The hidden calories in soft drinks


We all know the importance of keeping our fluid intake up, particularly as the weather gets warmer. But which drink you choose can have a profound effect on your waistline! According to the NHS guidelines, we should be drinking around 1600mls of liquid every day if you are a women and even more for a man. That works out to be around a 200ml glass 8 times a day – more if you are out in the sun or exercising.

To maintain a healthy balance of liquid in your system you don’t have to be just drinking water – tea, fruit juice etc all count. However, before you reach for the nearest can of cool fizzy drink or carton of fruit juice you might want to consider the calorie cost of your drinks choice.

How much sugar is in your soft drink?

Many fizzy drinks are loaded with sugars! A 330ml can of lemonade can have around 14g of sugar, while Coca-Cola and Pepsi have around 35g of sugar per can. Given that the World Health Organisation has advocated halving its recommended daily allowance for an adult to just 25g per day (less than a can of coke for your entire day) you can see just how unhealthy these drinks are considered to be!

But it is not just the old culprits that you have to watch out for. It has been reported recently in the news that more high-end ‘artisan’ beverages, sold by many supermarkets now days, such as sparkling elderflower drinks, cloudy lemonade or ginger beer, have even higher levels of sugar than traditional fizzy drinks! And it’s not just the fizzy ones your need to avoid. Many soft juice drinks are also full of sugar. A 500ml bottle of ready-to-drink Ribena contains over 50g of sugar and 215 cals.

If you thought sticking to pure fruit juice was the answer, you’d be wrong. Although fruit juice does at least count to your one a day, you may not realise just how many calories you are taking in. An 8 oz. glass of orange juice contains 112 calories, and 21 g of sugar – that’s a lot more than a single portion of fruit contains. We often forget that it takes a lot of oranges or apples to fill a glass of juice and therefore you are consuming many more calories than if you just ate one apple or orange on its own. And with the juice you also miss out on the fibre that would normally slow down the absorption of sugars in our system.

So, this summer, do keep remembering to drink, but:

  • Opt for low or no-sugar products
  • Really dilute your juice drinks to give just a hint of flavour
  • Check the nutritional information on your drinks bottles, so you know what you are consuming
  • Keep a jug of water in your fridge, perhaps with a slice of lemon or some mint leaves to tempt you are feeling thirsty.