Sugary drink consumption appears to be down, but is it low enough?

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Here's some encouraging news about how many sugary drinks we're guzzling in the United States: an observational study led by Harvard researchers, published online Nov. 14, 2017, by Obesity, suggests that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages fell significantly between 2004 and 2014. Researchers looked at data collected from more than 18,000 children and teens and more than 27,000 adults ages 20 or older. Every two years, people were asked about the kinds of drinks they'd had in the previous 24 hours, such as soda or juice. About 60% of kids and 50% of adults reported drinking a sugary beverage on any given day in 2014, down from 80% of kids and about 62% of adults in 2004. The percentage of adults ages 60 or older who reported drinking a sugary beverage on any given day dropped from 46% in 2004 to 39% in 2014. While the declines are a step in the right direction, consumption of these drinks was still highest among those at higher risk for obesity, such as African American and Hispanic participants (across all age groups). Remember: the average can of soda has about 40 grams of added sugar, far more than the American Heart Association's recommended limit of 24 grams of added sugar per day for women, and 36 grams per day for men. Consuming too much added sugar is associated with weight gain and an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and a heart attack.


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