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Americans Are Ditching Soda in Droves

A new poll has revealed that 61 percent of Americans now avoid drinking soda, while 62 percent refrain from drinking diet soda, too. Is now the time for coconut water to become the standard beverage with your burger and fries?

by Javier Cabral
Aug 5 2015, 3:00pm

Photo via Flickr user frankieleon

There is no denying that a cold, fizzy soda can hit the spot every now and then. What would a hot pastrami sandwich be without a cream soda, or carne asada tacos without an ice-cold Mexican Coke?

But times may be a-changing. A new Gallup poll has revealed that some 61 percent of Americans now avoid drinking soda altogether, with two-thirds of Americans staying away from diet soda, too. (That's a marked increase from 2002, when 41 percent avoided drinking regular soda and 36 percent steered clear of the diet stuff.) The poll also showed that soda is number-one among foods and beverages that Americans have cut out of their diets, including sugar, fat, salt, carbohydrates, meat, and gluten.

But why has soda become so loathed? Government health crusades surely have had an effect—even failed initiatives like New York City's proposed "soda ban" of 2013. France recently voted to ban free soda refills, and the city of San Francisco has taken steps towards labeling soda advertisement like those of cigarettes.

At the same time, popular sentiment online has become skeptical, if not outright critical, of soda's health effects.

For one example, consider a set of new infographics—created by popular health blog The Renegade Pharmacist—recently making the rounds online that explore the metabolic, digestive and physiological effects of soda on the body. The visuals offer a crash course on what happens to your organs within an hour of drinking regular and diet sodas, citing consequences such as "the phosphoric acid [found in diet sodas] attacks the enamel in your teeth" and the sugar "[triggers the production of] insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode" after 20 minutes.

Some have questioned the alarmism of The Renegade Pharmacist's claims, though others have aimed to validate them.

Whether due to viral infographics such as these or government initiatives, soda sales have been on the decline for over a decade. Sales of carbonated soft drinks fell by nearly 1 percent between 2013 and 2014, despite beverage sales increasing by 1.7 percent on a whole.

Who knows: If the trend continues, we might see a time when a coconut water is the standard along your burger and fries. That is, until the coconut water backlash takes hold.