Study: We Drink Way Too Much Soda

Save your pocket change and back away from the vending machine—it's time to switch to water

America, I think we have a drinking problem.

One in 20 Americans consume 567 calories from sugary drinks on a given day in the US, according to a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s the equivalent of guzzling more than four cans of soda every day.

I’m going to pause for a minute and let that sink in.

Four cans. Of soda. A day.

Does that seem excessive to anyone else? The American Heart Association recommends that we get just 450 calories a week from sugary drinks—that’s a little more than two cans of soda every seven days.

It gets worse: Half of us drink sugary drinks every day. Boys between the ages of 12 and 19 consume the most calories a day from sugary drinks of all age groups—273. Girls in the same age bracket consume 171 calories. The lowest is women aged 60 and over, who consume 42.

And to be clear, the term “sugary drink” in this study covered sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks and sweetened water. So that Gatorade you downed after your workout? It counts.

The report, part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, includes data gathered from 17,000 Americans, who were interviewed in person about their diets. USA Today calls the report “the gold standard for evaluating food and beverage habits.”

When the numbers were crunched by race, researchers learned that blacks consume more calories from sugary drinks than other groups regardless of age. White kids consume more than white adults.

The report also found that more than half of sugary drinks are consumed at home. Forty-eight percent are consumed away from home.

Since other studies have linked these drinks with weight gain, obesity and Type 2 diabetes, the dangers are clear. And given the ever-swelling childhood obesity rate—and, let’s be honest, the healthcare costs that go with it—it seems particularly vital that we start trimming calories from our diets wherever we can.

Soda seems like the perfect place to start.