Steps toward sugar-free hydration

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When thinking about our energy balance (calories in vs calories out), it’s not just food we have to think about, but drinks as well. Read on to learn the importance of sugar-free hydration.

Many popular drinks are packed with calories, and often have more sugar in one bottle than we should have in an entire day.

  • Adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day (7 sugar cubes)
  • Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day (6 sugar cubes)
  • Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g of free sugars a day (5 sugar cubes)

But a single 330ml can of Coca Cola contains 35g of sugar (8 sugar cubes).

Sipping stepping stones

Moving from the original versions of fizzy drinks to the sweetened, sugar-free varieties can help to reduce unnecessary calories and sugars. It can also be the first stepping stone toward drinking mainly water for hydration.

What about fruit juices?

One frequent question from the families we work with is ‘is orange juice just as bad as Coca Cola?

Like most things, deciding whether fruit juice can fit in with a healthy lifestyle is all about getting the portion size right.

Current UK guidelines recommend limiting fruit juice to one small glass (150ml) of unsweetened 100% fruit juice per day. This may count as one serving of fruit and could help you and your children reach your five-a-day target.

Fruit juices can also help increase our daily vitamin C intake and can be a source of antioxidants.

So, the next time the sun is shining and you are looking for a thirst quencher, you might be better off sticking with water and saving the juice as a once-a-day shot of goodness.

Key sources & further reading

NHS Live Well: How sugar in our diet affects our health

31 March, 2023