Question About Soda or Pop for Older Folks

I’ve read in more than one place that one of the reasons for today’s obesity/diabetes epidemic is the ubiquity of sugared sodas. These articles are at pains to point out that fifty years ago, people thought of Coke, Pepsi, RC, etc. as an occasional treat instead of an everyday thirst quencher.

I grew up drinking soda everyday. This was during the 60’s, and there’s a picture of me at four years old with a bottle of RC cola next to me on the table.

But how about the 40’s? The 50’s? Was soda just an occasional treat?

If so, what did everyone back then drink everyday? Just water? Milk seems unlikely, as does fruit juice. Coffee isn’t really a thirst quencher, and hot tea same thing. Iced tea maybe? Lemonade? Were they everyday drinks?

I know alcohol was a big thing before water supplies were reliable. So, when sanitation and Prohibition came along, everybody stopped drinking beer everyday, and started drinking plain water?

In the 60’s and 70’s we got one bottle of pop or less a week. We mostly drank water all day and had milk with every meal. We drank a lot of milk. Punch was for parties or special meals. We got a glass of pop on the rare meals eaten out and that was always a small glass loaded with ice with no refills so then you drank a lot of free water. At most those glasses had 8 ounces of pop in them.

I started drinking soda daily in the 70s, before that it was kool aid all the time. But still, sugar is sugar and kool aid has a lot.

I’m not THAT old, and I remember hot summer days (pre-AC), and friends’ moms keeping big glass pitchers in the fridge full of …

ice water. Ahhhhhh …

This was true for me too, in the 50’s. I don’t think I tasted Coke until I was 12 or 13, and we never had any at home.

We drank a lot of Kool-Aid in the summer though, and ate lots of Popsicles. We definitely got our share of sugar (candy bars, homemade cookies, cake, pie, etc.) – just in a different form.

I’m not old enough to have any useful anecdotes (grew up in the 80’s drinking a lot of water and eating a lot of brown rice) but a quick google search turned up this 20-year-old article:

If that’s accurate, consumption of high-calorie soft drinks increased by at least 50% between 1970 and 1990.

That’s exactly how I grew up and I was born in the '80s. I’ll never claim to have had great parents, but they got this right IMO, and so could today’s parents if they’d put a little effort in.

Of course, one of the first things I did when I got a job and started making my own money was buy a 3-liter of Mello Yello and hide it in my closet so my siblings couldn’t bogart it :p. But they way you grew up sticks, more often than not; I rarely drink soda and we almost never keep it in the house. We only buy it when we’re expecting guests.

early 1970’s Mom would buy one six pack of soda every two weeks. If we drank it up fast, there was no more soda. So, we usually had one every two or three days. These were 12 oz cans.

I can remember when the soda size jumped. First to 16 oz. Then gasp!!!, to 20 oz.

About a year ago. I stopped buying 20 oz bottles. They came out with a 12 oz plastic bottle. It’s actually more expensive. But, I prefer only drinking 12 ozs. 20 oz is just too darn much sugar.

What if you just drink diet?

My father worked for Dr Pepper in Dallas and had the stuff delivered to our home during the late 1940s to early 1950s so I had at least a couple of bottles daily. The neighborhood kids sure liked to hang out at our house, so my idea today is that they had less access to soft drinks than I. My experience is atypical but I didn’t appreciate that fact then. I thought those kids liked me. They liked me less when my father changed jobs.

My mother and aunt chain-drank Cokes (a Southern thing?) and it was always around when I was little in the late 60s/early 70s. I would drink a couple a day, and I was skinny. My mom and aunt weren’t fat. However, they came in smaller bottles back then and you didn’t have Big Gulp sized drinks.

Sugary sodas can absolutely be a part of the obesity problem, but it’s far from the only or even predominant culprit.

The fact our play consisted of running around outside a large part of the day also kept us from being super fat. It’s not a just a pop problem that makes people fat. We also didn’t eat as much high calorie food while being inactive most of the day and night. We had to ride bikes everywhere when there wasn’t snow on the ground as many houses had one vehicle and even if your family had one available not at work it was emergencies or shopping trips. I would bike about 8 miles one way to visit kids.

At least where I grew up, parents didn’t care about what their kids drank in terms of health. Most kids drank a lot of pop, milk, or sweet tea. People drank water, too, but pretty much everyone drank a lot of milk and sweet tea. A lot of kids drank a good bit of pop. Since all the milk was whole milk that actually has a good amount of calories per glass, IIRC a single 8 oz glass of whole milk is like 150 calories–more than a 12 oz can of Coca-Cola has in it today I believe.

The big differences I see is more in what kids eat. Kids today seem to eat way more junk food and the meals parents give their children seem to be way more calorie dense. Most of the meals my mother made were heavy on the veggies. Candy bars were a special treat. Most people where I grew up canned a lot of their own veggies and the fact that we ate a lot of corn, green beans, peas, etc wasn’t because our mothers were super health conscious but just because it was extremely cheap.

