December 31, 2008

Easy way to cut calories — cut out soda

The number of U.S. adults consuming sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, fruit drinks and punches has increased dramatically, researchers said.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore examined changes over the past two decades in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption based on nationally representative survey data.

The study, published in the January issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that sugar-sweetened beverages comprise a significant source of total daily beverage intake and are the largest source of beverage calories consumed daily.

From 1988 to 2004, the percentage of sugar-sweetened beverage drinkers increased 5 percent, lead author Sara N. Bleich said in a statement.

A very large amount of excess calories in the adult diet is due to sugar-sweetened beverages and that quantity has increased over the last two decades.

Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was highest among young adults, who consumed roughly 20 percent of their sugar-sweetened beverage calories at work, and lowest among the elderly. The percentage of sugar-sweetened beverage drinkers and per capita consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was highest among African-Americans followed by Mexican-Americans, the study said.