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The Trend: Fewer Beverage Calories But Still A Soda per Day

cola on the rocksAmericans of all ages are sipping fewer calories from sugary sodas, energy drinks and other sweet beverages compared to over a decade ago, but we are still drinking the equivalent of about a can of soda per day on average, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition..

Those calories — about 150 of them — are important for cancer prevention because AICR’s expert report and its updates found that sugary drinks lead to weight gain. And excess body fat links to increased risk of seven cancers.

Study researchers used data from approximately 51,000 kids, teens and adults that made up a representative sample of the US population. In a large government study, participants reported everything they drank (and ate) during a 24-hour period.

When the researchers looked at sugary beverage consumption between 1999 and 2010, they found a drop in the amount of calories both youths and adults were drinking. The 2 to 19 year olds were drinking on average 155 calories per day, which is 68 fewer calories than in the 1999-2000 survey. Adults were consuming an average of 151 calories each day, a drop of 45 calories compared to twelve years earlier.

Sugary beverages included soda, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks along with sweetened coffee and tea. Other study findings include:
•    Sodas make up the largest category of sugary beverages Americans drink, and that also accounted for the largest decline in calories. Fruit drinks is the next largest category, which also dropped.
•    Overall, the amount of calories Americans consume from sweetened coffees, sports and energy drinks increased over the study period, but the good news is we’re still drinking relatively few of these beverages.
•    For adults, the one age group that was not drinking fewer sugary beverages was the 40 to 59 year olds.
•    Among 2 to 19 year olds, about one-third now say they don’t drink any sugary beverage, a slight increase from 12 years prior: Another third drink one per day, and the rest say they drink two or more. The percentage in each of these two categories dropped slightly over the twelve-year period.

Source: Brian K Kit, et al. "Trends in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among youth and adults in the United States: 1999–2010." First published May 15, 2013, doi: 10.3945/​ajcn.112.057943 Am J Clin Nutr July 2013 ajcn.057943

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