When is limeade worse than a lemon-lime soda? When it contains more sugar than actual juice. Here's how to avoid sugary traps.
Soda’s health risks became one of the biggest health topics of last year when New York City banned large sugary drinks in September.
Championed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an effort to reduce obesity, the measure prohibits restaurants, movie theaters, and other venues from selling sizes larger than 16 ounces.
The media seemed to focus on sodas, as the ban became known as the “soda ban.” But sodas aren’t alone. We’ve rounded up a list of other drinks with even more sugar than a can of Coca-Cola, which has 45 grams (Pepsi has 41).
How to spot a sugary drink
1. Know your limit. You can’t avoid excess sugar if you don’t understand how much is too much. For the average person, the American Heart Association recommends…
- Women: Limit added sugar intake to 100 calories (about 6 teaspoons, 6 sugar cubes, or 30 grams) a day
- Men: Limit added sugar intake to 150 calories (about 9 teaspoons, 9 sugar cubes, or 45 grams) a day
That means one soda is enough to reach your daily limit.
2. Consider the source. Not all sources of sugar are bad for you. For example, the sugar in real orange juice comes from real oranges, which are naturally sweetened by Mother Nature. The sugar in the drinks below was added by the manufacturer. To avoid added sugar, scan ingredient lists for words like “sugar,” “fructose,” “corn syrup,” and “high fructose corn syrup.”
3. Read carefully. FDA rules allow manufacturers to use the word “juice” on packaging – “juice drink” and “juice cocktail” are common examples – even if it’s not 100 percent juice. Simply Lemonade, for example, contains only 11 percent real fruit juice. So you can’t trust what’s written on the front of a drink. Only the ingredient list must tell the truth.
If you’re eating (or drinking) out, you can ask to see nutrition info or ingredients or check their website. But FDA rules don’t require restaurants to share nutrition information unless the drink or dish bears a claim like “low-fat.” I find that most major chains at least post the information on their websites, though.
These drinks all contain more than 45 grams of sugar per 12 ounces, or a Starbucks “tall” size.
- Starbucks’ White Chocolate Mocha: 46
- Starbucks’ Java Chip Frappuccino Blended Beverage: 46
- Minute Maid Citrus Punch: 46.5
- Minute Maid Grape Punch: 46.5
- Minute Maid Limonada Lemonade: 46.5
- Welch’s Sparkling Juice Cocktails (all eight flavors): 46.5 or more
- Starbucks’ White Hot Chocolate: 47
- Starbucks’ Peppermint Hot Chocolate: 47
- Starbucks’ Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino Blended Beverage: 48
- Dunkin’ Donuts’ Frozen Caramel Coffee with skim milk: 49
- Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate: 49
- Starbucks’ White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino Blended Beverage: 49
- Minute Maid Cherry Limeade Fruit Drink: 49.5
- Welch’s Chillers Grape Flavor: 49.5
- Welch’s Refrigerated Cocktails (all 11 flavors): 49.5 or more
- Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino: 50
- Welch’s Essentials (all four flavors): 51 or more
- Starbucks’ Caramel Apple Spice: 57