Diet vs Sugar-Sweetened Soda Preferences and Attitudes in a Sample of Adolescents

Nathaniel Etheridge Frank-White1, Erica Frank2, *
2 University of British Columbia, 5804 Fairview Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada

© 2010 Frank-White and Frank

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of British Columbia, 5804 Fairview Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada; Tel: (604) 822-4925; Fax: (604) 822-4994; E-mail:


North American adolescents' consumption of sodas is of concern in the face of the obesity epidemic. We wished to determine if their perceptions about sugared and diet sodas were reflected in their blinded preferences. Our n=194, with an average age of 15.2 years, and a response rate of 97%. Among respondents, 3% stated that they strongly preferred diet soda, 3% somewhat preferred diet soda, 37% strongly preferred sugar-sweetened soda, 27% somewhat preferred sugar-sweetened soda, and 30% had no preference between diet and sugar-sweetened soda. The average rating for sugar-sweetened soda was 5.9 vs 5.1 vs diet sodas. The r2 was 0.034 (p=0.73) between actual sugar content and taste rating. Public health campaigns that wish to convert adolescents from sugar-sweetened to diet sodas would do well to lessen adolescents' concerns about health risks of diet sodas, and manufacturers might consider that adolescents seek tastes in soda beyond merely sugar consumption.

Keywords: Adolescent, nutrition, soda, dietary preferences.