Healthy Beverage Index gives consumers clearer information

A student looks at beverage choices.

The new Healthy Beverage Index allows consumers to make more informed decisions about their daily fluid intake.

Most consumers know that sugary drinks such as soda are not healthy. But now a team of researchers from the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise has developed an index that can more accurately measure how healthy a person’s overall beverage intake is.

Using the index as a guide, consumers can earn up to 100 points by engaging in healthy activities such as making water at least 20 percent of their daily fluid intake or consuming less than 10 percent of their daily calories in drinks.

“The goal was to develop an index that would help consumers by providing specific information about the types and amounts of beverages that could be consumed to promote optimal health,” said Professor Brenda Davy.

The index was based in part on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which include meeting daily fluid requirements and limiting certain kinds of beverages, such as milk, juice, sodas, coffee, and tea.

Overall, a higher score indicates a healthier beverage pattern. The primary reasons for low scores are not consuming enough water, consuming too many calories from beverages, and not consuming enough fluid overall.