The Truth About Sugary Drinks

many professional drivers grab a quick drink during fuel ups or other meal stops.  However, understanding what is in those drinks is key to controlling weight and health, especially in a sedentary job like driving. 

However, most people drink at least 16 fluid ounces in one sitting — the usual bottle size sold in convenience store fridges. How do these drinks compare to other foods in terms of calories and sugar content? The following are figures for 8 fluid ounce servings of popular brands’ drinks:

Coca-Cola — 110 calories with 27 grams (g) sugar
Dr. Pepper — 100 calories with 27 g sugar
Mountain Dew — 110 calorie with 31 g sugar
Mug Cream Soda — 120 calories with 32 g sugar
Pepsi — 100 calories with 28 g sugar
Sprite — 100 calories with 26 g sugar

The above figures are as reported by the manufacturers. It is somewhat interesting to note the discrepancy in the sugar measurements and the calories reported. One gram of carbohydrate, which is what sugar is, is equal to 4 calories. If Mountain Dew is only 110 calories and because all of its calories come from sugar, the sugar figure should be reported as only 27.5 g sugar.

However, if the sugar count is actually correct, then the calorie count should equal 124 calories per 8 ounces, not just 110 calories. Though, 10 calories doesn’t make much of a difference over the course of a day unless you’re drinking more than one 8 fluid ounce serving in a day. Even if you drink just one 16 – 16.9 fluid ounce bottle of a popular soft drink, you’ll be consuming 200 – 240 calories and 52 – 65 g sugar.

It is often said that “a calorie is a calorie.” While that’s true, the body doesn’t deal well with an overload of sugar. Too much of one type of macronutrient is a bad thing. If you eat nothing but protein, your liver and kidneys work too hard. If you eat only fat, your kidneys and liver not only work too hard, but the body has to have protein to survive.

If you eat too many carbohydrates, the body breaks down because there isn’t any protein to make necessary repairs. If you eat too much sugar, you run the risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes. To get a better idea of the sugar content of other popular foods and beverages are with around 100 calories have a look at this list:

Beef tenderloin (filet mignon) — 1 ounce is 92 calories and contains no sugar
Caramel coated peanuts — 1 ounce is 114 calories with 12.93 g sugar
Cheddar cheese — 1 ounce is 113 calories with only 0.15 g sugar
Chocolate chip cookies — two medium cookies has 90.5 calories with 7.3 g sugar
Cow’s milk, 2 percent milk fat — 8 fluid ounces has 122 calories and 12.35 g sugar
Granulated sugar — 2 tablespoons is 98 calories with 25.15 g sugar

It’s quite clear that, in comparison, there are some better things to eat and drink in terms of sugar content. The daily recommended limit for sugar is around 30 g. If just one 8 ounce beverage is consumed, it isn’t so bad. It’s when a person’s main beverage sources are sugary that a problem arises.

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