Sugary soft drinks are seen by many as a dietary Trojan horse, smuggling liquid calories into our bodies virtually unnoticed. However, new data compiled by Euromonitor International reveals that most people actually receive more of their calories from alcohol than from soda.
Though the US was not included in the 24 countries tracked by the report, the findings are nevertheless highly alarming on a global level, and suggest that public health initiatives designed to alleviate obesity and heart disease may need to be reassessed. For instance, the UK recently announced plans to introduce a tax on sugary soft drinks, although in light of this new information, similar restrictions on alcohol may also be necessary.
According to the report, people in the Czech Republic consume 166.85 calories per day through alcoholic drinks, which is more than any other nationality. This figure is also 1.7 times the number of calories received from sugary soft drinks.
Similarly, residents of Poland consume 1.6 times more calories from alcohol than soft drinks, while South Koreans take in nearly four times as many calories from booze than from pop.
Even in India, where people receive just 11.48 calories from alcohol each day, this figure outstrips that of sugary soft drinks.
Calories are a measure of how much energy is contained in the food and drink we ingest, and those that aren’t burnt off through exercise or general metabolic processes become stored as fat. As such, taking in too many calories can lead to weight gain and heart disease, as the blood vessels surrounding the heart become clogged.
While alcoholic drinks may be loaded with calories, sugary drinks should by no means be let off the hook. The report also found that across the world, people currently consume the equivalent of 18 teaspoons of sugar each day, although this amount is far exceeded in countries such as Chile and the Netherlands, where the average adult takes in 143 and 139 daily grams of sugar respectively.