Whether you’re opting for an energy drink or fruit juice, you’re drinking sugar with every sip. Even if calories aren’t that important when you select your drinks, the extra sugar can lead to diabetes and other health problems. The biggest problem when it comes to sugary drinks is that most people aren’t really aware of just how much sugar they’re chugging down daily.
Discover how much sugar you might be drinking daily and find out why eating fruit is always much better than drinking sugary drinks, whether they’re soda or seemingly healthier fruit juice.
How Much Sugar Is In Your Drink?
Did you know a single 12-ounce can of soda can have as much sugar as three servings of Frosted Flakes breakfast cereal or one cup of chocolate ice cream? The easiest way to visualize the sugar content in sodas is to use either teaspoons of sugar or even sugarcubes.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has clear guideline on sugar content in most drinks. Teaspoons of sugar are in relation to a single 12-ounce serving.
Sports Drink – 2 teaspoons
Lemonade – over 6 teaspoons
Orange Juice – over 7 teaspoons
Sweet Tea – over 8 teaspoons
Powdered Drink Mix – 9 teaspoons
Cola – over 10 teaspoons
Fruit Punch – over 11 teaspoons
Root Bear – over 11 teaspoons
Grape Juice – 12 teaspoons
Orange Soda – 13 teaspoons
The Biggest Offenders for Extra Sugar
A small can of soda contains up to 23 grams of sugar. If you need a visual aid on how much sugar you can drink from the biggest offenders, you can choose between sugarcubes or other sweets, in relation to some of the sweetest drinks in the US and UK.
A 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola contains roughly 10 small sugarcubes or the rough equivalent of a slice of pecan pie. A 34 oz bottle of Coke contains up to 27 sugarcubes, for a total of 108 grams of sugar (and 400 calories!).
A 7-Eleven 44 oz Super Gulp, which included 38 oz of soda and 6 oz ice, brings the total up to a whopping 128 g or 512 calories, more than a quarter of the daily recommended intake for a moderately active person. A 7-Eleven 64 oz Double Gulp of Coca-Cola, which includes 55 oz soda and 9 oz ice has up to 186 grams of sugar, for a total of 744 calories.
Mountain Dew – 34 oz – 124 grams of sugar
Red Bull Energy Drink – 8.3 oz – 27g
Vitamin Water, B-Relaxed Jackfruit and Guava Flavor – 20 oz – 33g
Snapple Lemon Iced Tea - 16 oz – 46g
Minute Maid Orange Juice – 16 oz – 48g
Nesquik Chocolate Milk – 16 oz – 58g
In the UK, Dr. Sebastian Winckler the equivalent in sweets for some of the the biggest offenders, that people often buy without knowing how much sugar they drink daily.
Pret Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice – 500ml – 51g of sugar or
13 McVities Hobnob biscuits
Burger King Super Size Coke – 79.5g or 9 Penguin Milk Chocolate Wafer Bars
Starbucks Venti White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream – 74g or 10 bowls of Nestle Golden Grahams
Costa Massimo Red Berry Cooler – 97.1g
Eat Large Mocha Chiller - 90.5g sugar
Why the Sugar in Fruit Juice is Particularly Dangerous
One of the biggest mistake most people make when it comes to a healthy diet is thinking that fruit juice is just as healthy as fresh fruit, when in fact it can contain as much sugar as sweetened carbonated drinks. Dr. Susan Jebb, professor of diet and population health at Oxford University, claims that all fruit juice should be diluted with water.
“Fruit juice isn’t the same as intact fruit and it has got as much sugar as many classical sugar drinks. It is also absorbed very fast, so by the time it gets to your stomach your body doesn’t know whether it’s Coca-Cola or orange juice, frankly. I have to say it is a relatively easy thing to give up. Swap it and have a piece of real fruit. If you are going to drink it, you should dilute it”, said the Oxford professor.
Unlike fruit, which usually contains a lot of fiber, fruit juice has the same or more sugar, but lacks the dietary fiber. This is particularly important because fiber slows down the absorption rate of sugar. Without it, the sugar is quickly absorbed, flooding the blood stream, increasing the risk of diabetes. The excess sugar is turned into fat and the liver is exhausted by having to process the large quantities found in most sodas and fruit juices.