50 Drinks With More Sugar Than a Hershey's Bar
Enjoying an occasional sugary drink is fun and, of course, delicious, but some of your favorite drinks—even those that seem healthy—are actually loaded with sugar. And yes, that means they're doing you more harm than good.
In fact, drinks on the market actually have the same amount, if not much more, sugar than you would find in a Hershey's chocolate bar, which contains 24 grams of added sugar. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that for women, they should consume no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar and for men, 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons. So after sipping on just one or two of these beverages, you can quickly blow past the recommended daily sugar intake. In fact, beverages are the top source of added sugars.
So why exactly are added sugars a problem? According to Brittany Modell, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Brittany Modell Nutrition and Wellness, "added sugar can raise your blood sugars, and over time, this can lead to pre-diabetes or diabetes. Added sugar can also lead to inflammation and cardiovascular disease."
If your favorite beverages to happen to be on this list, Modell recommends switching them for other options, such as "flavored seltzer, unsweetened iced tea, and no added sugar varieties but watch out for artificial flavors!"
With these health tips in mind, here are 50 the most sugary drinks packing the same amount, or more sugar than a Hershey's bar, ranked from bad to the absolute worst.
You might not drink Kool-Aid as much as you did when you were younger, but you might be serving it up as a quick drink to the kids inf your life after they spend a day playing outside. But Kool-Aid contains around 24 grams of sugar per 12 ounce serving.
One cup of this cozy beverage has, unsurprisingly, the same amount of sugar as a Hershey's bar. But once you add the marshmallows, which—let's face it—are essential, you'll be consuming even more sugar.
It's really no surprise that a chocolate beverage would contain the same amount of sugar as a chocolate bar. You'll find 24 grams of sugar in one 8-ounce cup of regular chocolate milk. Maybe you should drink something else after that workout…
Orange juice is delicious, and no one is complaining about the boost of vitamin C. But an 8-ounce glass of this juice can contain up to 26 grams of sugar, depending on the brand. Modell recommends blending super-sweet, sugary drinks like orange juice with water to cut down on the sugar content.
Aside from mint, sugar is what really gives a mojito its flavor, which is why you'll find about 24 to 26 grams of it in this drink. However, this is an easy one to make at home to have more control over the amount of sugar that goes in the drink.
Monster energy drink
Compared to some of the other energy drinks, Monster is slightly lower in sugar, but still contains 3 more grams than a Hershey's bar for a total of 27 grams per serving.
Horchata is a sweet, rich rice and cinnamon drink that is unbelievably smooth, creamy—and sweet. A serving of horchata can contain around 26 grams of sugar, and if you drink a store-bought drink or mix, you'll find closer to 29 grams of sugar per serving.
In homemade sweet tea, you'll likely find at least 25 grams of sugar. But at a restaurant or bottled beverage from the grocery, you might see much more added sugars. Need an example? Well, a medium McDonald's sweet tea has 28 grams of sugar.
There's a reason why you only taste sweet, fruity flavors rather than alcohol when you indulge in a wine cooler—a Seagram's Escapes beverage has about 26 to 28 grams of sugar per bottle.
AMP energy drink
Energy drinks are problematic for many reasons, sugar being one of them. The popular AMP energy drinks include 29 grams of sugar in just one can; the jolt of energy might be nice, but the sugar crash shortly after will not be.
Is there anything more refreshing than a cherry or blue raspberry Icee on a hot summer day? Unfortunately, this fun slushie drink contains 29 grams of sugar in just 8 ounces, although the cups offered for Icees are typically far larger, from 32 to 64 ounces. This means a 32-ounce Icee has 116 grams of sugar (about five Hershey's bars), and a 64-ounce Icee has 232 grams of sugar (about 10 Hershey's bars). No thanks!
Rockstar energy drink
Let's do some math here: 8 ounces of a Rockstar energy drink include 29 grams of sugar. But a can of Rockstar measures out to 16 ounces, meaning you are consuming 58 grams of sugar in just one beverage!
