Thursday, April 14, 2011

Are you pouring on the pounds?

In our survey 84% reported drinking at least one calorie containing beverage a day, with the majority drinking 2-3. An 8-oz calorie sweetened beverages is often about 100 calories (6 tsp of sugar), but can be much greater.

Many people don't realize how many calories can be in the beverages they are consuming. According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the average American consumed 22.5 tsp (337.5 calories) of added sugar daily. Calorie sweetened beverages (soda and fruit drinks) contributed to almost half of the added sugars Americans consume daily. Since many people to not count the beverages they consume as food adding to their caloric intake those extra calories are often on top of what they need for the day. In which case, beverage consumption alone could easily ad to an extra 26 pounds a year.

Because of the link between obesity and overconsumption of added sugars, there is a push to tax calorie sweetened beverages. Research has estimated that a tax-induced 20% price increase on calorie sweetened beverages could reduce consumption by 27 calories a day (3.8 pounds a year). This slight calorie reduction suggest that overweight and obesity rates could be reduced 4%. A recent study has suggested that health warning or advisory labels on packaging will do a better job deterring consumers than a price increase. But is it the governments place to try to control the consumers’ food choices?

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