The Hidden High in Drinks

If you're looking to cut back on sugar, you may already be considering reducing your sweets and chocolate intake. But have you thought about drinks?

Do not overlook the liquid villains! Sugar and health are explicitly linked; excess sugar can have a huge number of health implications - both mental, and physical. In fact, according to a study, 1 in every 100 deaths from obesity related diseases is caused by sugar drinks - so it's important for your wellbeing to have a good idea how much sugar you're consuming through food and drink.

Sugary Drinks Kill 24000 Mexicans every year

If you're looking to cut back on sugar in drinks, you would be misguided to just use your own intuition. Whilst everyone knows fizzy drinks and energy drinks are packed full of sugar (or passed as "diet pop" with the sugar exchanged with a high number of sweeteners), you may be surprised at just how much sugar is disguised within other fairly ordinary drinks. 

We've taken a deeper look below at the sugar content in adult drinks...

Fizzy Drinks

These are the obvious ones and tend to top the list of high-sugar drinks. The average can of pop contains 40 grams of carbohydrates and 150 calories. This sugary drink has also been linked to weight gain and tooth decay.

What's more they often include (or substitute sugar with) a huge number of additives to boot. So we advise you consider your fizzy drink consumption wisely.

There are 39 grams of sugar in a 12 oz Coca-Cola can (Coca-colacompany) which is about 9 teaspoons worth.


Coca cola sugar

Energy Drinks

Famously pioneered by Red Bull, energy drinks are known for their energy-boosting powers, both cognitively and physically. 

A can of Red Bull contains 27 grams (about 7 teaspoons) of sugar, while a can of Monster contains about 54 grams (about 14 teaspoons) of sugar (Healthline)

A combination of sugar and caffeine, energy drinks are sure to get your heart racing and your blood pumping. Consuming beverages sweetened with sugar, like most energy drinks, leads to blood sugar elevations that can be bad for health, especially if you have diabetes. 

These blood sugar elevations have been associated with increased levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, which have been implicated in the development of nearly every chronic disease.


Alcoholic Drinks

Many people don't realise that alcohol can contain a lot of sugar, and that drinking regularly will increase your calorie and sugar intake. Different alcoholic drinks will have varying levels of sugar but to give you a rough idea...

  • A can of cider contains around 22 grams of sugar (5.5 tsp sugar).
  • A bottle of white wine contains around 22.5 grams of sugar (4.5 tsp sugar), whereas the same sized bottle of red wine would be around 2 grams of sugar (half a tsp).
  • If you prefer spirits and mixers you could be looking at 4 to 5.5 teaspoons of sugar per serving. 

4 beers


Alcohol-free Drinks

Even alcohol-free drinks won't give you the all-clear on sugar. Alcohol-free lager can contain around 4 grams of sugar which is a teaspoon per bottle.  


Fruit Juices

Although natural fruit juice is fine in moderation, and is a source of important nutrients such as vitamin C, there are high levels of sugar hidden in these drinks too. Drinking too much fruit juice can significantly spike your blood sugar levels and have a surprisingly high number of calories, which can be an issue if you are on a calorie-controlled diet.

An 8oz glass of orange juice contains 21 grams of sugar and the same amount of apple juice can contain as much as 34 grams of sugar - close to that of a can of coke!


sugar in fruit juice


Social Softs 

As an adult looking for a low-sugar solution, it can feel like an uphill struggle, fighting the hidden sugars in alcoholic as well as alcohol-free drinks. What do you choose when you want an adult, long drink that isn't packed full of sugar or sweeteners? This is where the brand new category of 'Social Softs' comes in - adult 'sessionable' drinks with low sugar and no alcohol (and not just another alcoholic drink with the alcohol removed!). 

The category is pioneered by ZAG who offer a crafted blend of botanicals, that is low sugar and low calorie. There are no hidden sweeteners and no nasties. In fact, ZAG contains less than a teaspoon of sugar per 100ml. Buy from


Social Soft Drink ZAG

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