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Nutritionally unaware consumers guzzle down soda pop for breakfast

Sunday, January 21, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: soda, caffeine, soft drinks

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(NewsTarget) Consumption of carbonated soft drinks with breakfast has soared among U.S. consumers in the past 20 years, according to data from the New York-based consumer research firm NPD Group. Coffee consumption appears to have fallen accordingly.

According to NPD executive Harry Balzer, consumers eating breakfast outside the home order soda pop with 15.1 percent of their breakfasts, compared with 7.9 percent in 1990. Of meals eaten at home, 2.4 percent now include carbonated soft drinks, compared with only 0.5 percent in 1985. Coffee consumption with meals outside the home has dropped from 48.7 to 38 percent in the last 15 years.

The data analyzed by NPD only covered beverages consumed with meals, and did not address overall consumption.

While full-sugar sodas are more popular breakfast drinks than diet varieties, consumption of both has increased. In 1990, diet soda was consumed with only 1.7 percent of breakfasts, compared with 5.3 percent in 2006.

According to a study commissioned by a dairy group, nearly 50 percent of people in the United States above age four drink soda pop on a given day. The heaviest consumption is by those in the 18-to-25-year age bracket.

Balzer is inclined to attribute increased soda consumption at breakfast to the habits of this group. "This is a young adult phenomenon," he said. "This is all about what is the easiest way to get caffeine into your body."

But not everyone is convinced by the caffeine argument. Stephen Shapiro, a motivational speaker and owner of a consulting company, said, "I find that first Diet Coke in the morning is so refreshing. I sometimes drink caffeine-free and still get the same feeling."

Dee McKinsey, regional director of boards and volunteerism at the American Cancer Society in Chicago, agrees. "There is nothing better than the feel of Coke on the back of your throat in the morning," she said.


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