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Re-Think Sugary Drinks

What are sugary drinks (or Sugar Sweetened Beverages)?


Sugar sweetened beverages are drinks that have added sugar. Usually, sugar sweetened beverages have minimal nutritional value, although some have added vitamins and minerals, and are high in calories. Examples of drinks that would be considered a sugar sweetened beverage are:
•    Soda or pop
•    Sports drinks
•    Fruit drinks, beverage, punch, drinks ending with ‘-ade’ (such as lemonade) or ‘cocktail’
•    Vitamin waters
•    Energy drinks

Why should we limit sugary drinks?



These drinks are not an essential part of a healthy diet. Sugary drinks are high in calories but do not satisfy and keep us feeling full.  Because we are getting a lot of calories from these drinks, but only small amounts of nutrients that our bodies need, this may lead to weight gain.


Sugary drinks can lead to dental caries and erosion in the teeth. There has also been a link between excess sugar sweetened beverages and type two diabetes and heart disease. Click here for more information on health effects.

It is best to limit drinking these sugary drinks and stick to water or milk to satisfy thirst.

If you do choose a sugar sweetened beverage occasionally, remember that portion size matters. On average a 355 ml can of a sugary drink contains about 7 tsp of sugar (each tsp of sugar is 4 grams of sugar).  Imagine an “upsized” soft drink being 3 times the size of a regular can and having 21 tsp of sugar. Limit sugar by choosing a child sized soft drink.

To see how much sugar is in different drinks see the interactive tool from Healthy Families BC.

A 355ml soda has 41g or 10tsp of sugar

A 591ml soda has 70g or 17.5 tsp of sugar

A large soda (750 ml) at a fast food restaurant has 88.5g or 22 tsp of sugar

Supersize soda drinks can contain 1L and have 118g or 29.5 tsp of sugar 

Source: Healthy Families BC and Coalition Poids
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