Most people are aware of the health risks of soda due to its high sugar content. However, there are other drinks with just as much sugar or even more, and some of these are considered — or marketed as — quite healthy. Here’s a list of ten drinks containing about the same amount of sugar as a can of soda.
1. Iced tea
So refreshing on a hot summer day, iced tea is good for you — unless you are buying it canned or bottled instead of making it yourself. In this case, keep in mind that one store-bought bottle of iced tea may contain up to 30 grams of sugar. It is recommended to limit the daily added sugar intake to 45 grams for men (about 9 teaspoons); and 25 grams for women (about 6 teaspoons).
2. Fruit juice
Fruit juices are considered healthy as a potential source of vitamins and fiber, but in fact, most of the fiber an actual piece of fruit contains doesn’t make it to the end product, even if it is freshly squeezed juice. Anything packaged that you buy is no better than soda, containing only a small percentage of real fruit juice although the word “juice” is used on the packaging. A 12-ounce serving of such drink may contain 30 to 40 grams of sugar as well as coloring agents and flavorings.
3. Coconut water
Coconut water, the ultimate thirst quencher, is high in minerals, but only when packaged fresh and not from concentrate. You can get up to 25% of your daily dose of minerals from coconut water, but many drinks bearing this name have little in common with the natural product. They contain about 30 grams of sugar and are artificially flavored. Read the packaging label carefully!
4. Low-sugar soft drinks
The soft drinks labeled “zero sugar” or “light” are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, otherwise they would be completely tasteless. This is why these may pose even greater health risks than sugar-loaded soda while actually only having “zero” vitamin and nutrient content.
5. Hot chocolate
Snuggling into a warm blanket with a cup of hot chocolate is a perfect scenario we all dream about when the summer ends — perfect but for one thing: sugar. A typical cup of hot chocolate contains about 43 grams of sugar.
6. Sweetened yogurt
Love adding flavored yogurt to your breakfast cereal? It sounds great, with all sorts of flavors to choose from, but one serving may contain up to 8 teaspoons of sugar and it has more calories than plain yogurt. With artificial flavorings to top it all, it’s time to get back to plain yogurt and add some of your favorite fruit to it.
7. Energy drinks
A can of energy drink may contain 25 to 45 grams of sugar, plus caffeine and flavorings. It may make you feel alert for a short while, but this is followed by feeling even worse than you did before. If you are tired, a good old cup of coffee is a better option.
8. Sports drinks
Advertised as ultra-hydrating and energizing mixes, these usually give you an energy boost due to their high sugar content — up to 50 grams per bottle. If you want to stay hydrated and healthy, good old-fashioned water usually does the trick, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
Smoothies are very popular and quite healthy due to natural fructose if made with fruit, but they may also contain added sugar. With one serving of this kind of drink, you may be taking in about 52 grams of sugar. Even if it’s natural, you may consider trying vegetable smoothies instead if you need to strictly watch the sugar in your diet.
10. Nondairy milk
Coconut, almond, soy and other varieties of nondairy milk have a taste that’s not to everyone’s liking, so these are often sweetened to improve the taste. If you don’t wish to consume the amount of sugar and calories equivalent to what a big candy bar contains, use unsweetened nondairy milk.
If you prefer a healthy lifestyle, read the labels carefully when buying any products that are listed above. You can also opt for their homemade versions to be on the safe side.