Monday, September 5, 2011

Teens who drink sugary beverages add 300 calories a day to their diet, national survey finds

American teens who drink pop, energy drinks like Red Bull and other sugar-based beverages like Gatorade are consuming an average of 327 calories a day, the equivalent of two and a half cans of cola, according to an analysis conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data also show half of Americans drink sugary drinks on any given day, reports Nanci Hellmich of USA Today. Teens and young adults are drinking more of them than any other age group. About 25 percent of people drink at least 200 calories from them. Another 5 percent of the population age 2 and older consume nearly 600 calories a day from these drinks.

"Sugar-sweetened beverages are the No. 1 single source of calories in the American diet and account for about half of all added sugars that people consume," said Rachel Johnson, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. "These are empty calories with no health benefits," said Barry Popkin, a nutrition professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The findings stem from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which studies the eating and drinking habits of Americans. The results are from more than 17,000 in-person interviews about dietary habits conducted from 2005 to 2008. Added calories can lead to obesity, which increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease. (Read more)

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