Young adults drank far more calories from sugar-sweetened beverages than did the elderly, with young blacks consuming the highest percentage of sugar-sweetened beverages.
The researchers also found that overweight adults who were trying to lose weight were less likely to drink sugar-sweetened beverages, yet still consumed an average of 278 calories a day during the second study period.
"U.S. adults are consuming a very large amount of sugar-sweetened beverages, and it has increased over time," said Bleich. "I think there are two main drivers to the increase: One is availability. Sugar-sweetened beverages are everywhere. And, two, the container size has increased, so that on any given consumption occasion, people are drinking more."
"Everyone is definitely used to super-sizing," said registered dietician Samantha Heller, host of the satellite radio program, The Samantha Heller Health and Nutrition Show on the NYU Langone Medical Center's Doctor Radio. "If you look at old 8-ounce Coke bottles, they look tiny, but a 20-ounce bottle looks normal."
"One 12-ounce can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, and most people are drinking more than 12 ounces," she added.
Heller said that she realizes it can be hard to make a change. "When you drink something that tastes good and gives you an energy boost, it's awfully hard to make a connection between those feelings and the fact that those drinks can contribute to overweight, obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease."
Still, she advised, "You need to limit your daily intake of sugar-sweetened beverages. To give yourself an incentive, take the money you would've spent on those drinks and put it in a jar, and in a couple of months, buy something fun for yourself or your family."
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