Is that mid-afternoon Pepsi adding too much to your daily calorie count? Don’t forget to include fruit drinks, alcohol and other high-calorie beverages, say University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers. (And do we need to mention Starbucks Frappuccinos?)
Over the past 37 years, the number of calories adults get through beverages has nearly doubled, according to a UNC study of more than 46,000 Americans, published recently in the medical journal Obesity Research.
Researchers found that, during this period, total daily intake of calories from beverages increased by 94 percent, providing an average 21 percent of daily energy intake among U.S. adults. That amounts to an additional 222 calories from beverages every day.
Water intake stayed roughly the same (interesting, given that we’re all lugging around bottled water these days), but the average adult consumed an additional 21 ounces per day of other beverages, according to Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., a UNC professor of nutrition and a fellow at the Carolina Population Center.
“This has considerable implications for numerous health outcomes, including obesity and diabetes,” Popkin says. Most researchers agree that beverages do not fill you up, he adds. “Regardless of beverage type, those extra calories are not compensated for by a reduction in food intake.”