How to Calculate the Amount of Sugar in Drinks


By: , – Elizabeth Fassberg, R.D., Family Circle
  :  14 comments   :  34,388 Views

The enemy in your drinks is sugar. And the empty calories it brings may be causing you to gain weight and damaging your teeth.  A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) survey showed that sugar consumption continues to increase every year and most of that increase was due to people drinking more sweetened beverages.
To figure how much sugar is in your favorite can or bottle, take a look at the label and get ready for some math. Four grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar. So if a drink has 65 grams of sugar, that’s more than 16 teaspoons of sugar. 
Now put on your detective hat. Sugar goes by many names, so don’t be fooled if you don’t see it explicitly on the ingredients list. Look for pseudonyms for the sweet stuff, such as high fructose corn syrup, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, honey, syrup, corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, maple syrup, agave, and molasses.
If the amount of sugar in a drink doesn’t scare you off, then the excess calories will. If you’re having a 20-ounce bottle of soda, then you’ve just consumed about 240 calories worth of empty calories. Sweetened iced tea in a bottle isn’t a better option—a 16 ounce bottle has 200 calories.
You’re probably thinking about “sugar-free” beverages now. But don’t rely on those diet drinks. Just because they don’t have calories does not mean they are healthy. We’re still not sure of the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners, so I say water or seltzer are the best options to quench your thirst!
How much sugar is in your favorite drink?
More from Family Circle:  


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See More: family circle,
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   How to Teach (and Learn) Self-Control as a Parent


    I like plain water. - 8/29/2012   9:15:14 PM
  • 13
    Well, my favorite drink is water, so no sugar. However, I also drink pineapple-orange juice, use other fruit juice in my smoothies and drink milk.

    And herein lies 100% EXACTLY why I despise the "sugar" obsession. If I look up the Pineapple-Orange juice I drink in the morning, I'm supposedly getting 5 teaspoons of sugar. There is no added sugar whatsoever - that is natural fruit sugar. If I look up milk, I'm supposedly getting 3.5 teaspoons of sugar. Again, no added sugar whatsoever - just milk sugars.

    My enemy is not sugar. It is excess. Those 70 pounds lost were not lost by avoiding sugar or panicking about "teaspoons" of sugar in everything. - 8/29/2012   2:33:33 PM
  • 12
    I love the occassional Coke, but it's rare treat. It amazes me that people can drink diet soda all day and not realize the effect is has on their bodies. - 8/29/2012   8:50:22 AM
  • 11
    How many grams of sugar in my drink? ZERO - it's water! - 8/29/2012   7:25:13 AM
  • 10
    I stopped drinking soda a few months ago. I'm not even sure why I drank it anyway. It's always tasted too sweet to me (I'm not a big fan of sweets). Then I just thought about it, I don't like it and it has no nutritional value, so why am I drinking it. I don't miss it at all and like I've heard other people say, I lost a lot of weight the month I stopped drinking it. Now onto those flavored seltzers a few people mentioned....those sound tasty, I may have to try them. - 8/29/2012   6:33:24 AM
    I'm all about diet tonic water with lemon or lime :-) - 8/29/2012   4:03:16 AM
  • 8
    I put on 40 lbs in a year and at least half of that was due to changing my diet and including sweet juices and pops. I have now eliminated those beverages from my regular diet and only drink them when there is no other option or occasionally as a treat. - 8/29/2012   12:24:03 AM
  • 7
    Naturally flavored (sodium-free) seltzer water is great. No sugar, no nothing - just water and natural flavoring. - 8/28/2012   8:28:41 PM
  • 6
    I have not had a soda for 2.5 weeks. I know it hasn't been long, but it feels awesome. I really don't miss it much at all either! - 8/28/2012   7:47:10 PM
  • 5
    I stopped drinking Coke about five years ago. - 8/28/2012   6:53:38 PM
  • LTMD55
    I found this article interesting. I don't use much sugar, since I am a diabetic. I do use articial sweetener.
    - 8/28/2012   6:47:02 PM
  • 3
    I hardly ever buy sweetened drinks anymore, but drinking plain water can seem very bland so I add a little unsweetened fruit concentrate (black cherry or cranberry) and it makes it much more palatable. - 8/28/2012   6:44:53 PM
  • LTMD55
    I found this article interesting. I use very little sugar, since I am a diabetic. I do use artificial sweeteners.
    LTMD55 - 8/28/2012   6:39:46 PM
  • 1
    I've found that sweet drinks are not as effective for curbing my thirst as unsweetened. I discovered the Polar unsweetened, flavored seltzers this summer and *love* them. - 8/28/2012   2:47:48 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


x Lose 10 Pounds by September 2! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.