It seems these days that soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages are constantly being scapegoated as the cause of obesity. Don’t get us wrong – calories from all foods and beverages can contribute to obesity if those calories aren’t being balanced out with physical activity. But there’s nothing unique about beverage calories when it comes to obesity or any other health condition. Sadly, however, the days of simply enjoying a refreshing beverage are under assault – that is, if you choose to listen to our critics. To be perfectly honest, we prefer to pay attention to the facts, rather than the spin.
So what are the facts? Here are a few that are undeniable:Since 1998, the average calories per serving from beverages is down 23 percent due to more low- and zero-calorie beverages. Added sugars consumed from soda is down 39 percent since 2000, according to the CDC. Food is the no. 1 source of added sugars in the diets of Americans, according to a recent data brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sugar-sweetened beverages – like soda, ready-to-drink teas, sport drinks, juice drinks and flavored waters – account for only 7 percent of calories in the average American’s diet, according to government data. With 93 percent of our calories coming from other foods and beverages, meaningful steps to reduce obesity need to look at the bigger picture. From 1999-2010, full-calorie soda sales have declined 12.5 percent.