In news that is sure to burst the soda industry’s bubble, a new Gallup poll shows that 63% of Americans now “actively avoid” the fizzy drinks.
While 41% percent of those polled in 2002 said that they try to steer clear of soda, 12 years later, that number has now jumped to almost two-thirds of Americans. What a sad development for a substance that started out as a "health tonic" whipped up at drugstore counters.
“Studies continue to reveal the adverse health effects of consuming soda, and high-profile attempts to ban the purchase of large individual servings of soda or to tax it have apparently raised Americans' consciousness about drinking it, even if closer to half still consume the beverage,” Gallup said in a statement. “At this point, 13% of Americans say they don't think about soda intake, down from 24% a decade ago.”
Overall, the poll shows that Americans are trying to eat more healthfully. More than nine out of 10 try to include fruits and vegetables in their diets, and 52% said that they are trying to avoid sugar. Although trying isn't necessarily doing.
“The data generally show that Americans are highly aware of what they should and should not be including in their diet,” Gallup says, but “the challenge appears to be one of changing their actual behavior rather than their underlying knowledge of what is good and bad for their health.”
Soda ranks No. 1 in things people try to avoid. Next comes fat, followed by sugar, which is followed by salt. Next up is carbs, and then beef and other red meat. (Oddly, 15% of respondents said they try to avoid organic food.)
Interestingly, the percentage of people who avoid grains has remained virtually unchanged since 2004 (it's now 15%) despite the introduction of the Paleo diet, which discourages carbohydrates, as well as the anti-gluten craze. Currently, 41% include carbs in their diet, while 29% avoid them.
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Soda has been on a downhill slide since 2002, according to the report, when “soda and sugar moved into the category of food a majority of Americans appear to consider bad for them.” This year, things got even worse, with “more Americans than ever saying they try to avoid drinking soda, while there has been little change in sentiment about avoiding sugar intake.”
We still love you, Diet Coke.