When I started my weight loss journey, the first thing to go was soda. Giving up my multiple Pepsi’s per day was beyond difficult. I wasn’t big on juices, didn’t like energy drinks, and was sure that only drinking water and tea would drive me crazy. For a while I felt like I was the only person reaching for H2O, but slowly my friends started letting go of or cutting down on the fizzy stuff. According to the New York Times, we were part of a national trend:
Last year, the average American drank slightly under two sodas a day, a drop in per capita consumption of about 16 percent since the peak in 1998, according to Beverage Digest, a trade publication.
What began as a slow decline accelerated in the middle of the last decade and now threatens some of the best-known brands in the business. Coke and Pepsi are relying more than ever on the “flat” drinks and bottled waters in their portfolios and on increases in the price of sodas, forcing die-hard drinkers to pay more to feed their sugar habits.
“The question is, Are we seeing a modest, multiyear decline that will bottom out? Or are we seeing the beginning of a paradigm shift away from carbonated soft drinks?” said John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest and a longtime observer of the industry. “I don’t think anyone knows yet, but I think there are continuing headwinds against the category that aren’t abating.”
Health advocates are cautiously optimistic about the decline. “It is really important because sugary soft drinks are the No. 1 source of calories in our diets,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “We get more calories from sodas and sugary drinks than any other individual food — cake, cookies, pizza, anything.”
Companies are battling to keep their brands alive by investing in big campaigns like Pepsi’s partnership with Nicki Minaj and Mountain Dew’s ads with Lil Wayne. While they are putting ad dollars to work, studies are being released about the negative impact of high-fructose corn syrup and organizations around the country are campaigning for healthier lifestyles.
Have you cut or considered cutting soda out of your diet? Why or why not?