Now that you know all about added sugar and how much is too much, let’s talk about sugary drinks. Since the same principles apply here, I’m going to keep it short and sweet. Before I cut to the chase, I want to make sure we’re all on the same page about what qualifies as a “sugary beverage.” There are far more drinks on the list than off the list.
Here is the amount of sugar in one cup of some of the most popular sugary beverages. (Remember, 1 teaspoon is roughly equal to 4 grams of sugar. Active adults should limit their added sugar to 6 teaspoons, or 24 grams, per day.)
- Soda (39g of sugar)
- Hawaiian punch (13g sugar)
- Orange juice (21g sugar)
- Apple juice (24g sugar)
- Grape juice (36g sugar)
- Sweet tea (24g sugar)
- Lemonade (25g sugar)
- Half tea, half lemonade (25g sugar)
- Kool-Aid (24g sugar)
- Frappuccino (30g sugar)
- Coffee coolatta (43g sugar)
- Lattes (17-50g sugar)
It’s eye-opening, isn’t it? If you’re regularly drinking any of these beverages then the best thing you can do for yourself is stop. These are a major source of calories that come from added sugar, which means they do no good for your body. If you cut these out, you will not only feel better but you will also meet your health and fitness goals faster.
There is one particular item I want to draw your attention to and that is fruit juice. A couple years ago I would have told you that juice was OK as long as it was 100% juice. Now I know that there’s more to it than that. Many juices are made from 100% juice plus juice concentrate, which means the manufacturers are able to sneak in a lot of extra sugar without including any “added sugars” in the ingredients. It’s tricky, I know.
According to one Canadian doctor, kids should drink no more than 1/2 cup of juice a day. He recommends that juice be treated the same as other sugary beverages, and I agree. If your family drinks a lot of juice, try cutting it down to one cup a day for a while before weaning yourselves off of it completely. Instead of juice, drink fruit infused water for some extra tastiness to a sugar-free beverage.
FitTip: Whenever possible, eat fruit and drink water instead of drinking fruit juice. Apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar per serving and essentially no fiber. An apple contains 19 grams of sugar and 4.4 grams of fiber. Orange juice contains 21 grams of sugar per serving and essentially no fiber. An orange contains 9 grams of sugar and 2.3 grams of fiber. Eating the fruit is always the better option.