Objective To examine American beverage consumption trends and causes. Methods Nationally representative data from the 1977–1978 Nationwide Food Consumption Survey, the 1989–1991 and 1994–1996 (also for children aged 2 to 9 years in 1998) Continuing Surveys of Food Intake by Individuals (CSFII), and 1999–2001 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used in this study. The sample consisted of 73,345 individuals, aged ≥2 years. For each survey year, the percentage of total energy intake from meals and snacks was calculated separately for respondents aged 2 to 18 years, 19 to 39, 40 to 59, and ≥60. The percentage of energy intake by location (at home consumption or preparation, vending, store eaten out, restaurant/fast food, and school), as well as for specific beverages was computed separately for all age groups. The proportion consumed, mean portion size, and number of servings were calculated. Results For all age groups, sweetened beverage consumption increased and milk consumption decreased. Overall, energy intake from sweetened beverages increased 135% and was reduced by 38% from milk, with a 278 total calorie increase. These trends were associated with increased proportions of Americans consuming larger portions, more servings per day of sweetened beverage, and reductions in these same measures for milk. Conclusions There is little research that has focused on the beneficial impacts of reduced soft drink and fruit drink intake. This would seem to be one of the simpler ways to reduce obesity in the United States.