Soft Drinks Supply More Calories than Milk in US

Sep 29, 2004 12:49 PM EDT

A new study has found that soft drinks are surging ahead of milk as a source of calories for many Americans.

The study, published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that between 1977 and 2001 the amount of energy that Americans get from soft drinks has tripled from 50 to 144 calories a day, while energy intake from milk declined from 143 calories to 99 calories a day. Over that same period of time, the intake of energy from fruit drinks has increased from 20 calories to 45 calories.

Highest among 19-39 year olds

The greatest reduction in milk consumption (from 13.2% of total energy in 1977 to 8.3% of total energy in 2001) was among those aged 2 to 18. Over that same time, this group doubled their consumption of soft drinks and fruit drink.

Soft drink consumption was highest among those aged 19 to 39. People over 60 drank three times as much soft drink in 2001 as people over 60 did in 1977.

The researchers suggested that these patterns may be a factor in the growing rates of obesity in the United States.

Increase of 135%

The results showed that energy intake from sweetened beverages increased 135% and was reduced by 38% from milk. This trend was mainly driven by the large increase in soft drinks consumed by children and younger adults.


1. S. Joy Nielsen, B. M. Popkin, ¡°Changes in beverage intake between 1977 and 2001,¡± American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 27: 3: 2004: 205-210.