsty.
It has made a HUGE difference. I also started working out on the way to work (3x cardio, 2x weight machines) and that’s been great too.
So just a note that it’s not as hard as you might think to remove sugary drinks from your diet!
@Patrick Moore – That’s great to hear, Patrick. Thanks for sharing.
I agree with what you say in this video, mostly from personal experience. When I was younger, I was a very fussy vegetarian (in that I didn’t eat meat, most salads, and only ate a few vegetables like potato, sweet potato, and carrot, and also ate lots of junk food). Fortunately, due to a fast metabolism, I did not get overweight. When I was about 17 (~3 years ago), I started to eat anything, and became more conscious about eating rubbish. After gradually starting to eat salads and vegetables, my taste buds grew accustomed to eating them, and I actually like them now! When I look at some of the things that people eat, I almost vomit – I’d take a plain meal with mainly salad/veggies and an appropriate sized piece of meat any day of the week.
Secondly, I used to drink a fairly average amount of soft drink, cordial, milk and also eat lots of ice cream. Over the last few years, with getting into health and fitness, I cut out dairy and now I only (regularly) drink water. I try to drink between 3-4 litres of water a day, and I don’t drink tea or coffee. I feel so much better for it, and as you said in the video, nothing but water will satisfy my thirst now.
I honestly can’t believe what some people put in their body. When I see some of the things I used to eat, I feel sick. How well would you expect your car to run if you put kerosine in the petrol tank?
@Ben – Thanks for sharing Ben. I think your story is very helpful for others who are facing the same challenges you did.
Very helpful visual! Thanks for the video/article. Like with the increase in cigarette taxes…soda should be taxed higher to make consumers drink less.
@Allan – That’s an interesting point. To my knowledge, corn is still heavily subsidized, so maybe instead of creating a tax, another option is to get rid of the subsidies so High Fructose Corn Syrup is not so cheap to produce!
Hello…I like the way you explain why coke is so bad for anybody. Do you have any information about coffee,does it have a bad
effect as well?
@Maggie – I have to do a post on coffee for sure. From what I’ve read (and I’ve read a lot), 1-2 cups of coffee will not have any serious health effects in a given day. Much more than that though and the caffeine can become problematic and substantially effect the quality of your sleep. If you do have coffee, definitely don’t have it anywhere near bedtime (give yourself 5-7 hours). There are some interesting facts about this that I hope to talk about in a separate post.
Great visual, buddy, but why did you not touch on Diet Sodas in the video. Is this not a good substitution? 0 calories! ? … if the problem is that serious with people not wanting to give up regular sodas and drink a diet soda occasionally, that’s pretty bad on the people. I don’t ever drink regular soda anymore. I’m satisfied with diet when I’m feeling the craving for a soda. I just find it very odd that you wouldn’t touch on diet soda in the video, being a fitness expert. Diet Soda is something that can WIPE OUT THE ENTIRE PROBLEM!
@Curt Bizelli – Thanks for the comment. The video was about making small changes over time, not figuring out how to cut coke out of your diet. If that was the topic, I probably would have mentioned diet soda, even though I think drinking chemicals with less sugar is not the way to go. Club soda with a splash of lemon is probably a better option if you must have carbonation.
I’ve never drunk coke. Does Ginger Ale have the same effect.
@magsie – Yes. Ginger Ale still has a comparable amount of sugar.
From the age of 12 I had unlimited soda and a diet based on eating out and alot of fast foods. I was well built and always carried my weight well but hovered around the 200lb mark for as long as I can remember. I am 45 now and my diet was as bad as ever and my soda habit was between 8-15 regular cokes a day. On 1/18/12 I weighed 240lbs. On 1/18/12 I gave up soda completely (no diet either). In seven days I lost 11.5 lbs. I am also doing nutrisystem but would really just like to learn how to eat better for a lifetime and not do it through the program. I have a lot to learn but I can honestly say that I hope I NEVER have another soda again in my lifetime. My skin looks better, my brain feels better and I feel like I can’t get enough water. I am drinking 84 oz a day if not more and it feels wonderful. Coke has kept me fat my entire life!
@Karen M – Thanks for sharing! I hope you use BuiltLean.com as your fitness and nutrition resource!