Decreasing Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugar and an important contributor of calories in the U.S. diet. Many sugar-sweetened beverages have few or no nutrients besides sugar; for this reason they can be seen as what are popularly called "empty calories." Although not all, a number of studies show a positive association between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and Body Mass Index (BMI), meaning that the more sugar-sweetened beverages one drinks, the more likely it is that BMI will be relatively high. Two studies suggest that reducing sugar-sweetened beverage intake may be useful in reducing calorie consumption and BMI. Drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages has the added benefit of promoting oral health.

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (including soft drinks such as soda pop, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and flavored coffee and tea drinks) has risen dramatically over the past 30 years. According to the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, roughly one in four high school students drank at least one can or bottle of soda pop on a daily basis. Many adults and young people drink much more than one can each day which amounts to 300 or more empty calories per day. Over the course of one year, this can lead to more than 10 pounds of weight gain. Reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is an important goal in promoting health and in preventing and reducing obesity.

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