PRINCETON, NJ -- Nearly half of all Americans report consuming at least one glass of soda a day, according to Gallup's annual Consumption Habits Poll. The survey was conducted from July 9 through 12, and is Gallup's first study of daily soda consumption.
The poll found that, of Americans who report consuming soda every day, 28% said they drink one glass a day, while 20% drink two or more. In total, 48% said they consume soda daily, and the average daily amount consumed is 2.6 glasses. The remaining 52% reported that they normally do not drink soda.
The study also reported that about 64% of Americans say they generally drink at least one cup of coffee a day. Gallup noted that -- notwithstanding the proliferation of coffeehouses and specialty coffee products over the past decade -- this result is nearly the same as the 63% who said they drank coffee every day in 1999. What's more, the Gallup research found, the number of cups of coffee consumed by regular drinkers has not increased, and in fact may have declined. The 2012 survey concluded that coffee drinkers consume an average 2.5 cups per day, while the comparable figure in 1999 was 2.9 cups.
Figuring in all Americans, including those who drink less than a cup of coffee a day and those who drink none at all, per capita daily coffee consumption now averages 1.6 cups, compared with 1.8 cups in 1999.
"Unlike coffee, which may have some health benefits when consumed in moderation, soda has no known health benefits, and the sugary form can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems," Gallup stated. "Health experts say even one glass of sugary soda per day is too much. Despite that, there is essentially no difference in the self-reported weight situation of Americans who drink two or more glasses of soda compared with those who drink none: About four in 10 of each group says they are either very or somewhat overweight."
Those who drink one soda per day are slightly more likely to classify themselves as overweight, the researchers continued. This might be explained by heavier soda drinkers consuming more diet soda than those who drink only one soda per day, but the survey question did not specify the type of soda consumed.
Men and women are about equally likely to drink coffee, the Gallup study reported; however, by 69% to 45%, whites are much more likely than nonwhites to drink it. "And there is a significant age skew, with coffee drinking much more prevalent among middle-aged and older Americans than among those aged 18 to 34," the researchers found.
This pattern is somewhat the inverse of soda consumption, which is slightly more common among nonwhites than whites. Young adults aged 18 to 34, and men, are also slightly more likely to consume soda than other Americans.
"For better or worse from a health perspective, coffee and soda are both popular with Americans, but coffee is consumed by far more adults on a regular basis," the researchers summed up.
Results for the Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted with a random sample of 1,014 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
"For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points," the researchers explained.