Sugar Drink Consumption

September 16, 2011

The consumption of sugar drinks in the United States has increased over the past thirty years.  So much, in fact, that some schools and councils have considered taxing these types of beverages and removing them from school cafeterias. However, outlawing such sugar drinks like soda, fruit drinks, and energy drinks, seems unlikely given that approximately 50% of the U.S. population consumes these types of beverages on any given day. 

U.S. dietary guidelines were issued in 2010 to limit the consumption of added sugars. These guidelines were further reinforced by the American Heart Association standards; the organization prescribes people to consume less than three 12-oz cans of carbonated soda per week (450 kilocalories [kcal]). Despite these recommendations, men and women consume an average of 175 kcal and 94 kcal, respectively, on any given day. At this rate, it is likely that many consume more than the recommended amount of sugar in a week, thus increasing the link to serious health complications like poor diet quality, obesity, and type II diabetes.

So who consumes the most sugar drinks? It doesn’t come as a surprise that teens and young adults consume more sugar drinks than any other age group. Perhaps more surprising is that over half of sugar drinks are consumed in the home, not in fast-food restaurants. Also, people with lower incomes drink more sugar drinks, in relation to their diet, than those with higher incomes.  Is this because sugar drinks are the more economical option? Could people be consuming sugar drinks, not because of their refreshing flavorful taste, or because they disregard the recommended health guidelines, but because it is the cheapest way to buy something to quench thirst?

The answers to these questions are still a matter of debate.  For a closer look at who is consuming sugar drinks in the U.S., visit

Other links to the sugar drink controversy:

Tax on Soft Drinks? CBS News with Katie Couric:

Blue Cross & Blue Shield ‘Catalyst Campaign’:

NCHS Director Ed Sondik appears on CSPAN’s Washington Journal 09/02/2011 to discuss U.S. mortality and life expectancy.

September 16, 2011

See the following link to see Dr. Sondik on CSPAN: