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sugar in our diet–and what we drink.

Choosing what we drink is sometimes an afterthought in the American diet.

Have we really thought of the number of empty calories and the sugar content that we consume?

4 grams of sugar is 1 teaspoon.

The American Heart Association recommends adult women have no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar and men no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams). The list below shows the amount of sugar in grams then teaspoons and the amount of calories in a 12 oz. serving of a few popular sodas. Keep in mind that in the fast food world, a medium size drink is 21 oz and a large is 30! So in essence, double and triple the numbers below!!! ouch.

How much sugar is in that Soda?

Mt. Dew comes in at 65 grams of sugar equal to 17 teaspoons.

Pepsi is 58 grams at 15 teaspoons, and Orange is 49 grams at 12 teaspoons.

Coke, 7 Up and Gingerale are 39, 38 and 32 grams respectively at 10 and 8 teaspoons.

  1. Energy drink  38 grams             10 teaspoons         
  2. Gatorade*        34 grams              9 teaspoons           *20 oz. bottle
  3. Sports drink   20 grams              5 teaspoons            
  4. Fruit drink        42 grams             11 teaspoons   

Hey–what about zero sugar or sugar free beverages?

They must be better….well…A 2015 study in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society found that diet soda has a direct effect on abdominal obesity in adults over 65.1
(2015, Fowler,Sharon P.G., Williams, Ken MS, Hazuda, Helen P, Phd, Journal of American Geriatrics Society.)

Homemade kombucha has even less sugar with a longer ferment.

Image by Melanie Rodriguez from Pixabay

So, I’ll have a vitamin water, or kombucha.

The sugar content of these drinks is still pretty high. See the list below.

Vitamin water (20 oz)            32 grams            8 teaspoons

Kombucha (homemade)  18 grams             5 teaspoons

KeVita ginger                 16 grams              4 teaspoons

KeVita lime, mint, coconut 4 grams 1 teaspoon

Humm Hopped grapefruit 13 grams 3 teaspoons

Humm Ginger juniper 5 grams 1 teaspoon

What are the effects of sugar on the body?

The amount of sugar found in one soda can inhibit your immune system for a minimum of 5 hours. It depletes vitamins and minerals that are needed for immune function such as vitamin C.

Too much sugar leads to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, gum disease, tooth decay, a shorter lifespan, and early puberty in girls.

Diabetes mellitus is caused by a lack of insulin which is made in the pancreas.  Insulin is responsible for the absorption of glucose into the liver.  Type 2 diabetes most of the time occurs over the age of 40 with those that are overweight.

What can we do to curb sugar consumption?

Choose water over soda, by swapping out one soda for water or another sparkly zero-calorie drink, can lower sugar consumption by 25% a day.

Natural sugars from fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose) are still sugar, but healthier than added sugars.  Remember that honey and agave are still sugar.

Mix ½ sweetened drink with ½ unsweetened.

Sip a smoothie in the afternoon instead of that afternoon latte.

Herbs such as lemon balm, any mint such as peppermint, or spearmint is a wonderful refreshing beverage in the summer.

Fruit and herbs are a natural vitamin water.

The next few blogs I will talk more about diabetes and sugar, and alternatives.

Be safe,


“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.”

Proverbs 25:21