We all know that sweetened beverages contain sugar, but we may not realize just how much sugar is in our favorite summertime lemonade, pre-sweetened ice tea, or 12-ounce bottle of soda.
When you read the nutrition label, sugar content is listed in weight by grams. Put that into more easily understood household measurements, and 4 grams of sugar on the label is equal to 1 teaspoon of table sugar. That’s one measuring teaspoon, not the spoon you use to eat your cereal or stir your coffee. For example, a 12-ounce bottle of soda typically contains 39 grams of sugar. 39 grams is equal to almost 10 teaspoons of sugar. Measure out ten teaspoons of sugar and put it in a glass – you’ll be surprised at how much sweetener you drink!
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women, and no more than 9 teaspoons for men. That means even one 12-ounce bottle of soda puts you over your recommended daily added sugar goals. Why does the Heart Association care about how much sugar we consume?
- Too much sugar can raise our body’s level of triglycerides, which increases risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Sweetened beverages are one of the primary causes of overweight and obesity, which also increases our risk of heart disease.
Add up the sugar you consume in one day, both from sugar you add to your food and beverages yourself (sugar in tea or coffee, homemade iced tea or lemonade, sugar on cereal, etc.) as well as from sweetened beverages. Once you know your usual daily intake of added sugar, you can set goals to gradually decrease that amount until you reach the American Heart Association recommendations. Your body will thank you!