h sugar!

One Singaporean can guzzle more than half a kilo of sugar a month from sugary drinks alone. Can you guess how much sugar your favourite drink is hiding?

First, how many teaspoons of added sugar should you be having a day according to the Health Promotion Board?

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) recommends you have no more than 8-11 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which is around 40 to 55g or around 10% of your daily calorie intake.

Now, try to guess how many teaspoons of added sugar are in a can of cola?

Nothing beats plain water for healthy hydration. But if you really can’t get rid of your cola fix, then opt for lighter versions. Coke Zero, Coke Light and Pepsi Light for instance, carry HPB’s Healthier Choice Symbol and contain zero sugar. Although, be aware the phosphoric acid in these drinks can still cause dental erosion.

What about in a can of energy drink?

One can of energy drink contains 19.5g of added sugar, which is almost 4 teaspoons. This makes up half of the recommended daily intake and contains the same amount of sugar as three pineapple tarts.

What about a can of chocolate drink?

There’s 16.6g of added sugar in a can of chocolate drink, almost as much sugar as there are in three chocolate biscuits. Surprisingly, it’s less than half the amount in a cola. Yet, it still makes up a fair slice of your daily recommended intake of sugar.

What about a can of sparkling juice?

Just one can of sparkling juice has almost the same amount of sugar as three slices of homemade chocolate cake. That's about 7 teaspoons, or 35.8g, of added sugar. Those with added flavour are even sweeter.

Why is added sugar bad? It’s all about empty calories

Added sugar refers to sugar that is added to food or drinks during manufacturing, cooking or at the table.

It’s bad for you because it provides zero nutritional value while increasing calorie intake which basically turns the added sugar into empty calories.

Eliminating these empty calories from Singaporeans' diets is now a prime target after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially launched the war on diabetes, a disease caused by high blood sugar levels, during his National Day Rally speech delivered on Aug 20. Read more about the war on diabetes here.

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.

Seven industry leaders - Coca-Cola, F&N Foods, Malaysia Dairy Industries, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pokka and Yeo Hiap Seng - have committed to a maximum sugar content of 12% for all of their drinks sold in Singapore by 2020. That means a typical 330ml canned drink would contain at most 40g of sugar.

For now, though, here is how all that sugar stacks up:

Source: HPB, NTUC FairPrice
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