Which Country Drinks The Most Sugary Beverages?

A study published this week in PLOS One reveals an "enormous spectrum" of beverage intake around the world by country, age, and sex. The study, which gathered data from 187 countries, found that global consumption levels of SSBs (sugar-sweetened beverages), fruit juice, and milk were also correlated with countries' income levels.

For instance, in 2010, global intake of SSBs in adults over 20 averaged .58 eight-ounce servings per day, but intake increased within countries of medium wealth — SSB consumption was higher in upper-middle-income countries (1.22 servings a day) and lower-middle-income countries (.95 servings a day) than in high-income (.71 servings a day) or low-income countries (.56 servings a day).

Researchers also found nearly a 10-fold difference between regions with the highest and lowest SSB consumption levels — in the Caribbean, SSB intake was up to three daily servings at the time of the study (2010), while in East Asia, intake was measured at .25 servings per day.

Next, fruit juice consumption was found to be positively correlated with a country's income level. The highest intake levels were measured in Australasia (.66 servings a day), and the lowest were found in East Asia (.013 servings a day).

On average, older adults were found to drink the most milk — women 60 and older drank .68 servings a day, and men between the ages of 20 and 39 drank an estimated .51 servings of milk a day. Milk consumption was measured the highest in Sweden and Iceland, at 1.6 servings a day.

The results of the study, the researchers have concluded, should be used to provide better methods of global health. "First, these results identify gaps in current dietary data around the world, indicating the need for improved dietary surveillance in particular world regions," according to the researchers.

"Second, these data provide the basis for quantitative assessment of the impact of beverage intakes on disease burdens. Third, this work provides estimates of beverage intakes that will be useful baselines for measuring the efficacy of policies and interventions related both to undernutrition and overnutrition."