The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has recently published a report entitled Bubbling Over: Soda Consumption and Its Link to Obesity in California [PDF]. In it are some real “gems” that the beverage industry likes to ignore or downplay. The data is based on research in the state of California, but it reflects on the entire country.
1. Over 10.7 million Californians over the age of one drink at least one soda a day (or other sugar-sweetened beverage).
2. 41% of children ages 2-11 drink at least one soda or other sugar-sweetened beverage every day.
3. That number goes up to 62% of adolescents ages 12-17.
4. Only 1 in 4 adults drinks pop though.
5. Adults who do drink one or more sodas or other sugar-sweetened beverages each day are 27% more likely to be overweight or obese.
6. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, vs the recommended 5-9. That 200-400% more than recommended.
7. If you think that’s a high number, just one 20 fl oz single use bottle of soda has 17 teaspoons of sugar.
8. Almost half of the additional calories growth in our diet since the 1970′s come from soda.
9. Each American consumes an average of 50 gallons of sugar sweetened soft drinks per year.
10. Soda is the #1 source of added sugar in the American Diet.
11. Two thirds of all High Fructose Corn Syrup goes into soft drinks.
12. The average size of a soda increased from 6.5 oz in the 1950′s to 16.2 oz today (149% increase!)
13. Milk consumption, on the other hand has decreased by 33% in the last 30 years.
14. Each additional daily serving of soda increases a child’s chance risk for obesity by 60%.
15. In the last 25 years, the obesity rate in California rose from 8.9% to 24.3%. That’s one in four Californians!
16. The cost in medical and health expenses to the state is estimated at $41 billion.
Gives some perspective on what the CEO of Coca Cola wrote in the Wall Street Journal about Coke not causing Obesity, doesn’t it?
What to do at the supermarket:
OK. Soft drinks in and of themselves are not evil, and there is room for them here and there as a treat, just like ice cream and candy. They can hardly be considered a daily staple, although that is exactly what they have become thanks to the efforts of the beverage industry.
But you can easily fight back. Just skip the beverage aisle at the supermarket on your next grocery trip. And the one after that. And the one after. In one year, you’ll have saved $500 for a family of four, AND most likely lost a few pounds too.
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