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Americans Are Cutting Back on Sugary Drinks

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Drinking numerous sugary drinks can wreak havoc on your health, but new analysis finds more Americans are turning away from those high-calorie drinks.

And that includes many people who used to drink giant portions of sweetened beverages — the equivalent of 3.5 cans of soda day by day.

“Our study found the percentage of children and adults who are heavy [sugar-sweetened beverage] drinkers has declined significantly over time,” stated research writer Kelsey Vercammen. She’s a doctoral diploma candidate within the department of epidemiology on the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston.

For the research, the researchers reviewed knowledge from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003 to 2016, learning responses from greater than 21,000 youngsters (aged 2 via 19 years) and 32,000 adults.

The investigators discovered that the share of heavy shoppers of sugar-sweetened beverages — 500 calories or more day by day — among youngsters declined from 11% to 3%. The proportion of heavy sugar-sweetened beverage shoppers among adults dropped from 13% to 9%.

“Our research team was particularly interested in looking at the heavy sugar-sweetened beverage consumers because these individuals are the ones who are obviously drinking the most sugar-sweetened beverages, so we think that they likely face the biggest health risks,” Vercammen stated.

Potential explanations for the current steep decline in intake embrace the influence of beverage taxes imposed by native jurisdictions, ordinances which have required serving healthy drinks with youngsters’s meals as an alternative of sugar-sweetened beverages, and public health campaigns concerning the harms of sugary drinks, Vercammen noted.

“We think that these efforts combined with the awareness that they have generated in the public may be driving some of the declines that we’ve seen in the recent years of data,” she added.

For a couple of teams, the outcomes were not as constructive.

Adults aged 40 to 59 saw no discount in heavy sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. Older adults had a slight improve in consumption. Adults who are Hispanic, but not Mexican, additionally had no reduction in consumption. Reasons might embrace that racial/ethnic minorities are often disproportionately uncovered to and targeted for advertising of sugary drinks, Vercammen stated. In addition, adults aged 40 to 59 grew up at a time when there was growing availability and advertising of ultra-processed foods, she stated.

According to Dr. Lona Sandon, program director within the department of medical nutrition at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, “The habits we develop throughout young childhood and teenage years, we do tend to carry those eating habits throughout the rest of our life whether they’re good or bad.”

Sugary drinks embrace not just soda, however power drinks, sweetened teas and coffees, and beverages like fruit punch which are thought-about juice but aren’t 100% juice. Some drinks, like the bottled teas, “kind of masquerade as a healthier choice,” Sandon stated.

Most sugary beverages include loads of energy, but little or no nutrition, she added.

The research didn’t think about whether individuals are consuming fewer general calories, are as an alternative replacing sweetened drinks with foods or what they’re consuming as an alternative of sugary beverages. It noted past analysis, which showed that consumption is excessive in the United States, with about 60% of youngsters and 50% of adults consuming no less than one sugar-sweetened beverage on a typical day.

Though there could also be an occasional cause to drink a sugar-sweetened beverage, it’s greatest to limit added sugars to no more than 10% of your energy, Sandon stated.

“How we can get more adults to decrease and change their habits around that is a good question, but certainly with the level of type 2 diabetes, in particular, and the level of obesity that we see in the population, sugar-sweetened beverages are an easy place to start making that difference in dietary patterns,” Sandon stated.

Future analysis might embrace reviewing just lately launched knowledge for two extra years, 2017 to 2018, Vercammen stated, in addition to wanting on the impression of the pandemic on sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.

“It would be interesting to look at children’s diets and whether their sugar-sweetened beverage intake has changed as a result of COVID-19 and school closures,” Vercammen stated. “I think continued surveillance is definitely important, especially at this time.”

The research was revealed on-line Sept. 24 within the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

More info

The Harvard School of Public Health has more on sugary drinks.

Source: HealthDay

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