16 Facts About Soft Drinks and Obesity

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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  • http://www.weightymatters.ca Yoni Freedhoff

    Thanks folks!

    I’m interviewing the president of the AAFP on Thursday and had planned a literature review this morning to cull facts like these – thanks for doing my work for me.


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  • http://mybiglife.com Kelsey

    It seems like researchers keep finding more and more things that are linked to being obese. I really hope that people are making the commitment to be healthy and to exercise regularly. However, it seems like the American culture are doing whatever it takes to have the opposite be true.

  • http://www.twitter.com Becky

    I am trying to break my addiction to diet soda because I feel that just because it is diet, doesn’t mean it is good for me either. I am really trying to make an effort to help my family live a more healthy life-style. I read a book titled, “Family Fit” written by Dr. John E. Mayer, that has convinced me that becoming healthy can be fun for the whole family- he includes great ideas of how to make it fun! So glad I stumbled across this post, now I am even more determined to get my whole family to be healthier.


  • Elizabeth

    I have been a huge pop drinker my whole life. I know it has been a large part of my weight issues. A few years ago I found a diet pop that I actually like, but I know that it is not good for me…and I won’t allow my kids to drink the fake sugars. Then recently I purchased my own soda machine where I make sparkling water from my tap water. Its so simple! I add an organic concentrate called “Flavrz” that is sweetened with agave and only 30 calories to either flat or sparkling water and I am in Heaven. Finally, I like something that is good tasting and good for me. Oh, and my kids love it too!

    • sasha

      its nice……..

  • Juan Perez

    The problem is not some food in particular but the quantities we ingest. All calories count independently from what they come from. We are designed to consume a varied diet in quantities commensurate with our energy needs, if we eat to much the difference accumulates in our bodies. You cannot blame, mac Donald’s or Coca Cola your for your excessive weight, just because they give you cheap food. Eat and drink with moderation and you will be healthier.

  • http://www.acupuncturebrooklyn.com Karen Vaughan, L.Ac.

    Fructose in soda, as high fructose corn syrup stresses the liver, increases triglycerides, stores calories as fat far more than with sugar, and disables the body’s ability to regulate appetite. Plus it is addictive, stimulating opiate receptors in the body. http://www.acupuncturebrooklyn.com/alternative-health/agave-nectar-a-healthy-sweetner

    Fructose, agave syrup, and even juice as a sweetener is high in this. In whole fruit there isn’t as much and it is accompanied by minerals and fiber. Drink water, eat fruit, skip soda.

  • http://www.fightobesity.net Sandra

    Childhood Obesity can be Prevented. The best defense is a good offense they say. That applies to the fight against childhood obesity as well. Almost 50% of the people in US are suffering from this life-taking disease. The main cause of obesity is certain illnesses like Cushing syndrome, Hypothyroidism, and depression. Bad eating habit has been the major concern.

    • sasha

      yups! it is……..

  • Homairafaq

    I love this blog’s name!!!! =D …Food-u-CATE!! <3