Healthy Habits

Avoid beverages that have sugar or other sweeteners high on the ingredient list. Look for sugar, corn syrup, fructose, honey and dextrose.

Healthy Habits

Watch out for the “Diet” sodas. Just because they have little or no calories does not mean they are healthy. Overdoing it with diet soda can rob your body of the calcium that it needs just as regular soda can. Also diet sodas contain just as much caffeine as the regular ones— and they use artificial (man-made) sweeteners.

Healthy Habits

The key to keeping added sugar consumption in check is moderation. Instead of soda, try low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice or water.


Sugar And It’s Many Disguises

Sugar comes in two main forms in drinks: natural and added. Natural sugar exists in things like dairy products and 100% fruit juice. Too much added sugar in your diet can be dangerous. Typical culprits are sports drinks, flavored dairy drinks (chocolate milk) and fruity drinks. Added sugar in beverages hides under other names. Below is a list of names that you might see on an ingredients list. All these names mean added sugar, plus they have the same number of calories as sugar. Your health can be at risk if you drink too much of them! Some risks include tooth decay, weight gain and later in life possibly type 2 diabetes.

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Honey
  • Syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose

Hidden Calories

Beverages can be deceiving. They are often full of calories that we don’t think about because we are not “eating” anything. Calories come from the carbohydrates, protein or fat in the drink. With beverages, most of the calories come from the simple carbohydrates (sugar). Also, sometimes we do not pay attention to serving size when we’re drinking our favorite beverage. Watch out because what we think is a serving could end up being two or three servings. Below is a list of calories for a 12–oz. drink (a can of soda size) and a 20–oz. drink (a bottle of soda size). Look at the difference!

Type of Beverage Calories in 12 ounces Calories in 20 ounces
Fruit punch 192320
100% apple juice192300
100% orange juice 168 280
Lemonade 168280
Regular lemon/lime soda 148247
Regular cola136227
Sweetened lemon iced tea
(bottled, not homemade)
Sports drink 99165
Fitness water 1836
Unsweetened iced tea23
Diet soda (with aspartame)0*0*
Carbonated water (unsweetened) 00
*Some diet soft drinks contain a small number of calories that are not listed on the nutrition facts label.

YOUR TURN: What's in Your Favorite Drink?

Choose three of your favorite beverages. Gather the following ingredients and head to the table for a good look at what you are really drinking

  • A bowl of sugar
  • Measuring spoons
  • Three plastic bags
  • A copy of the "What’s In My Drink Health Trek worksheet"

First start by listing the beverage names on the sheet. Then fill it out according to the directions. You will also measure the sugar content in each of the beverages. To do this, convert the grams of sugar on the nutrition label to teaspoons by multiplying the grams by .25. Do the math and then fill the bag with the appropriate amount of sugar. Pretty eye opening!!

Here is an example:
100% Orange Juice


The bottle of orange juice is 16 oz, but a serving is 8 oz. Here is what the difference is if you drank one serving or the whole bottle:

8 oz 16 oz
Fat0 0
Total Carbohydrates 29g58g
Teaspoons of sugar
(grams of sugar x .25)
7 teaspoons14 teaspoons
*Remember that 100% fruit juices have natural sugar.

Fill out the rest of the worksheet to see what you are really drinking every time you pick up your favorite drink! Remember if there are two or more servings in a drink and you consume the whole container, do the math on the nutrition label to make sure you get the right numbers.



Remember to always check the nutrition label of both foods and beverages. Just because beverages are not eaten does not mean they don’t have calories. There are many hidden, added sugars in beverages geared toward kids and teens. Now that you know all the nicknames for added sugar, you can be on the lookout! Challenge yourself to have more drinks with no added sugar.

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