How Much Sugar Is In Your Drink? Be a Sugar Detective.

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    Sugar -- the Extra Ingredient in Soda

    You may be getting way more sugar than you think in your drink. A 20-ounce bottle of cola can have more sugar than three really big brownies! Sound good? Too much sugar can make you feel bad and is bad for your body. Most foods and drinks have some sugar. But sodas and other sweet drinks have extra, added sugars, just like candy and desserts. So be careful.

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    If You Want a Soda, Make It a Small

    Don't make soda the only thing you drink -- just have it once in a while, and stick with a small amount. Some drinks are big enough for two people. That means double the sugar in your cup. And that's not good for your body. Stick with an 8-ounce amount -- the same size as the mini cans in the supermarket.

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    Fruit Punch Is Mostly Sugar

    Watch out for juice drinks like fruit punch and lemonade. They have lots of added sugar. A bottle of fruit punch can have more sugar than four chocolate glazed doughnuts. Plus it may have only 5% or 10% real fruit juice. Other than that, it's mostly water and high fructose corn syrup -- a sugar your body doesn't need. Make your own fruity drink with sparkling water and fruit chunks.

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    A Little 100% Juice Is OK

    If you are going to drink juice, 100% fruit juice is the best kind of juice for you because it has vitamins and nutrients that help your body. For example, 100% orange juice has lots of vitamin C. But even though it can be healthy, 100% juice has a lot of natural sugar, too. So don't drink more than 1 cup or 8 ounces a day. 

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    Eat Fruit, Don’t Drink It

    You need fruit every day. The best way to get it is to eat real fruit. Juice can help you get your fruit for the day, but it can have too much sugar. Instead, eat 1 1/2 cups of fruit each day. How much is 1 1/2 cups? Try eating one banana and 1/2 cup of strawberries. Like grapes? Have 50. Eating a big, crunchy apple can also be enough fruit for a day.

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    Smoothies Aren't Always Healthy

    Fruit blended in a cup sounds healthy -- but smoothies aren't always good for you. A store-bought orange sherbet smoothie has almost as much sugar as a milkshake! For less sugar, drink smoothies made from real fruit and plain yogurt or just fruit and ice. Say no to smoothies made of sherbet and flavored syrups.

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    Sports Drink = Sugar, Not Extra Energy

    You need sports drinks if you're playing sports, right? Probably not. A popular 20-ounce sports drink has about the same amount of sugar as a cupcake with frosting. If you're playing hard for more than an hour, sports drinks can help replace electrolytes that your body loses when you sweat a lot. But for most kids, water and orange slices are all the fuel you need.

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    Juice Boxes Can Be Sugary

    Juice boxes and bags aren't all full of juice. Many are juice drinks with lots of sugar: A 6-ounce pouch of one grape juice drink has 4 teaspoons of sugar -- the same as about 13 gummy bears. If you like juice boxes, drink those labeled "100% juice." It's healthier and has vitamins. But 100% juice has sugar too, so don't have more than one box a day.                                                                                        

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    Chocolate, Flavored Milk

    Do you like flavored milk better than plain? A 14-ounce bottle of chocolate milk has almost as much sugar as two scoops of vanilla ice cream. Ask your school if they have low-fat, low-sugar flavored milk. Or make a version at home that is better for you. Have a glass of milk and mix in 1 teaspoon of chocolate syrup.

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    Water: It’s Good for You

    Your parents might tell you that you need eight glasses of water a day. But depending on how old you are and how active you are, you might need less -- or more. How do you know if you're getting enough water? Look in the toilet after you pee (really!). If it's pale yellow or clear, you're drinking enough water. If it's darker, drink more water.

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    High-Caffeine Sodas and Energy Drinks

    Energy drinks and certain sodas have caffeine that some people use to stay awake, but they have sugar, and lots of it! A 20-ounce high-caffeine, citrus-flavored soda has about the same sugar as 11 peanut butter and chocolate chip granola bars! A 16-ounce can of a popular energy drink has about 54 grams of sugar -- almost 13 teaspoons.

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    What’s in My Drink? Read the Label.

    Want to know what's inside your drink? If you're drinking from a bottle or can, look at the label. Is one of the first two ingredients sugar, corn syrup, or some long word that ends in "-ose," like fructose? That means it has a lot of sugar. Only have one sugary drink a day. Try working your way down to having only one a week.

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    Those Drinks Add Up

    Drink a soda, juice box, sports drink, and fruity drink in a day and you'd get as much sugar as you would eating about 38 chocolate chip cookies. Whoa! If you drank that every day, you'd have to burn off 62 pounds of fat each year! Drink water, seltzer, or low-fat milk instead.