tang-wtext500x358When you talk about sugary drinks, the most common one that comes to mind is soda.

But it’s not just soda anymore.

Today, sugary drinks can mean many different types of beverages that come loaded with added sugar and other sweeteners. Alaska’s Play Every Day is going to explore how much sugar is hiding in these drinks.

Sugary drinks are the source of almost half of all added sugars consumed by Americans. Several years ago, we talked with Alaska parents of children ages 5 to 12 — in Bethel, Barrow, Nome, Fairbanks and Anchorage. We asked these parents what kinds of sugary drinks they had on their cupboard shelves at home.

The most common drink at home for these families wasn’t soda. It was powdered drink mix.

The powdered drink mix is available in all kinds of flavors, including the popular orange flavor. It can be found stacked up in displays at Alaska rural grocery stores. These drinks are stable on the shelves for months at a time and can be stirred in by the scoopful — turning a healthy beverage (water) into a drink that contains almost as much sugar per ounce as soda.

A 16-ounce glass of a powdered drink can have 11 teaspoons of added sugar. If you serve that to your children at breakfast, they will hit the recommended cap for a whole day’s worth of added sugar before even arriving at school.  This January, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued the first-ever recommended limit for the amount of added sugar we eat and drink every day. The recommendation states that everyone — old and young —  should limit their added sugar to 10 percent or less of total daily calories. A moderately active 8-year-old boy, for example, should have no more than 10 teaspoons of added sugar each day. That’s less than what’s found in that one glass of a powdered drink mix.

For the best health, skip sugary drinks like powdered mixes and serve your families water or low-fat milk. Learn more about sugary drinks on our website.

Story submitted by the State of Alaska Play Every Day campaign. Big thanks to our partners at DHSS.