Added sugar is something that should be enjoyed only in moderation, particularly from sugar sweetened beverages. While certain foods that contain added sugar – like some yogurts, for example – also provide nutritional value (like vitamins and minerals), sugar sweetened beverages typically provide no nutritional value. The added sugars in these beverages can contribute to obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
The recommendations for your daily limit of added sugar (from both foods and drinks) are generally based on your calorie level. For a 2000 calorie diet, the USDA recommends no more than 130 calories from added sugar. This is equal to about 32 grams of sugar or 8 teaspoons. Sound like a lot? You’d be surprised when you start adding up the added sugar in many foods and drinks – most people consume more than this recommendation! 8 teaspoons is less than the amount of sugar in one can of soda.
Want to test your knowledge about how much sugar is in some of those drinks you might love? Take our quick quiz (or if you want to skip this, you can scroll down to see some ideas for healthier beverage options!)…
1) How many teaspoons of sugar are in one 12 ounce can of soda?
a) 6 teaspoons
b) 2 teaspoons
c) 10 teaspoons
2) How many calories are in one 12 ounce can of soda?
a) 110 calories
b) 120 calories
c) 140 calories
3) How many teaspoons of sugar are in one 20 ounce bottle of Gatorade?
a) 9 teaspoons
b) 6 teaspoons
c) 10 teaspoons
4) How many calories are in one 20 ounce bottle of Gatorade?
a) 160 calories
b) 125 calories
c) 100 calories
5) How many teaspoons of sugar are in a 7-Eleven Super Gulp (assuming 38 ounces of soda and 6 ounces of ice)?
a) 32 teaspoons
b) 28 teaspoons
c) 40 teaspoons
6) How many calories are in a 7-Eleven Super Gulp (assuming 38 ounces of soda and 6 ounces of ice)?
a) 460 calories
b) 512 calories
c) 380 calories
7) How many teaspoons of sugar are in a 16 ounce can of Rockstar energy drink?
a) 15.5 teaspoons
b) 17 teaspoons
c) 19 teaspoons
8) How many calories are in a 16 ounce can of Rockstar energy drink?
a) 520 calories
b) 162 calories
c) 248 calories
9) How many teaspoons of sugar are in a 24 ounce can of Arizona Iced Tea?
a) 14 teaspoons
b) 21 teaspoons
c) 18 teaspoons
10) How many calories are in a 24 ounce can of Arizona Iced Tea?
a) 290 calories
b) 250 calories
c) 270 calories
11) How many teaspoons of sugar are in a 20 ounce bottle of B-relaxed Vitamin water?
a) 20 teaspoons
b) 8 teaspoons
c) 5 teaspoons
12) How many calories are in a 20 ounce bottle of B-relaxed Vitamin water?
a) 125 calories
b) 150 calories
c) 100 calories
1) c – 10 teaspoons in that little can!
2) c – 140 calories – you’d have to walk for a mile and a half to burn off that one soda.
3) a – 9 teaspoons – that’s right, almost as much as a can of soda.
4) b – 125 calories – these calories and the sugar are needed if you’re exercising over 1 hour, but if not, avoid drinking these regularly! You can easily drink most of the calories you’re burning in a short exercise session.
5) a – 32 teaspoons – that’s 2/3 of a cup of sugar in that Super Gulp!
6) b – 512 calories – which is equal to 1/3rd to 1/4th of many peoples calorie needs, all in a soda!
7) a – 15.5 teaspoons – energy drinks have tons of calories and sugar, very little nutrition, and many times they have detrimental amounts of caffeine and herbs.
8) c – 248 calories
9) c – 18 teaspoons – Stick with unsweetened iced teas!
10) c – 270 calories
11) b – 8 teaspoons – Even something that sounds healthy like “vitamin water” can still be a less than stellar choice. The truth is, if you’re eating a variety of healthy food each day, you don’t need to drink a water with vitamins. Instead, save the calories and sugar and drink plain water!
12) a – 125 calories
Healthier beverage options
Consider these other beverage options to reduce your sugar sweetened beverage intake. The following contain either no sugar or only a few grams sugar:
- Water – either plain or jazzed up with cucumbers, lemon, lime, watermelon, or blueberries!
- Seltzer water – this is different from club soda. Seltzer water is just water with natural flavor and bubbles. You can mix seltzer water with 100% fruit juice (try a 75% seltzer/25% juice mix) if you prefer something more flavorful. For example, I love a large glass of seltzer with a splash of grapefruit or pomegranate juice (both have strong flavors that mix well with the seltzer).
- Unsweetened black, green, or herbal iced teas. If you’re out and about, my very favorite drink is a Starbucks Unsweetened Passion Tea – it is amazingly tasty!
- Milk – Regular dairy milk does contain 3 teaspoons of sugar, but it’s all naturally occurring lactose sugar.
- Unsweetened soy milk or almond milk – these typically contain only about 45 calories and only a small amount of sugar per serving.
- Unsweetened coffee – If you’re a coffee junkie, think twice before ordering that “light and sweet” version. It’s packed with added sugar and cream. Instead, go for black coffee with milk, and then if you must, add a small amount of sweetener.
Share with us: How did you do on the quiz? Anything surprise you? What’s your favorite healthy beverage option?