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A sweetened beverage is any beverage with added sugar. They have been described as "liquid candy." Consumption of sweetened beverages has been linked to weight gain, obesity, and associated health risks.
A number of studies suggest that there is a significant correlation between increased consumption of sweetened beverages and weight gain leading to obesity. There has also been an association between consumption of sweetened beverages and health risks such as coronary heart disease and diabetes. Due to negative health effects of overconsumption of sweetened beverages, a sweetened beverage tax (soda tax) has been recommended by Institute of Medicine in 2009.
The rise in consumption of sweetened beverages has been described as a worldwide health problem, but it is particularly visible in the United States, from where most popular drinks, like sodas, have originated. In the US, sweetened beverages such as most sodas are the most widely consumed type of foods containing added sugar, and account for about a third of all consumption of added sugars (about half if counted together with fruit juice); about twice the amount that is gained from the categories of "desserts" and "sweets"). They represent about 7% of total energy intake, more in children and adolescents where they can account for up to 15%, and have been described as the "largest single food source of calories in the US diet". The consumption of sweetened beverages has increased in the USA since the 1970s, accounting for a significant portion (perhaps as high as a half) of the rise in caloric intake among the American populace. Some more recent research suggests that the added sugar consumption in the USA has started declining in the 21st century, due to a related to decrease in the consumption of sweetened beverage, encouraged by the government health awareness initiative and other programs.
The following drinks have been classified in the USA as sweetened beverages if they contained sugar or other caloric sweeteners: fruit or fruit-flavored drinks, energy drinks, flavored water, coffees, teas, nonalcoholic wines and beers.