More Americans claim they actively try to avoid soda in their diet than sugar or fat. In fact, a recent Gallup poll reports more than six in 10 U.S. adults claim to avoid soft drinks, including diet varieties.
Gallup asked 1,009 Americans about the foods they try to include or avoid in their diet as part of its annual Consumption Habits poll in July. Interestingly, there were only three items that 50 percent or more of Americans claim they are actively avoiding—regular soda, diet soda and sugar.
In prior years, Gallup asked Americans generally about their intake of "soda or pop" without differentiating between diet or regular. However, this year's poll asked half of those surveyed about "diet soda or pop" and asked the other half about "regular soda or pop." The results determined that Americans don't distinguish between the two, despite the higher sugar and calorie content in regular soda than in diet soda. The results were nearly identical, with 61 percent reporting they try to avoid regular soda and 62 percent diet soda.
Americans' attitudes toward including soda in their diet are unchanged since last year. But Americans are far more likely now (61 percent) than in 2002 (41 percent) to say they are trying to avoid soda. Likewise, the percentage of Americans who actively include soda in their diet has dropped since 2002, although not as drastically, from 36 percent to 22 percent.
The poll looked at Americans’ diet choices beyond bubbly beverages—inclusion/avoidance of sugar, fruits, vegetables, fish and red meat was also evaluated. According the poll results, more Americans reported avoiding sugar in 2015—50 percent avoided sugar in 2015 compared to 43 percent in 2002. Americans' likelihood to either include or avoid fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish or red meat has been largely stable since 2002.
Of all the dietary choices evaluated in the poll, Americans are most likely to say they actively try to include fruits and vegetables in their diet. Americans appear to be aware of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, with at least nine in 10 saying they actively try to include each in their diet.