Nonalcoholic and Alcoholic Beverage Intakes by Adults across 5 Upper-Middle- and High-Income Countries

J Nutr. 2021 Jan 4;151(1):140-151. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxaa324.


Background: Despite considerable public health interest in sugary drink consumption, there has been little comparison of intake across countries.

Objectives: This study aimed to compare the consumption frequency and amounts of commonly consumed beverages among adults in 5 upper-middle- and high-income countries, and examine differences in consumption between population subgroups.

Methods: Adults aged 18-65 y completed online surveys in December 2017 in Australia (n = 3264), Canada (n = 2745), Mexico (n = 3152), the United Kingdom (n = 3221), and the USA (n = 4015) as part of the International Food Policy Study. The frequency of consuming beverages from 22 categories in the past 7 d was estimated using the Beverage Frequency Questionnaire. Regression models were used to examine differences in the likelihood of any consumption and in the amounts consumed of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), sugary drinks (SSBs and 100% juice), diet, and alcoholic beverages between countries and across sociodemographic subgroups.

Results: The prevalence of reported SSB consumption in the past 7 d ranged from 47% (United Kingdom) to 81% (Mexico), and that of sugary drinks ranged from 62% (United Kingdom) to 87% (Mexico). Rates of consumption of diet drinks ranged from 26% (Mexico) to 37% (United Kingdom), whereas alcoholic drink consumption rates ranged from 45% (USA) to 52% (Canada). Respondents in Mexico were more likely to consume SSBs and sugary drinks, and in greater amounts, than those in other countries. Respondents in the United Kingdom were more likely to consume diet drinks than those in Australia, Canada, and Mexico, and greater amounts of diet drinks were consumed in the United Kingdom and the USA. Across countries, younger respondents and males were more likely to consume greater amounts of SSBs and sugary drinks.

Conclusions: Most adult respondents across all countries consumed SSBs and sugary drinks, with greater consumption in Mexico and the USA. Consumption varied greatly across countries, but patterns of association among subpopulations were relatively similar.

Keywords: adults; alcohol; beverage consumption; diet beverage consumption; international comparisons; noncaloric sweetener; sugar-sweetened beverages; sugary drinks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / economics*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / economics*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Developed Countries*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult