By Sandra Roycroft-Davis, creator of Slimpod

SUGAR in energy drinks and so-called “healthy” fruit juices are increasingly being blamed for creating a double crisis of obesity and bad behaviour in schools. I was shocked by the revelations from the campaign Action On Sugar which showed that some energy drinks that teenagers consume can contain up to 20 teapsoons of sugar.

That’s enough to fill almost two-thirds of the can with unhealthy and unnecessary calories.

Action On Sugar surveyed 197 energy drinks and found that 78 per cent of them would use a red label for high sugar in the Food Standards Agency guidelines were applied to them.

Worst for high sugar content was Sainsbury’s Orange Energy Drink, which had almost 16 grams of sugar per 100ml. So if you drank 500ml you’d be “eating” more than 20 teaspoons of sugar. Would you let your child eat that much sugar in one go?

Energy drinks are not only high in sugar content, they also contain caffeine. The combination of suagr and caffeine produces an energy rush which can make children hyperactive. Drink a can on the way to school and you can imagine the conquences.

The University of Glasgow has carried out a study which shows that most of us underestimate just how much sugar is in drinks from cola to fruit juice. Some drinks are so full of sugar that they can account for as much of a quarter of a woman’s recommended daily intake!

One interesting detail from the survey is the fact that although people assumed there was a lot of sugar in fizzy drinks and milkshakes, people underestimated how much sugar is in smoothies and fruit juices. For example, people assumed that the average smoothie had four teaspoons of sugar in, when actually it has the equivalent of six; the numbers are the same for orange juice.

sugar in energy drinks and juices shocking facts

People also guessed that a bottle of chocolate milkshake had about 6 teaspoons of sugar in it, when actually it was over 13. Glucose energy drinks, such as Lucozade, have around 16 teaspoons of sugar in, but the average guess was nine!

Of course, we would assume that a lot of these drinks are high in sugar, even if we don’t realise how much – but is shocking is the amount of sugar in so called “healthy” drinks such as smoothies and fruit juice.

For example – 500ml of pomegranate juice contains a whopping 18.5 teaspoons of sugar; there are over ten teaspoons in the same amount of orange juice. When we’re trying to eat and live healthily we can so often be caught out by the hidden sugars in the foods and drinks that we think will be good for us, so always look out for the sugar content because so often there is a lot more than you think.


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