The shocking truth about sugar in our drinks

Photo by Fabio Venni (2007) is licenced under CC BY 2.0

The effects of too much sugar on our general and dental health are widely known. Too much sugar causes tooth decay, obesity, heart disease and type II diabetes. Recently the World Health Organisation have been considering cutting the daily recommended sugar intake in half, while a new study carried out at University College London is calling for the recommended daily intake of added sugars to be reduced to 14g –  just 3 cubes of sugar per day. These proposed guidelines apply to sugars which are added to food and drinks. Most people wouldn’t dream of adding 5 sugars to their tea or coffee, but may be unwittingly drinking the equivalent in a soft drink. So how much is too much? And which drinks are the best options? Our nurse Lucie hit the supermarkets to uncover the shocking truth about just how much sugar is in some widely available drinks – with some surprising results!

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Capri Sun 200ml serving = 20g sugar                       Oasis 500ml bottle = 20g sugar                Volvic Touch of Summer Fruits 500ml = 22.5g sugar


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Vimto 500ml bottle = 33g sugar                                     Coke 330ml can = 35g sugar                                  Ribena 500ml bottle = 50g sugar


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7up 500ml bottle = 53g sugar                         Monster Taurine and Ginseng 500ml = 55g sugar             Lucozade 500ml bottle = 62.5g sugar

One Capri Sun 200ml serving contains as much sugar as a standard Aero bar, and a 500ml bottle of Ribena contains as much as 11 Oreo cookies!

  • Sugar free or ‘diet’ fizzy drinks are less harmful than those containing sugar, but are still very acidic and can be very damaging. There has also been some controversy about some kinds of artificial sweeteners and their effects on our health, therefore these drinks should be kept as an occasional treat.
  • Fruit juices are also often very acidic and high in sugar, and can be as damaging as fizzy drinks! Our advice would be to dilute them,  and only consume during a meal. You should always wait around 30 minutes before brushing teeth, as acid softens enamel which is then vulnerable to damage.
  • No child is born with a sweet tooth – providing a child with a high sugar diet will establish this as the norm, having a disastrous effect on their dental and general health. By limiting and closely monitoring your child’s sugar intake you will be establishing a healthy pattern for life, and one day they will thank you for it when they are filling free!
  • NHS advice on sugar intake and product labelling can be found here
  • The Foodswitch app is great for helping you make better choices
  • The only completely safe drinks are milk or water, eliminating sugary and acidic drinks on a daily basis, particularly where drinks are sipped throughout the day. This is especially important for young children whose baby teeth are particularly susceptible to damage from sugars and acid, perhaps keeping a treat drink for once a week, eg on a Saturday evening with a meal.


For free advice on diet and oral health you can contact us on 01443 451851 (Nelson) or 01443 812559 (Ystrad Mynach) 




thegrovedentalThe shocking truth about sugar in our drinks