HOUSTON -

Soda sales are taking a big dip and experts point to more health conscious Americans for the reason why.

This year, Americans will guzzle 3.5 fewer gallons of soda a person than we did five years ago.

Soda sales are slumping more than 3 percent. Diet sodas took an even bigger hit with more than a 7 percent drop.

Why? Some say increasingly health conscious consumers who want to cut back on sugar and sugar substitutes.

The news is pleasing to health professionals like Internal Medicine Dr. Nicholas Solomos with Kelsey-Seybold Meyerland Clinic.

"Well, sugary drinks are basically liquid calories with no nutritional value," said Dr. Solomos.

Dr. Solomos said sweet drinks can contribute to obesity and diabetes.

"One of the first things we talk about when we talk about control of weight is... (consumption of) sweet drinks or sodas,” he added. “That is a very easy place to make a big difference in terms of weight loss and general health."

One of the upsides to this is that water is in demand. Trendy bottled water is edging out soda on store shelves.

"If you're going to choose between a diet soda and water, we definitely prefer water," Dr. Solomos said.

Industry insiders say the soda slowdown may also be tied to concerns about artificial sweeteners. This as one of the most comprehensive review of human and animal studies declares the artificial sweetener aspartame safe at recommended levels.