No wonder we're fatter and sicker than ever and getting worse every day: New numbers from the CDC show that half of all Americans over the age of TWO YEARS OLD drink at least one soda a day.

Notice the words "at least." Check out these numbers:

  • 70 percent of boys between 2 and 19 get an average of 273 daily calories from sugary drinks alone.
  • Men from 20 - 39 are a close second, at 252 daily calories from these drinks.
  • 40 percent of adult women between 20 and 39 getting an average of 138 daily calories from the beverages.
  • Teen girls take in 171 per day.

Ready for the worst part? Five percent of Americans -- in real numbers, that's some 15 million people -- swallow 567 liquid sugar calories a day.

That's like an entire meal made of soda.

Of course, the beverage industry is spilling that tired old line about no link between their drinks and disease, and they're claiming that sugary beverages can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

They even have the mainstream on board with this nonsense, with groups like the American Heart Association declaring that people can have three sugary drinks a week and still be "healthy."

I wonder if that position has anything to do with all the soda companies on the AHA's Industry Nutrition Advisory Panel. (Take a look at the members here it if you're curious -- and remember, everyone on this list paid the AHA $10K to join.)

The reality is that sugary drinks have been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and even cancer.

If you love your soda, you're not going to like hearing this -- but there's simply no reason to drink this stuff at all, and not just because of the sugar. These drinks are chemical nightmares. Even the coloring used in many sodas has been linked to cancer. (Read more here.)

Whatever you do, don't switch to diet. As bad as the real stuff is, artificial sweeteners can be even worse. Aspartame, for example, has been linked to headaches, asthma, seizures, nerve damage, sleep disorders, mood problems, and more.

If you need some fizz, stick to seltzer. Otherwise, make your drink of choice coffee or tea.

Unsweetened, of course.