Which soda has the most sugar in America? What soda has the least amount of sugar? And what soda has the most sugar and caffeine combined?
Overview: Sugar in Drinks
There is a dedicated sugar industry in every country, and the United States is no different. This industry produces sugarbeet and sugar cane continuously in response to the decades-long demand for sugar used in confectionery and soda production.
Soda wouldn’t be soda without its overwhelming dose of sugar, and many Americans have grown up consuming a variety of sodas from Coke to Dr. Pepper. Sugary drinks like soda are part of the national diet. But which ones are giving American consumers more sugar per serving?
The top-ranked among popular soda brands in America is Mountain Dew, which has 3.83 grams of sugar per fl. oz., bringing a 12 fl. oz. can to a whopping 46 grams of sugar. The FDA recommends that people limit themselves to a maximum of 25 grams of sugar per day (and this is already on the higher end). Rockstar Energy Drink comes in at a close second with 60 grams of sugar per 16 fl. oz. can.
Cherry Coke is fourth in the list with 51 grams of sugar/12 fl. oz., followed by Wild Cherry Pepsi (42 grams/12 fl. oz.), Pepsi Cola (41 grams/12 fl. oz.), Dr. Pepper (41 grams/12 fl. oz.), Dr. Pepper Cherry (12 fl. oz.), and Monster Energy Drink (54 grams/16 fl. oz.). Consumers who drink a lot of sugary soda would have to exercise daily, and twice as much, to burn off all the simple carbohydrates, they are getting from soda.
The three brands of soda that have the least amount of sugar in them are Coca-Cola Classic (39 grams/12 fl.oz.), Sprite (38 grams/12 fl. oz.), and 7-Up (37 grams/12 fl. oz.). While the figures show an average of six-gram difference from the top contender, the brands with the lowest amount of sugar per 12 fl. oz. still provide almost double the RDA recommended for carbohydrates.
What about caffeine? Caffeine is the stimulant that makes people peppy. Sodas contain caffeine because they are meant to boost people after just one drink. In terms of caffeine content in the soda category, Pepsi Zero Sugar takes the lead with 115 mg of caffeine/20 oz., followed by Mountain Dew (either diet or regular) with 91 mg/20 oz. and Diet Coke (76 mg/20 oz.). The FDA’s maximum for soda is 71 mg/12 oz. If you want a soda that doesn’t have any caffeine, we recommend that you go for root beer, or the clearer sodas like Fanta, Fresca, and Sprite. Sprite for one has zero caffeine in it, but still has a lot of sugar.
Effects of Sugar Consumption
If you have ever wanted a good reason (or two) to quit your daily soda habit, the following health effects of sugar in soda and other foods and beverages will likely give you pause.
- With the amount of sugar in soda, regular consumption of these beverages can easily lead to sudden spikes in blood glucose levels, followed by an unavoidable plunge, as the body quickly metabolizes the sugar.
The sugar plunge can trigger a variety of unsavory episodes, including frequent headaches and mood swings. Being hooked on sugar also increases your chances of developing inexplicable cravings as your body deals with the frequent spike and drop in blood glucose levels.
- Sugar has been touted as the number cause of the metabolic syndrome, which is the precursor of many other chronic, degenerative conditions like hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
The earlier you begin in reversing metabolic syndrome, the higher your chances of beating it later in life. Exercise and a better diet with lots of fruits, fiber, and vegetables can help you get there.
Soda should never be used to fill any caloric gap in one’s diet. It shouldn’t even be consumed regularly because of the dangerous sugar content it possesses.
- There have been many studies that point to how sugar interfered with the normal functioning of the immune system. In times like this, you need to make sure that your immune system is in prime condition to fight human pathogens.
Additionally, the presence of added sugar in the body can result in the uncontrollable proliferation of yeast and bacteria in the body. Some bacteria thrive when the immune system is weak, and there are plenty of additional nutrients to feast on.
- Are you worried about how you look and premature aging? Sugar has also been associated with the acceleration of wrinkling. Once consumed, sugar has been known to attach to proteins in the skin, and the interaction results in wrinkling and sagging. So if you want to look younger in your senior years, skip the soda habit now.
- You may already know this, but it helps to reiterate some age-old facts sometimes: soda is a well-known teeth destroyer. Acids that form after the consumption of soda have been known to accelerate the degradation of tooth enamel. That’s soda punching holes in your teeth.
- The reduction of sugar in the diet of children has been shown to contribute to up to 15% better academic performance in school. One study showed the positive effects also of the removal of artificial coloring and other synthetic additives that are commonly found in processed food.
- Sugar can block your body’s ability to uptake essential nutrients such as vitamin A and vitamin C. Additionally, the replacement of whole food such as fruits and vegetables with soda and other unhealthy foods and beverages are more commonly observed in people who have generally unhealthy lifestyles.
- Sugar is stored by the liver and can quickly transform into fat. Overeating sugar in a day might satisfy your habit, but it will not contribute to any weight loss efforts.
- People who regularly consume food that is high up in the glycemic index also tend to develop acne more frequently.