Cranberry juice is a sweet, yet tart drink that is good alone or mixed with other drinks, right? But in 8 ounces of this juice, you'll consume 31 grams of sugar. Big no. If you love the flavor, try mixing it with water to lower the amount of sugar you are ingesting.
On its own, a latte is simply espresso and steamed milk, meaning it is a low-sugar drink. But typically, lattes are served with flavored syrups, which are full of sugar. A non-fat milk vanilla latte at Starbucks, for example, has 31 grams of sugar.
Flavored Water (Vitaminwater)
In flavored water, such as Vitaminwater, you'll consume around 32 grams of sugar in a 20-ounce bottle. Skip the gimmicks; you can get the vitamins your body needs with a well-balanced diet, and you can hydrate with regular water. And add fresh fruit for flavor!
Like most sodas, ginger ale is just full of sugar. It's what makes soda taste good, we know but still, best to avoid if you can. One 12-ounce bottle or can of ginger ale is packing 32 grams of sugar.
Any beverage with the word water in it will sound harmless, but tonic water is water mixed with a bitter alkaloid called quinine. Plenty of added sugar helps balance this bitterness; one can or bottle of tonic water includes about 32 grams of sugar.
Lipton Iced Tea
An ice-cold Lipton tea sounds refreshing on a hot day, but a 12-ounce serving of this drink contains 32 grams of sugar. Choose an unsweetened variety for a healthier option.
Matcha is praised for its health benefits, but when mixed with sugar to make a matcha latte, it quickly becomes unhealthy. The popular matcha latte at Starbucks has 32 grams of sugar in a 16-ounce cup.
Sweet and tropical, a pina colada contains 32 grams of sugar in one serving. You can make a lighter version right at home by swapping coconut milk for coconut water and by using fresh juice rather than a mix.
You might cool down with a refreshing limeade, but just an 8-ounce glass of this drink will have you crashing in no time thanks to its 33 grams of sugar.
The sugar content in a vanilla chai varies by brand, but the flavored syrups or powders used to make this drink are full of sugar. For example, even the small vanilla chai at Dunkin' contains 33 grams of sugar.
Similar to the latte, a flavored macchiato typically contains a lot of sugar, although a plain macchiato contains just espresso and a very small amount of milk, making it low in sugar. A 16-ounce caramel macchiato contains about 33 grams of sugar, where a plain macchiato contains no sugar and only 15 calories.
Long Island Iced Tea
Because Long Island Iced Teas contain cola and sweet-and-sour mix, they also come with a lot of added sugar. An 8-ounce glass contains about 33 grams of sugar.
Sports drinks are healthy, right? Not quite. See in a 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade, which is easily consumed after a long hike or afternoon of basketball, there are 34 grams of sugar. If you want to enjoy this drink with less sugar, just reduce your portion size, or go for one of these foods that great for hydration.
Arizona Iced Tea
Like the popular Lipton tea, Arizona Iced Tea also comes with a lot of sugar per serving. In the same 12 ounces of Arizona tea, there are 35 grams of sugar.
Starbucks Caffe Mocha
So we know that the Frappuccinos are not far from being just sugar in a cup, but Starbucks has several other beverages that are also quite sugary. In a grande caffe mocha, you'll find 35 grams of sugar.
Looking to enjoy a drink with dinner? Opt for a simple margarita with fresh lime juice, as the premade mixes contain about 30 grams of sugar per serving.
Grape juice is one of the most sugary juice options available, yet it is often marketed as a healthy drink option for kids. In a cup of 100 percent grape juice, you'll find 36 grams of sugar.
Red Bull energy drink
One of the worst of the bunch in terms of sugar content, Red Bull energy drinks include 37 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce can. It might not give you wings, but Red Bull will give you a headache and a sugar crash.
Cold-pressed juice often touts many health benefits, but did you know these sweet beverages are also loaded with sugar? Much of the sugar in these juices are from fruit, but some also include added sugars. Even without added sugar, you can find 37 grams of sugar in one bottle of juice. You're probably better off enjoying a fresh piece of fruit instead.
