Sugary drinks are all over the news lately. From New York City Mayor Bloomberg's proposed ban of the sale of super-sized drinks with added sugar last month to Los Angeles Councilman Mitch Englander's more recent proposal to bar the sale of sugary drinks from the city's public spaces, like parks and libraries, legislators are eager to limit access to the public health hazard of what experts call "sugar sweetened beverages."
As rebuttal, industry representatives argue that people know how to limit their own sugar consumption. "We trust our customers to make the choices that are best for them," read a Tweet from McDonald's corporate account. But are we informed enough to make the right choices? The New York Times compiled a quiz on portion size, questioning the average consumer's ability to navigate the disorienting world of commercial sizing. Meanwhile, we at Healthy Living wondered: even with a sense of portions, can we really conceptualize how much sugar is in each drink?
We decided to build a quiz that would really test our sugar knowledge. Think you know what you're drinking? Try it out:
Nota bene: Sugar in commercial beverages comes in many forms. Though we used white cane sugar for illustrative purposes, sugar in these drinks can come in the form of high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, beet sugar or even concentrated fruit juice.
In fact, some of the sugar found in juices is naturally occurring in fruit. Those fruit juices offer vitamins and nutrients that make them healthier than, say, a soda. But no matter its source, a diet high in added sugar -- particularly liquid sugar -- has been associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and with higher rates of Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
We chose popular drinks that were easily accessible at stores near us, though we do not intend to call out these particular brands over others -- the sugar content of the following drinks is representative of the market.
All photos by Damon Dahlen for The Huffington Post.