Sweetened Beverages

Whereas eating or drinking these healthier foods does not reduce weight, evidence is stronger that drinking caloric beverages has a detrimental effect. Consumption of sweetened beverages is now about 40 gallons per capita and has clearly gone up in concert with the rise in BMI and obesity in the population (see Figure 4-1). On average, Americans now get about 21 percent of their total energy intake from beverages, almost double the amount in 1965 (Duffey and Popkin, 2007).

Beverages of all types seem to increase energy intake. In a study in which participants consumed various foods in liquefied and whole form, total energy intake was higher over the course of a day with the beverage form. The consumption of energy-yielding beverages seems to lead to a lack of dietary compensation, positive energy balance, and weight gain, although he acknowledged some controversy about whether there are sufficient data to move forward in terms of policy. Data specific to soft drink consumption from the Nurses Health Study showed that the weight

FIGURE 4-1 Soft drink consumption, 1970-2000.

FIGURE 4-1 Soft drink consumption, 1970-2000.

SOURCE: USDA ERS, 2000. Reprinted with permission from Susan E. Swithers, Purdue University.

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