TL;DR – You are what you drink.
Everybody’s been talking about diabetes and the sugar content in beverages typically consumed in Singapore. People tend to think that only fizzy/ soft drinks are unhealthy, but did you know – a can of iced lemon tea has almost as much sugar as a can of Coke?
Read on to find out more.
(A person who requires 1800kcal of energy daily should consume less than 22g of sugar daily.)
1) Iced Lemon Tea
A can of iced lemon tea has about 33g of sugar (for reference, a can of coke has about 39g of sugar) so it’s really iced sugar tea more than anything. Opt for sugar-free oolong tea or teh o kosong peng and you’ll be saving yourself 6.6 teaspoons of sugar.
2) Orange juice
It’s juice! Surely it’s healthy right?
Well, most packaged juices in Singapore often come loaded with additional sugar and even if you opt for (extremely-overpriced) freshly squeezed juices, a cup contains 21g of sugar on average. Whereas if you were to eat a whole fruit, it will contain only 8g of sugar and you’ll also be consuming the fibre, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that are often left behind when juiced.
3) Chrysanthemum tea
A can of chrysanthemum tea contains about 20g of sugar so it isn’t quite as healthy as you think it is. Same goes for all the other herbal teas and Asian beverages such as barley, winter melon tea etc usually sold at medical halls.
Marketed as a sports drink of sorts (with all the pictures of athletes on their packaging) and recently with Nathan Hartono promoting this chocolate malt beverage, this drink actually easily contains more than 20g of sugar, especially since it is usually prepared with condensed milk and/or sugar at our local coffee shops.
5) Bubble tea
We Singaporeans love our bubble tea and it certainly looks like the craze won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. A typical cup can contain 30 to 60 (!!!!) grams of sugar and even if you go for the low/ no sugar options, don’t forget that the milk or non-dairy additives to make the drinks creamy also contain sugar. So do the tapioca balls (“pearls”) and the various mango, strawberry and other fruit syrups in your drink.