Exposing Sugary Drinks

Revealing Sugar

Good Food for All reveals how to de code sugar in nutrition labels, gain a better understanding of how sugar affects your body, and discover which sugars are most and least beneficial to you.  Prepare to be shocked by the amount of sugar that goes into drinks you probably didn’t think twice about.

Elizabeth Fisher demonstrating sugar quantities in favourite drinks at the Eastside Afterschool Program.

Finding Sugar on Nutrition Labels


The amount of sugar is always listed in grams represented by the letter g. Sugar is listed under Total Carbohydrates.

It’s important to account for the grams of sugar in relation to the indicated serving size. Consider that often drinks have more then 1 serving per bottle. In this example there is 65 grams of sugar per bottle (20 oz) – that’s more than double your  recommended daily recommended intake for added sugar!

The recommended daily amount of added sugar is 25 to 37 grams per day which includes everything you eat or drink. 


There are different types of sugar, nutrition labels use a variety of language to identify them. In this label it’s sucrose, glucose and high fructose corn syrup. Familiarizing yourself with this language will make understanding nutrition labels easier.

There are 51 different types of sugars and sugar combinations that all result in the sweet taste we love. The trick is understanding which are the most beneficial to our bodies and which are the least. The main difference is if a sugar is primarily natural like fruit, or primarily processed like white sugar.

Negative Effects of Processed Sugar

There are many natural sugars, the most common include: Fructose, Glucose and Lactose 

  • Efficient way to naturally preserve food
  • Natural sugars in moderation boost brain health and help maintain energy levels
  • Delicious

Positive Effects of Natural Sugar

There are many natural sugars, the most common include: Fructose, Glucose and Lactose 

  • Efficient way to naturally preserve food
  • Natural sugars in moderation boost brain health and help maintain energy levels
  • Delicious

Understanding Sugar

The Sugar Effect

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that is absorbed into the blood stream, and blood carries it out to every muscle to be used for energy. Our bodies need sugar to function properly. However, if we eat more sugar then we need our body will store the excess for later use.

Sugar Highs (and Lows)

When sugar goes into the blood stream sugar levels spike, which spikes energy levels. This is known as a sugar high.

The issue with a sugar high is energy levels spike almost as fast as they plummet. An average sugar high will last from 30 minutes to an hour. Following the peak of a sugar high is a fast energy decline.

This graph represents a person’s blood sugar after eating a Snickers Bar. When blood sugar is its peak, so are one’s energy levels. Notice how the peak of the blood sugar levels is 10 minutes after ingesting the Snickers Bar and quickly drops after the peak.

Sugar in Drinks


Coconut water


Orange juice

Greene smoothie


Eastside Afterschool Program’s youth

Youth were shocked to find out how many grams of sugar they were drinking every day.

Good Food educates youth on nutrition and empowers them to make their own healthy decisions.

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Stay Tuned!

 Upcoming post: recipe for low and natural sugar juice and pop alternative.

Foodie Q&A: Food and Self-Care

How to incorporate food into your self-care routine

Food and Self-Care

At our last Foodie Q&A, we talked with youth about using food as a form of self-care. Youth are nearing the end of their school year, and many are under a great deal of academic stress. Our goal was to teach youth about the concept of self-care and how food can be a great tool to take care of your body and emotional well-being.

We began by reminding them that by simply showing up at the Eastside Boxing Club’s after school program, exercising, eating healthy snacks, taking home food in the pantry, and hanging out with their friends, they are already practicing self-care.

We illustrated ways food can be used for self-care by sharing some of our favourite self-care foods and when we use them:

Sparkling water in a cute can when we are feeling a bit down and need something fancier than regular water. Something about those adorable Perrier cans is an instant mood-booster, and lethargy or sleepyness is often linked to dehydration.  

If we haven’t slept well, we switch coffee for green tea in the morning. It has caffeine, but many other health benefits like antioxidents. In the evening, sleepytime tea and a bath can calm your mind and help you fall asleep easier.

If we need a night on the couch, popcorn and Netflix with a friend or family member. Not surprisingly, we did get called out for eating microwave popcorn and we were reminded that there is some bad stuff in it!

Finally, our all-time favourite comfort food, Annie’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Youth shared their favourite Mac ‘n’ Cheese toppers (hot dogs and broccoli).

As with all our Foodie Q&A’s, homework was to try out some of the self-care foods we brought in. We encouraged youth to listen to their bodies when choosing foods and to eat mindfully. Mostly they were just excited about the Perrier cans.

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