Yesterday, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a data brief on the consumption of added sugars among U.S. children and adolescents. Despite what some may want you to believe, the report found that the percent of daily calories from added sugars actually declined between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008. Furthermore, the report shows that beverages are not the main source of added sugar calories in the diet of American children and adolescents.
In fact, according to a National Cancer Institute analysis of government data, calories from sugar-sweetened beverages, including soft drinks, juice drinks, flavored waters and other beverages, make up just 7 percent of the calories in the average American’s diet. That means that 93 percent of our calories come from other foods.
Importantly, our industry provides consumers with more choices, smaller portions and fewer calories than ever before. In fact, the development of more low- and no-calorie beverages has helped drive a 23 percent reduction in the average calories per serving since 1998. And while beverage calories continued to decline during that time, obesity rates continued to climb according to CDC. As we said in our statement on the issue, this CDC data brief further affirms that beverages do not uniquely contribute to obesity.
There is no doubt that sugar-sweetened beverages, like all caloric foods and beverages, are a source of calories, but when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, what matters most is balancing calories from what you eat and drink with those you burn through exercise. As Dr. Cynthia Ogden, one of the authors of the data brief, stated in a news article, “clearly calories in versus calorie out are what ultimately contribute.”