The newest research is a bit of a consolation prize for Mayor Bloomberg: for the first time in three decades, water has regained its spot as the number one beverage for Americans, over soda.
The Associated Press reports from research from Beverage Digest. Soda was the reigning champion of drinks for more than two decades; the highest per capita soda consumption peaked in 1998, when Americans drank 54 gallons of soda per year. (Just imagine all that sugar.) But it's clear that water has made its comeback; now, the per capita consumption of water has peaked at 58 gallons per year, compared to 44 gallons of soda per year. That's a 38 percent increase of water consumption. Why the uptick? The growing backlash against soda from the health community (and that includes Mayor Bloomberg). As the Atlantic notes, we're already banning sodas from our diets.
The Atlantic breaks down the numbers further; writer James Hamblin notes: "That's 7,242 ounces of water annually — 20 ounces daily, which is 2.5 cups. So in the setting of unfounded claims that we should be drinking eight to infinity glasses of water each day, it's redeeming to know that most people are alive and functioning despite falling far short of that." So we're good despite all that eight-glass hype.
Another huge factor in the increase of water consumption? The rising popularity of bottled water. The per capita consumption of bottled water has grown to 21 gallons per year for Americans. (That other 37 gallons doesn't just account for tap water — that also includes flavored waters, sparkling waters, and enhanced waters — yes, even the Vitaminwater.) Of course, while many predict that the bottled water market will keep growing, others think it will start to experience a backlash thanks to growing environmental concerns. Find out more about what's in your bottled water here.