In a recent survey of 17,000 Americans, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control found that 50% of Americans drink soda daily. So…I guess all those PSAs about the sugar in soda haven’t been working? The average female, according to the study, gets 94 calories a day from soda or sugar-sweetened drinks—approximately the equivalent of one can of coke per day, and about 25 grams of sugar per day (unless there’s a new protein-rich soda we’ve yet to discover). And while I know there are plenty of people who’d go down kicking and screaming before they give up their soda habits, I’m just going to say it like it is: This is why Americans are fat.
Yes, you probably have an aunt who drinks soda every day and is thin as a rail. I have one of those, too. Oh wait, I lied: My Aunt drinks soda every day and is quite the opposite of thin. But I do know the kind of people you’re talking about. In my experience, they either a) smoke like a chimney, b) don’t eat much or c) have a superhuman metabolism. I don’t think any of those reasons make coke a healthy habit, but they’re reasonable explanations for the exception to the rule. The rule being: Sugar and processed food makes Americans fat.
Over a quarter of all Americans are considered obese; more are considered overweight, and diabetes, heart disease and cancer are all on the rise, too. All of those things are impacted hugely by diet and exercise, and while it would just be silly to expect every American to never eat processed food or drink soda again, it’s not preposterous to consider that maybe we could cut back. If coke is your crutch and you can’t picture life without it—fine. Drink it and consider that your sugar fix, but don’t drink it every single day.
The upshot for women is that they’re ahead of the curve, compared to men: The study found that males consume the most calories from soda, with teenage boys (aged 12-19) consuming an average of 273 calories a day from sugar-sweetened drinks, and men aged 20 to 39 consuming 252 calories a day.
But, listen: If you’re drinking soda daily, consider replacing it with an unsweetened beverage like iced coffee, iced green tea or even fresh-squeezed juice. At least some of the time.