There is a lot of confusion today about the definition of a sugary beverage.
A sugary drink is a beverage that is sweetened with natural caloric sweeteners such as table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Sugary drinks include, but are not limited to, the following types of drinks:
- Non-diet carbonated beverages (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, etc.)
- Fruit-ades such as lemonade, fruit punch, powdered fruit drinks, and fruit drinks containing less than 100% fruit juice
- Sports drinks (e.g. Gatorade, Powerade or Propel)
- Flavored waters (Glaceau or Clearly Canadian)
- Energy drinks (e.g. Rockstar, Monster or Full Throttle)
- Sweetened teas (e.g. Snapple, Sobe or Arizona)
Certain brand names have been pointed out in the examples because you may not realize that all of the listed products contain added sugars.
According to the USDA, soft-drink consumption, which includes soda, fruit-flavored and part-juice drinks, and sports drinks, has increased almost 500% over the past 50 years.
Numerous research studies document that consumption of sugary drinks is associated with increased calorie consumption, body weight, and diet-related health issues, as well as poor overall nutrition and tooth decay in young people.
Sugary beverages contribute 22% of empty calories consumed by children and teens. Soda is the number-one source of calories in teens’ diets, and young people consumed 20% more calories from sugary drinks in the period from 1999 to 2004 than they did 10 years earlier. Drinking just one 8-ounce sugary drink every day increases a child’s odds of becoming obese by 60 percent.
Children start drinking soda at a remarkably young age and consumption increases through young adulthood. Fifty-six percent of 8-year-olds consume soft drinks daily and a third of teenage boys drink at least three cans of soda a day. On average, adolescents get 11% of their calories or 15 teaspoons of sugar from soft drinks each day.
Not only are soft drinks contributing significant amounts of calories and sugar to the diets of children and adolescents, they are also replacing milk as the beverage of choice. In fact, teenage boys and girls are drinking twice as much soda as milk and the availability of soda in the U.S. now exceeds that of milk.
Every individual in the United States continues to consume on average more than three 8-oz servings of carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks, teas, sports drinks, enhanced water, and energy drinks every day.
Here at DDF we’ve signed onto the Life’s Sweeter with Fewer Sugary Drinks Campaign. The goal is to reduce the number of sugary drinks consumed to 3 per week by 2020. Yes, you read that right 2020! That should give you an idea of the severity of the problem – it’s going to take us that long to get there.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Institute of Medicine (IOM), American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association (AMA), American Heart Association, World Health Organization (WHO), and Defeat Diabetes Foundation (DDF) have all called for reduced consumption of added sugars, including from sugary drinks.