The health hazards of drinking sugar sweetened beverages like sodas and sugary fruit drinks is no secret. In fact, a Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity study found that a majority of Americans understand that soda is bad for them. But despite this, a Gallup poll reveals that 48 percent of surveyed Americans -- nearly half! -- drink soda on a daily basis. What's more, among those who drank soda, the average daily intake was 2.6 glasses per day.
Rates of soda consumption were higher with young adults -- 56 percent of those 18 to 34 admitted to guzzling the sweet stuff. And that shouldn't come as a total surprise: we already know that soda is the largest source of sugar in the diet of children and adolescents.
Of note, though soda consumption is linked to obesity, there was no difference in the self-reported weights of those who drank soda daily and those who did not, reported MSNBC. In both groups, an average 40 percent reported being somewhat or very overweight. The researchers attributed this, to some extent, to the lack of distinction between full-calorie and diet sodas in the survey.
But when it comes to sugar sweetened beverages, it isn't just the additional calories that are problematic. A diet high in added sugar -- particularly liquid sugar -- has been associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and with higher rates of Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, insulin resistance and cardiovascular difficulties. And some research suggests that high-fructose corn syrup, the sweetener used in most soda, is particularly associated with increased body fat. As HuffPost Healthy Living blogger Dr. Mark Hyman explained:
HFCS is absorbed more rapidly than regular sugar, and it doesn't stimulate insulin or leptin production. This prevents you from triggering the body's signals for being full and may lead to overconsumption of total calories.
The survey was conducted earlier this month, between July 9 and 12, among a random, representative sample of 1,000 adults within the United States. All survey interviews happened via telephone.
Having trouble kicking the sweet stuff? Here are some healthier alternatives: