Sugar-Loaded Drinks

Eating too much sugar is a major contributor to overweight and obesity, especially for LA County’s children. Sugar-loaded drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and even sweetened teas and fruit juices, are a large part of the problem. How much sugar are you drinking? Watch these videos to find out.

Did you know?

  • A 20-ounce soda can contain 65 grams of sugar? That’s approximately 22 packets of sugar in just one bottle. All that added sugar can have serious health consequences. The extra calories in sugar-loaded drinks can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
  • A typical adult has to walk briskly for 46 minutes to burn the calories in a 20-ounce soda.
  • A typical 10-year-old has to bike vigorously for 30 minutes to burn the calories in a 12-ounce soda.

It’s recommended to limit or eliminate sweetened beverages from your diet, replacing sugar-loaded drinks with water, unsweetened beverages and low-fat or non-fat milk.

How much sugar is in a soda?

How much sugar is in a sports drink?

Is sugar hiding in your drink?

Sweeteners that add calories to a beverage go by many different names and are not always obvious to anyone looking at the ingredients list. Some common caloric sweeteners are listed below. If these appear in the ingredients list of your favorite beverage, you are drinking a sugar-loaded drink.

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose

Tips for Healthy Drink Choices:

  • Choose water or low-calorie drinks instead of sugar-loaded drinks.
  • Keep water stocked in your refrigerator and readily available for when you’re thirsty. Carry a bottle with you and refill it throughout the day.
  • Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
  • Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.
  • When you do opt for a sugar-loaded drink, choose a smaller beverage size. An 8-oz. soda contains about 100 calories.


New Reports

Sugar-Loaded Drinks by the Numbers:

  • 46 percent – Percentage of added sugar in our diets that comes from soda, energy drinks, sports drinks and sugar-sweetened fruit drinks.
  • 22 packs Approximate amount of sugar in the average 20 oz. bottle of soda, which also contains 240 calories.
  • 27 percent Increase in likelihood of overweight or obesity for adults who drink one or more sodas or other sugar-loaded drinks each day.
  • 45 gallons Amount of soda the average American drinks annually — that’s 35 pounds of sugar.
  • 60 percent Increase in a child’s risk for obesity with every additional daily serving of soda.

Healthy Drink Alternatives:

  • Watermelon Delight – 
Blend 1/2 cup diced watermelon with 1/2 cup water, strain pulp, and add a lime slice.
  • Citrus Light – 
Cut up oranges, limes, and cucumbers, place them in a pitcher of water for 2 hours, strain and serve.
  • Grape Sparkler
 – Mash a handful of sweet grapes into a bowl, pour juice into a glass and fill to top with seltzer water.
  • Lite Lemonade
 – Mix juice from 1 squeezed lemon with 1 cup water, then add a few drops of honey for sweetness.
  • Watermelon Lemonade
 – Puree 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon with juice from 3 lemons and pour over ice.
  • Fresh Fruit Cooler
 – Blend 1/2 cup ice, 3/4 cup sugar-free sparkling water, 1/3 cup melons or berries until slushy. Garnish with mint leaves or citrus slice.
  • Tropical Smoothie – 
In a blender, puree melon chunks or peach slices with fat-free (skim) milk, crushed ice, and a touch of ginger or cinnamon until smooth.


Featured Videos

Learn more about healthy eating, moving and living in LA County by watching these videos.

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