Do you know how much sugar you (and your kids) drink?

¿Que Cantidad de Azúcar Consume Usted? Click here for this material en espanol.

We often do not think about how much sugar we get from what we drink. Sugary drinks don’t fill us up as quickly as food does, so it’s easy to take in more than we need. 

Girl drinking water

5 Alternatives to Sugary Drinks

1. Water—Add lemon or cucumber for flavor, or experiment with these recipes.
2. Sparkling water with natural flavors
3. Unflavored seltzer water with a slice of lemon and a splash of 100% fruit juice
4. Unsweetened iced tea with lemon slices
5. Coffee— black or with a little milk

Tips for Cutting Back

On some days, sugary drinks are hard to avoid entirely. Here are some tips to help you cut back on how much you drink:

  • Look closely at serving sizes and choose an 8 oz can over a 20 oz bottle. Many sugary drinks are more than one serving.
  • Enjoy one soda, then pass on the free refills at restaurants. If you need a second round, ask for water. 
  • Water down soda and juices with seltzer water. 
Teen athlete drinking water

Watch for Hidden Sugars

Added sugar can go by many different names. Check the label on your drink for these hidden sugars:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Honey
  • Agave
  • Cane sugar
  • Any other kind of “syrup” (malt, brown rice, barley, corn, etc.)
  • Generally, anything that ends in “-ose” (dextrose, lactose, glucose, sucrose, etc.)

See How Much Sugar

Some popular beverages are listed below with their common serving size, calories and sugar content. You may be surprised to see how much sugar you are drinking:

  • Frozen Caramel Coffee Coolatta with Cream, 24 oz medium, 740 calories, 23 teaspoons sugar
  • Coca-Cola(R) Classic, 20 oz bottle, 240 calories, 15 teaspoons sugar
  • Pepsi(R), 20 oz bottle, 250 calories, 16 teaspoons sugar
  • Mountain Dew(R), 20 oz bottle, 290 calories, 18 teaspoons sugar
  • Minute Maid(R) Orange Juice, 16 oz bottle, 220 calories, 11 teaspoons sugar
  • PoweradeTM, 20 oz bottle, 125 calories, 8 teaspoons sugar
  • Glaceau Vitamin Water(R), 20 oz bottle, 125 calories, 8 teaspoons sugar
  • Starbucks Bottle Frappuccino(R), 9.5 oz bottle, 200 calories, 8 teaspoons sugar
  • Polar Seltzer(R) 100% Natural Seltzer Water (all flavors), any size, 0 calories, 0 sugar
  • Water, any size, 0 calories, 0 sugar
Sugary soda in glass with ice

Be a Healthy Role Model

Choose non-sugary drinks. Water is the best choice. 

Adapted from Let’s Go! Do you know how much sugar you drink?  Download a printable copy to share with others. 

Why Does It Matter?

Healthy Students Achieve More: Feed your students' learning potential. LEARN HOW

Students who eat healthy meals, including healthy beverages, perform better on tests, have fewer attendance and behavior problems, and achieve more in school. Check out our guide, Healthy Students Achieve More: 3 Ways to Fuel Kids’ Brains for Academic Success, to learn more about what you can do to feed students’ learning potential.