Every once in a while some statistics come along which really make you sit up and take notice. So it was with information, which was posted about sodas. It is worth remembering that soft drinks first appeared on the scene a bit over a century ago. Humans survived for thousands of years without them. They serve no useful purpose in the body with the exception of temporarily pleasing the taste buds.
From a standing start in the late 1800’s the consumption figures are now:
Americans consume 50 billion liters a year. This equates to 216 liters per person each year.
Australians consume 100 liters per person each year.
Ireland consumes 126 liters per person per year
The Japanese are more restrained at only 21liters a year.
Average world consumption is 89 liters per person per year
This is staggering. Apart from being amazing statistics it is highly relevant in the arguments over health. Chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease diabetes and obesity are responsible for 75% of the disease burden in Australia. In turn excessive intake of calories is the main contributor to these diseases.
Soft drinks have high sugar content. A can has on average 10 teaspoons of sugar. There is also caffeine in many of them. One estimate has put sugars from soft drinks as contributing 21% of the total average sugar intake for Americans. We are not doing that bad but it could be close to 10%.
If we think about this for a moment, it means that the average American could reduce their sugar intake by over one fifth by cutting out soft drinks! The figures will vary but will still be significant in many countries including Australia.
This is not about demonizing those who drink soft drinks or manufacturers. The makers have legal businesses and a legitimate interest in promoting and selling their products. If people choose to drink them, that is a choice they make.
Health is often made complex. This complexity adds to the cost and makes people feel powerless to do much to alter their situation. Here is a classic example of where simple action can and will make a huge difference.
Just stop drinking soft drinks or at least slash consumption to one can a week as a treat if you really enjoy it. This is neither difficult nor costly. It does not require whole of government action or complex programs. All that is needed is for the individual to drink water instead.
The benefits to your body will be enormous. You will in one decision slash your sugar intake. This will help your heart, liver, kidneys and brain to name but four vital organs. As a bonus you will also save money. You will also be surprised at how much better you will look and feel.