How much sugar is hiding in your kid's favourite drink?

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You'll be horrified to find out...

Kids and soft drinks - they love each other a little too much as most parents know. And while we give in to their demands from time to time, we know that soft drinks, even juices, can be quite bad for our kids due to the the high levels of sugar they contain.

But do you just just how much sugar your kids are consuming via such drinks? 

According to the Health Promotion Board of Singapore (HPB), your daily intake of sugar should be no more than 8-11 teaspoons. This is around 10% of your daily calorie intake. 

But a recent article by the Straits Times highlights just how much more than this your family might be consuming, especially if they are fans of popular soft drinks found in Singapore. 

Here's the breakdown - and be warned, the amount of sugar these drinks contain is downright shocking. 

  • Milo original: 16.6g (over a tablespoon)
  • 100 plus original: 19.5g (over a tablespoon)
  • Teh: 22.5g (1.5 tablespoons)
  • Pokka Honey Lemon: 27g (almost 2 tablespoons)
  • Ribena Lightly Sparkling: 31.5g (over 2 tablespoons)
  • Coca Cola original: 35g (almost 2.5 tablespoons)

Sugar in soft drinks: No nutrition

Added sugar - such as that found in these drinks - is what is included in food or beverages during the manufacturing or cooking stage, or at the table. It's really bad for you because it increases your calorie intake massively, while providing no nutritional value at all. 

Getting rid of these empty calories from Singaporeans' diets is one of the things Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong talked about in his rally speech this August. 

"Singaporeans consume, on average, 12 teaspoons of sugar a day. Of this, 5 teaspoons are from sugary drinks, making it an important focus for reducing sugar consumption," says the Straits Times report. 

Not all bad news

Seven major soft drinks manufacturers will reduce sugar content in all their drink in Singapore to 12 percent and below by 2020. This is according to a Ministry of Health (MOH) statement released on August 21. 

They are: Coca-Cola, F&N Foods, Malaysia Dairy Industries, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pokka and Yeo Hiap Seng.

The Straits Times says, "drinks that are above the sugar limit and will be affected include Coca-Cola’s A&W sarsaparilla, Schweppes bitter lemon and Fanta Strawberry, PepsiCo's mug root beer and Mountain Dew, Pokka’s soursop juice drink and guava juice drink, partner brands that it manufactures for - Kickapoo, Sinalco and Green Spot, and Yeo Hiap Seng’s tamarind juice drink."

“These players make up 70 per cent of the total pre-packaged sugar-sweetened beverages market in Singapore. This move could potentially reduce sugar consumption from these beverages by about 300,000kg per year,” they quote the MOH as saying.

Parents, while this is certainly good news for you and your loved one, remember that soft drinks - even with less sugar - are still inferior in terms of nutrition in comparison to say a freshly squeezed orange juice. And as always, water remains the best thirst quencher, and should be your child's first choice of beverage when they come to you asking for something to drink. 

Stay healthy!

Reference: The Straits Times; Image - screengrab, The Straits Times