University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Rethinking drinks at school: Look to the Nutrition Facts label to manage added sugars

We know that added sugars should be limited, but how do you keep track? Suppose you need about 1600 calories per day. That means you should take in no more than 160 calories from added sugars.

First you need to know that there are 4 calories in 1 gram of sugar. If we divide 160 by 4, we get 40. You can use the label to see how many grams of added sugars will contribute to your daily limit of 40 grams. If a single can of soda has 39 grams of added sugars, you’re already very close to your limit.

Remember that there might be multiple servings in a container, too. If a bottle of sweet tea is listed as having 2.5 servings, you’d need to multiple the added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label by 2.5 to know how much is in the whole container. (Assuming you drink the whole bottle, which many people do!)

As you can see, it really is easy to overdo the added sugars if you drink a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages. That goes for adults and children alike! So how can we promote lower sugar drinks at school? Continue to the last post in this series for ideas!