US: Americans drinking less sugar even without sugar tax

Published: 11/14/2017, 5:25:14 PM

In an attempt to deter customers from buying sugary drinks at convenience stores and restaurants, many have proposed raising the prices of soda, juices, and similarly sugary items - a "sugar tax" of sorts. But apparently Americans don't need a tax to get them to stop buying these beverages - across the country, purchases of sugary drinks have plummeted, according to Florida's Orlando Sentinel newspaper.

A new study revealed that both children and adults have slowly been stalling their purchases of sugary drinks. Fewer consumers are spending their money on these sugar-loaded products, instead opting for water or less sugary options.

"Sugary beverage consumption is going down overall," explained the lead author of the study, Sara Bleich. Bleich reported that beverage consumption has declined overall, even for more healthful beverages. People are just opting for water to quench their thirst.

The data assessed the difference in drinking habits over a 10-year period, first recording data in 2003/04 and following up with a second round of questioning a decade later. The results showed a 19% decrease in sugary drink consumption in children and an 11.5% drop for adults.

Those may sound like small drops in numbers, but they add up quite quickly. For example, children are guzzling an average of 33,616 fewer calories per year from these beverages. Adults cut 19,126 calories annually from drinks like sodas.

Some demographics, such as adolescents, young adults, blacks, Mexican-Americans, and non-Mexican Hispanics have continued to buy in to these caloric beverages, regardless of warnings from educators and media about the dangers of drinking them.

The efforts to educate people on the health risks of soda have been extensive. In the United States, one study found that efforts to increase awareness of sugar in soda have been so strong that the soda industry spent US$107 million at the state and local levels since 2009 to beat back soda taxes and beverage warning labels.

Philadelphia was one of the cities successful in implementing a soda tax - which merchants and distributors there say has caused sales to fall as much as 50%. However, the new study results imply that people everywhere are just drinking soda less, regardless of the price tag.

Of course, soda isn't the only sugary drink on the naughty list. Any drinks made with added sugar, syrups, or other sweeteners are bad news for your body and could actually make you break out in acne - like these 9 popular beverages.