Going out to a restaurant for dinner was extremely rare for us.

I was born in 1957, and the usual beverages in our house were water and iced tea, made with artificial sweetener (my mother was always on a diet). On Sundays, we had wine for Sunday dinner. The adults had full strength wine, and kids had watered wine, depending on our ages. My father is first generation Sicilian American, and drinking wine with Sunday dinner was just a part of his culture. We drank whole milk as well, but sodas were a fairly rare treat in our house. On the other hand, several of my friends’ parents kept soda on hand for an everyday beverage. Some people also gave their babies sweet tea (sweetened with sugar) or Kool Aid or JellO water (Jello which was not refrigerated, so it didn’t gel) in their baby bottles! Sugar in kids’ beverages wasn’t universally accepted, but it wasn’t universally condemned, either.

Today, most sodas aren’t sweetened with cane or beet sugar, but high fructose corn syrup. HFCS has made its way into a lot of other foods, too. It’s a cheap and easy way to boost flavor.

And, of course, our recreation has skewed from physical activity to mostly sitting on the couch. I read a lot when I was a kid, but even I got out and rode my bike and played football with the neighborhood kids and did other physical activities.

I can’t recall drinking much soda at home when I was growing up. Kool Aid, yes, and milk, coffee, and tea. We had 7-Up, gingerale, and stuff like grape, root beer, orange crush on picnics. My two girl cousins grew up swilling Diet Coke from day one.

I grew up in the 50s and 60s and soda was rare. We had water or milk, and sometimes as a special treat, Kool Ade. Soda? Maybe my parents would buy a six-pack a couple times a year for the four kids.

I grew up in the 1940s in a working class home. To begin with, bottles of Coke and other soft drinks were much smaller then. Pepsi Cola used to build its advertising around the slogan “Pepsi Cola hits the spot, 12 full ounces, that’s a lot. Twice as much and better, too, Pepsi Cola is the drink for you.” Coke and the others came in 6 or 8 ounce bottles. But we never had these bottles in the house. They were something you bought from a machine or in a store as a treat. Certainly not more than one a day; often a week would go by and I wouldn’t have one of these. At home we had quart bottles of soda, many different flavors, but they were for meals when we would get one glass full. It was very unlikely that I would go to the refrigerator (or the ice box which is what we had up until 1948 or or so) and get some soda. Kool Aid, maybe, but not the soda.

I’m far too young for this poll, having been born in 1974, but I thought I’d share my experiences anyhow. 'Cause, y’know, you can’t stop me. :wink:

I had one friend who drank nothing but soda at home, all day every day. (Yes, she was fat, but I also think there were some legitimate hormonal issues with her - she certainly had the dark neck ring indicating probable diabetes, but wasn’t tested for that as a child - so I hate to blame it entirely on the soda.) I had several other friends who were allowed pop once or twice a day, but had to drink juice or water after that.

And then there was me. Child of a woman with a degree in education and a minor in nutrition. Ugh. We NEVER had pop in the house until I was in high school. As a child, I was allowed juice once a day (this was before juice was vilified) and water. And in the summer, Mom made “Summer Water”. Summer Water was awesome, just a little bit sweet but not sticky like pop, and *so *refreshing.

My pop drinking friends loved Summer Water at our house, and begged their moms for Summer Water at home. My mom got several desperate phone calls from their parents, begging her for the recipe for Summer Water, because their formerly content pop drinking sprog refused to drink pop, asking for Summer Water instead.

Summer Water was tap water, stored in a pitcher in the fridge. The “sweetness” was nothing more than thirst flavoring the water.

My daughter loves Summer Water. And last summer, I got the first phone call from one of her friends’ moms. :smiley:

♪♫It’s the ciiiiiiiiiiiircle of liiiiiiiiiiife!♫♫♪

This was true for me also (born in 1960). I think I was at least 10 or 12 before I tasted Coca-cola. Mother refused to buy it - it was too expensive. We drank water, koolaid, milk, or Tang.

We didn’t eat a lot of sweets though - candy only on Halloween or Christmas. Mother was terrible cook so we didn’t get homemade cookies, cakes, etc.

My kids were born in the 80’s and I was the same way about Cokes and sweets as Mom was. They drank juice, koolaid, water, tea, or milk. Cokes were never a daily drink for them.

I was born in 1961, and I remember Mom buying the generic sodas (in cans) at the grocery stores. Something like a dime a can. But all I remember drinking is kool-aid. Maybe my older sister drank all the sodas.

Exception: when I was sick, Mom would give me a soda, to make me belch I guess.

I don’t think I ever saw my Dad drink a soda, and my Mom would only drink root beer, but that was rare.