Can dividing by 4 help you lose weight? – Sugar Drinks (4 minute read)

Welcome to Part 1 of the #Divideby4 Campaign. Let’s take a close look at how much sugar is added into our favourite drinks.

Could dividing by 4 help people to lose weight as well as reduce their risk of diabetes, heart disease, strokes and certain types of the “C” word (you know what I am talking about)?

Before I proceed, there is one crucial thing you need to know.

4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar

Just like the Titanic, let this sink in for a little bit.

The nutritional information on the side of food and drink products are borderline useless.  The value of writing anything down comes from whether the person reading it can accurately interpret it. If this doesn’t happen, you might as well replace it with a picture of food industry representatives with massive smiles on their faces saying “Gotcha”.

Let’s take a can of coke. Below is the nutritional information for a 375ml can of this refreshing fizzy sugar water. Focus on the “sugars” section which generally speaking, represents the added sugars.

Qty per serving  (375ml) Qty per 100g (or 100ml)
Energy 675kJ 180kJ
Protein 0g 0g
Total Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0g 0g
Carbohydrate 40g 10.6g
Sugars 40g 10.6g
Sodium 38mg 10.0g
Energy Cal 161Cal 41Cal

 

40g of sugar.  In each can.  Oh dear.

Most people would guesstimate that 40g is a sh**load of sugar! But, what the hell does that number truly mean? It’s hard to imagine how good or bad this truly is. What if I said that 40g of sugar is like having just under 2 kit kats (a kit kat has 22.5g of sugar)? Now that’s relatable. So is a teaspoon. Let me show you.

As mentioned earlier,

4g of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar

It follows that the quickest way to calculate the number of teaspoons in a food or drink product is to

DIVIDE BY 4

Let’s have a look at some examples. The results may be shocking. It definitely was for me!

SODA DRINKS

fasdfasdf  asdfasdf asdfasdfa (whoops sorry about the typo, I must still be a bit concussed from face palming myself)

FRUIT DRINKS

Commercial fruit juices are deceptive. Think about how sweet a fruit itself tastes compared to fruit juice. #blamethemiddleman or woman.

 LIQUID BREAKFAST

Do you ever picture putting nearly 5 teaspoons of sugar into your breakfast?

WATER

It speaks for itself.

 It’s time to VISUALISE

I want everyone to visualise themselves making one of these drinks and physically placing each teaspoon of sugar into their cup. One by one. So if it’s a can of coke, 10 teaspoons of sugar. One by one. I found this a scary exercise. Most people would never put 10 teaspoons of sugar into their tea. But, many would drink a can of coke and think nothing of it.

Just quietly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) advises that for the average sized adult with a normal BMI, added sugar should make up 5% or less of their daily intake. In other words, this means about 25 grams of sugar or just over 6 teaspoons of sugar a day.

The aim of this #Divideby4 Campaign is to build awareness and educate. If people can look at a food or drink product and quickly calculate in their head how many teaspoons of sugar has been added to what they are consuming, they can start making informed decisions. This can lead to reduced added sugar intake. In turn, it can help with weight loss as well as reduce people’s risk of developing things like diabetes, heart disease, strokes and certain types of the cancer.

Take home messages

  • 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • To calculate how many teaspoons of sugar there is in a serving, look for how many grams of sugar there are per serving and DIVIDE BY 4
  • After you know how many teaspoons of sugar is in the drink, VISUALISE yourself placing these teaspoons one by one into your drink. Make an informed decision.
  • The WHO recommends that we limit our daily intake of sugar to about 6 or less teaspoons a day
  • Water is the ultimate default drink!
  • Even “healthy” drinks like juices and liquid breakfasts can have surprisingly high amounts of added sugar

If you found any value in this, please share with the hashtag #Divideby4 and spread this concept!

Related posts

A 20% Sugar Tax: Should Australia Do it?

The Cause Of Obesity Part 1: The Big Picture

The Cause Of Obesity Part 2: Changing Bad Habits

The Cause Of Obesity Part 3: Eating Carbohydrates

The Cause Of Obesity Part 4: Eating Fats

 

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Be kind to yourself and be kind to others,

Dr G