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 Coca-Cola original?

Just one can of Coca-Cola original contains almost the daily limit of added sugar. If you really can’t get rid of your Coca-Cola fix, then opt for Coca-Cola Zero or Coca-Cola Light - both carry HPB’s Healthier Choice Symbol and contain zero sugar. Although, be aware the phosphoric acid in these drinks can still cause dental erosion and that nothing beats plain water for healthy hydration.

What about in a can of 100Plus original?

One can of 100Plus original 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. And, there’s just half a teaspoon less sugar in the non-carbonated version.

What about a can of Milo?

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

What about a can of Lightly Sparkling Ribena Blackcurrent?

Just one can of Lightly Sparkling Ribena Blackcurrent has almost the same amount of sugar as three slices of homemade chocolate cake. Those with added flavour are even sweeter. The Lightly Sparkling Ribena Apple & Blackcurrant contains over 7 teaspoons, or 35.8g, of added sugar.

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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