How Many Americans Drink Soda Every Day?

Be it Big Gulps or Diet Cokes in a can, fizzy drinks are a big fat hit in the U.S. of A.
(Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images)
Jul 25, 2012
Megan Bedard is a sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, she likes writing about food almost as much as eating it.

Starbucks may be riding the juice bar wave, and a growing percentage of the population now knows what kombucha is, but that doesn't mean much for drink trends: Americans want their soda. Roughly 48 percent of Americans drink 2.6 glasses a day on average, says a new Gallup Poll.

Questioning 1,014 adults aged 18 and older by phone, Gallup pollsters rounded up data for its annual Consumption Habits poll.

This is the first time pollsters have quizzed people about their soda drinking habits, so no previous data exists to compare it to. But the poll did turn up some surprising finds. Here are a few of them:

1. Despite the current soda war, pollsters found that soda drinkers weren't fatter than non-soda drinkers.

Self-reporting on soda consumption and weight could have skewed data, but the pollsters' findings on obesity and soda consumption are out of alignment with previous research. Soda consumption has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. According to the Gallop reports, health experts won't even condone a single glass of sugary soda each day, saying it's not healthy.

Still, that soda drinkers aren't fatter than non-soda drinkers is not necessary a good thing. Four of 10 people in each group reported being "either very or somewhat overweight." Those who drink at least one soda pop a day were slightly more likely to categorize themselves as overweight.

MORE: Soda Companies: Don't Give Up That Big Gulp

One possible explanation: heavier soda drinkers could be downing more diet sodas than those who are drinking a single soda a day.

2. Carbonated beverage consumption is on the decline.

With half of Americans drinking almost three glasses of soda a day, it doesn't seem like the popular drink is going out of style. But the U.S. beverage industry begs to differ, recently reporting declining consumption of fizzy drinks. Consumers are also switching to diet sodas.

3. Seven percent of Americans are drinking 4 or more glasses a day.

Pollsters asked people: How many glasses of soda pop, if any, do you drink on an average day? The majority of soda drinkers—28 percent—reported drinking one glass per day. But a smaller portion, 7 percent, say they drink as many as four more glasses a day. The report did not mention whether pollsters specified to survey participants what size container constitutes "a glass," and in fact, a recent study found that estimating serving sizes isn't Americans' strong suit.

What's your relationship to soda? Do you drink it daily? Let us know in the comments section below!

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