The amount of sugar in a smoothie can vary widely, depending on how much and what types of fruit, milk, and add-ins are included. Average smoothies can contain anywhere from 30-60 grams of sugar, so opt for making your own! You can use unsweetened liquids (like non-dairy milk rather than orange juice), plain yogurts, and low-sugar fruits for a lower sugar smoothie. Don't forget to add greens, too!
Lemon-lime sodas like Sprite are often recommended for those with bellyaches, but 38 grams of sugar in a can certainly won't make you feel much better. Opt to hydrate with water instead.
A standard-sized can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar. Even the mini 7.5-ounce cans contain 25 grams of sugar, more than the 24 grams found in a Hershey's bar.
Peace Teas are a popular choice for road trips, as these tall cans of tea offer a lot to drink for only a dollar or two. But flavored teas, like the popular Georgia Peach Peace Tea, have much more sugar than a Hershey's bar. This peach-flavored tea contains 39 grams of sugar in a can.
Root beer is a unique soda as it is typically caffeine-free, but it is loaded with sugar at 39 grams per 12-ounce can. Plus, who can resist adding vanilla ice cream, also full of sugar, to make a delectable root beer float?
Apple juice is commonly packed in lunch boxes or served with an after-school snack, but this drink can contain anywhere from 24 to nearly 40 grams of sugar per serving.
Lemonade is another beverage with a sugar content that varies depending on how it is made. Typically, a 12-ounce glass or bottle of this refreshing drink comes with a shocking 40 grams of sugar. It's easy to consume far more than that, too, as lemonade is a drink that is easy to enjoy several glasses of in one sitting.
Pepsi cola is even worse in terms of added sugar than Coca-Cola, with more than 41 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce can.
Like most soda, Fanta also comes packed with sugar—44 grams to be exact! If you love the fruity, fizzy flavor, try a sparkling water or kombucha instead.
Mountain Dew is the poster child for sugary drinks. This bubbly, neon green drink has 46 grams of sugar in one bottle, which is nearly two times the recommended maximum daily amount.
While it might not be as popular as it once was, Yoo-hoos still take up shelf space at the market. In one bottle of Yoo-hoo, there are 47 grams of sugar, which is about 11 teaspoons!
Ginger beer is similar to ginger ale, but it is fermented and has a stronger flavor. It also has more sugar, with more than 48 grams in just 12 ounces of ginger beer.
The amount of sugar in a milkshake depends on where you purchase it or how you make it, ranging from 10 grams to nearly 200 grams of sugar in just one milkshake… yikes! This is a treat best reserved for special occasions and split with friends.
Frappuccinos are notorious for their sugar content. This isn't an energizing cup of coffee—this is an ultra-sugary concoction with perhaps a splash of the caffeinated drink. A standard grande caramel Frappucino contains 55 grams of sugar.
Would you like a little coffee with that sugar? The popular McDonald's frappe contains an astonishing amount of sugar in each cup: 55 grams in a small (about 13 teaspoons), 67 grams in a medium (about 16 teaspoons), and 89 grams in a large (about 21 teaspoons).
If you are enjoying this drink at a restaurant, a 16-ounce cup of Hi-C fruit punch contains a whopping 56 grams of sugar. Not the kind of juice you should be having!
Naked Juices fly off the supermarket shelves as a quick breakfast or snack option that sounds healthy. But even though these drinks typically have no sugar added, they still contain more than 50 grams of sugar per bottle, like the Mighty Mango flavor which clocks in at 57 grams of sugar, far more than a Hershey's bar and well over the recommended daily limit of sugar intake. These beverages are also low in fiber; skip the juice and opt for whole fruits instead.
SoBe is a Pepsi-owned brand of teas, juices, and flavored waters with packaging that makes them sound healthy. But pick up the popular Citrus Energy and you'll find a shocking amount of sugar—63 grams, to be exact.
Dr Pepper is another popular soda, and a 20-ounce bottle contains 64 grams of sugar. Flavored varieties can have even more—cherry Dr Pepper has a whopping 69 grams for the same amount. Pretty sure any real doctor would tell you to avoid drinking this soda, no matter what.
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