Mexican drink more sodas

Latin Americans, and in particular Mexicans, have the highest consumption of sugary drinks in the world, while in richer countries people drink more milk, according to a study presented this Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Nutrition Society.

“Although there are no specific standards that determine what is a high consumption of sugary drinks, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily intake of sugars less than 5% of calories every day,” said Laura Lara-Castor, from the Friedman School of Science and Nutrition Policy at Tufts University.

“For example, for a person whose daily caloric intake is 2,000 calories kilogram, this is equivalent to about 25 grams of sugar or six tea spoons,” added Lara-Castor, who presented the study at the meeting, which is held in Baltimore, in the state of Maryland.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a can of 355 milliliters of regular soda contains about 40 grams of sugar “which means that when drinking a can of soda, a person whose daily calories intake is 2,000 kilogram calories exceeds 60% of the recommended.

“For this study, which collected information from 185 countries, the researchers considered as “sugary drink” anyone with more than 50 kilogram calories per 237 milliliters, including commercial or homemade beverages, so-called “energy drinks”, fruit juices, lemonades and other “fresh waters”. Lara-Castor explained that the definition excludes beverages that contain 100% juice from fruits or vegetables, and beverages sweetened artificially with no-calorie sweeteners.

Fat-free, low-fat and full-fat milks were also included, but yoghurts, fermented milk or so-called “milks” derived from plants such as soy, almonds or coconut were excluded.

“The highest consumption of sugary fruit drinks and juices was found in the Latin American region, where both commercial and homemade sweetened drinks are taken in abundance,” said Lara-Castor.

Within the region, it was in Mexico where researchers found the highest consumption of sugary drinks. In that country the average adult takes more than 550 milliliters a day of these beverages, followed by Suriname and Jamaica where adults ingest almost 435 milliliters per day.