Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages increased from the late 1970s through the following two decades, reaching a peak intake of 100 grams per day in 1999 to 2000. A recent study published in the journal Nutrition Research that analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that consumption of these sugary beverages has decreased from 100 grams to about 77 grams in 2007 to 2008.

That’s good news, of course. Any decrease in consumption of soda, the drink that makes up the majority of sugary beverages, is a good sign. The study revealed even more good news: Along with a decrease in soda consumption were decreases in LDL cholesterol levels and C-reactive protein (CRP) (a well-known marker of inflammation) and increases in HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). These biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk improved over time while sweetened-beverage consumption decreased. “Two-thirds of the decline was due to a decrease in consumption of sodas with added sugars,” stated the researchers.

I’m glad to see that some improvement is being made when it comes to soda consumption. We still have a long way to go, however. With so many thirst-quenching beverage options available today, sugar-sweetened drinks simply are not necessary. Our consumption of sugar and starchy carbohydrates, even if decreasing, is still contributing to an array of metabolic imbalances that lead to chronic disease. If you want to do one thing to improve your health, remove these drinks from your diet.