May 3, 2018

If you’ve been to a shopping centre lately, you will almost certainly have noticed the queues of people at the juice stands, waiting for their healthy meal or snack to be blended and served. You’re probably also aware of the growing numbers of people concerned about sugar intake, and the push toward the introduction of a soft-drink tax.

The two are in direct conflict with each other, and it’s possible that some people shun soft drinks in favour of juice-bar offerings because they think it’s a healthier option.

It’s horrifying to consider that a 375ml can of soft drink contains about 32g sugar. That’s 8 teaspoons. Imagine making a mug of coffee and adding 8 teaspoons of sugar – it sounds a bit excessive even for those with the sweetest tooth. Imagine now pouring your child a glass of water, and then adding 8 teaspoons of sugar to it.

The World Health Organisation recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons (24g) of added sugar per day.

If you’re keen, you can Google the larger juice bars and check out the nutrition information on their “healthy” drinks. To save you some time, we’ve included some here. We chose the smallest juice or smoothie (350ml) unless it wasn’t available, which is smaller than a can of soft drink:

Green Tea Mango Mantra – 64.5g sugar – 16 teaspoons

Coffee Dream (450ml) – 56.3g sugar – 14 teaspoons

Brekkie To Gogo – 50.1g sugar – 12.5 teaspoons

Raspberry Ripe – 44.8g sugar – 11.2 teaspoons

Banana Buzz – 38.3 sugar – 9.6 teaspoons

Caribbean Green – 27.3g sugar – 6.8 teaspoons

Two & Five juice – 20.2g sugar – 5 teaspoons

Immunity Juice – 18.1g sugar – 4.5 teaspoons

Veggie Garden – 15.5g sugar – 3.9 teaspoons

It’s clear that you can’t use the name to determine to sugar content. Raspberries are naturally low in sugar, yet the Raspberry Ripe drink contains almost double the World Health Organisation’s recommended maximum. And green tea is healthy and has no sugar, right? Not when it’s a Green Tea Mango Mantra!

But they don’t taste that sweet. Be aware that chilled and frozen drinks mask the sweetness of all that sugar. If you’ve ever drunk a soft drink at room temperature, your taste buds will be more aware of the sugar that’s in the drink.

If reducing sugar is important to you, and if you love the convenience of buying a meal or snack at the shopping centre, it might be worth investigating lower sugar options. While they sound healthy, juice bars are a trap for the unwary.

During May, Healthy Inspirations Sugar Busters program can help you break up with sugar. Call your nearest centre for information.