Soft drinks are drinks that are not alcoholic, an industry that fills vending machines, supermarket shelves, convenience store offerings and homes. The most popular soft drinks are carbonated beverages like soda, but there are plenty of low-sugar alternatives available in soda as well as in beverages like energy drinks and soft drinks. Consume the highest-sugar alternatives or avoid them altogether to sidestep a stream of calories.
Pepsi vs. Coke
The sugar content of most sodas is approximately the same at about 40g per 340gr, or about 9.8 tsp of sugar. Pepsi has 150 calories worth of sugar per 340gr., while Coca-Cola has 1/2 tsp less sugar in it, or 140 calories. Many sodas are sold in larger containers at 567gr. or in the 2-liter size, inviting far more sugar consumption than in an 236ml. serving . Pepsi and Coke aside, most sodas contain about 155 calories from sugar per every 340gr.
Some sodas rank above the level of most sodas, such as Mountain Dew which has 46g of sugar in 567gr. The sugar level translates to 170 calories per serving. Along with the caffeine content, Mountain Dew is sure to give anyone a quick energy lift, but may leave some cavities behind in the process. Variations like Mountain Dew Throwback, Baja Blast and Voltage contain the same amount of sugar. In addition to Mountain Dew are sugar-packed fruit sodas like Fanta. Fruit-flavoured sodas don't win any points for their nutritional advantage. With 60g per 354ml., the sugar in Fanta Orange-flavoured soda comes directly from corn syrup. Fruit juices are naturally high in sugar, but there is none included here although the red and yellow food colouring added to the soda gives the appearance of orange juice. As a less sugary alternative, try 177ml. of orange juice mixed with 170gr. of seltzer, which has less than 20g of sugar -- a definite improvement that still has the carbonated fizz of orange soda.
Fortunately for athletes who want to avoid a sugar crash, many sports drinks catered to them are lower in sugar at around 15g per 236ml. Still made with high fructose corn syrup, the drinks focus on replenishing potassium, sodium and carbohydrates. The carbohydrates come from sugar content and are a primary source of quick energy for athletes who need a little boost during activity.
These energy drinks are often packed with stimulants and vitamins, what many consider to be "magical ingredients." Those ingredients cannot take all the credit -- many energy drinks are just as high if not higher in sugar than soda. In 454gr. of Sobe Energy Adrenaline Rush, you'll find 66g of sugar. In the same amount of AMP energy, you'll find 58g. Teamed with the sugar is often enough caffeine to send someone flying. Just as with soda, the "sugar-free" versions of energy drinks are flavoured with artificial sweeteners, often Splenda or Acesulfame potassium.
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- Dr. Robyn Silverman; Hey Sugar, Sugar! How much sugar is in my child's juice?
- Boston.com; Sugar in Soda
- Energy Fiend; Amp Sugar Free Energy Drink: New and Improved?
- Energydrinktruth.com; Energy Drink Truth- Is Diabetes in Your Future?
- American Beverage Association; Know Your Ingredients