Sugar-Sweetened Drink Habit Was Common

Sweetened beverages like soda and fruit juice were daily drinks for many US adults

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Despite warnings about what it may be doing to their health, new research suggests many Americans are still opting for sugar-sweetened beverages every day.

The new study, led by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), surveyed adults in 18 US states.

The study found that many reported regularly drinking one or more sweetened sodas or fruit drinks a day.

"When craving a sweetened soda, try opting for water first."

According to the authors of this new study, which was led by Gayathri S. Kumar, MD, of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity at the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, sugar-sweetened beverages are major contributors to added sugar in the American diet and associated with issues like heart disease and diabetes.

Dr. Kumar and team wanted to analyze how often adults in the US consumed sugar-sweetened beverages — specifically soda and fruit drinks.

To do so, the researchers used data from the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System — a phone survey of 13,391 US adults in 18 states.

Among other topics, the survey included a question asking the participants how often they drank sweetened soda or fruit drinks in the previous 30 days. Dr. Kumar and team then separated responses into three categories: no daily consumption of these beverage, less than once a day, or one or more times a day.

The researchers found that 26.3 percent of the surveyed adults reported regularly drinking soda or fruit drinks once or more a day. In particular, 17.1 percent reported drinking soda one or more times a day, and 11.6 percent reported drinking fruit drinks one or more times a day.

Rates of regular consumption of these sugar-sweetened beverages varied from state to state, ranging from a low of 20.4 percent in Hawaii to a high of 41.4 percent in Mississippi.

Regular consumption of these sugar-sweetened drinks, particularly sodas, was most common among people between the ages of 18 to 34 years old and males.

"Reducing [sugar-sweetened beverage] consumption as part of a healthy lifestyle might help with weight management and reduce the risk for chronic diseases among US. adults," Dr. Kumar and team wrote. "Persons who want to reduce their daily added sugar intake can consider replacing their consumption of [sweetened drinks] with healthier drinking options (e.g., water, unsweetened tea, and fat-free milk)."

The data was self-reported, focused on only soda and fruit drinks and did not include every US state. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to explore why differences between states and demographic groups may exist, the authors noted.

The study was published online Aug. 14 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
August 15, 2014
Last Updated:
August 18, 2014