Sugary drinks have been directly linked to obesity. Even so, many people around the world are still choosing to drink these high calorie drinks on a daily basis. Although that sounds bad at first, the statistics actually show that soda consumption rates have been dropping for several decades.
63% of Americans are actively avoiding soda as a drink of a choice according to 2014 survey data.
Soda Drink Consumption
This is compared to 41% of Americans who were making the same choice back in 2002. The health benefits of avoiding soda are clear. Each 20 ounce bottle of soda has a minimum of 15 teaspoons of sugar contained within it. People might be pushing against soda manufacturers to change their ways, but soft drink companies are far from hurting when it comes to annual revenues. Sugar-sweetened beverages are any liquids that are sweetened with various forms of added sugars like brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose.
- The soda industry is a $75 billion market, but it is also an industry that reached its greatest heights in the US during the 1980’s and 1990’s.
- Fountain drink sizes grew more than 50% by 1990 in the United States – the kid’s size fountain drink sold in the U.S. is the large soft drink size in France.
- In 1998, Americans were downing 56 gallons of the stuff every year per person.
- Americans are now drinking about 450 cans of soda a year, according to Beverage Digest, roughly the same amount they did in 1986.
- Coca-Cola printed the 250 most common teen names on Coke bottles in the summer of 2014, hoping to entice teens with the “personalized” drinks – it caused sales to rise by 1%.
- A 64-ounce fountain cola drink could have up to 700 calories.
- Beverage companies in the US spent roughly $3.2 billion marketing carbonated beverages in 2006.
- Beverage industry-funded studies are 4x to 8x times likely to show a finding favorable to the soft drink industry than independently-funded studies.
- 25% of teens will drink at least 1 soft drink every day. About 20% of teens will have two or more soft drinks every day.
Why do soft drink makers seem to target the younger demographics with their advertising? It’s because they have more disposable income and are more likely to make a splurge purchase on a soda. In the past, those purchases would be a 12 ounce or 16 ounce bottle of soda. In 1994, all of that changed with the upsized 20 ounce bottle that cost a little more. With consumption rates trending in reverse, smaller cans of soda are being offered [at similar 12 ounce can prices] to appeal to the “healthy” choices that people are trying to make. The billions of dollars being spent in marketing seems to be working. A 1% increase in sales doesn’t seem like much, but with a $75 billion industry, that’s $750 million in extra cash.
How Has Soda Consumption Changed Over The Years?
- In the 1970’s, sugary drinks made up about 4% of US daily calorie intake. In 2001, that had risen to about 9%.
- On any given day, 50% of the people in the U.S. consume sugary drinks, including those who actively avoid soft drinks.
- 1 in 4 Americans get at least 200 calories from soft drinks.
- The percentage of Americans who get more than 550 calories per day from soft drinks: 5%.
- Children and youth in the US averaged 224 calories per day from sugary beverages in 1999 to 2004: 11% of their daily caloric intake.
- One study found that for each additional 12-ounce soda children consumed each day, the odds of becoming obese increased by 60% during 18 months of follow-up.
It’s not just the calorie consumption that is dangerous when it comes to soft drink consumption. The human brain has a difficult time remembering things when sugar is being regularly consumed. The hippocampus region of the brain literally swells up, which is the same part of the mind that is affected by diseases that cause dementia. This means children are even at risk of making choices they might normally not make because of being easily influenced due to the sugar intake. In other words, sugar has addictive qualities to it, just like a drug. Soft drink marketing to teens is higher than any other type of food. That is something that should bother all of us.
What Are The Important Demographics Of Soft Drink Consumption?
- Men typically drink more soft drinks than women on daily basis.
- Teens and young adults consume more soft drinks than any other age groups.
- Caucasians typically drink more soft drinks than other racial demographics.
- There is a direct correlation to high levels of soft drink consumption and proximity to local poverty lines.
- Stores are the primary source of soft drink purchases. When away from home, iced tea, coffee, and other alternative beverages are consumed more often.
- Women above the age of 60 drink the fewest soft drinks on average than any other demographic.
- Men aged 12-19 are 4x more likely to drink soft drinks then men above the age of 60.
Although the statistics of soft drink consumption have some alarming trends to them, there are some encouraging signs that can be found as well. 1 out of every 2 people will not have a soft drink or any other sugary drink on any given day. Fewer than 10% of children who belong to a racial minority demographic will consume a soda on any given day, despite being at a higher risk of being around the local poverty line. These are the trends that we need to encourage. People have a nature desire to follow by example and these are the examples that can lead us all to better health. Despite billions in advertising, more people than ever before are casting off soda. Hopefully statistics like these will continue to improve over time.