Why Liquid Sugar Is the Worst
However, liquid sugar may be especially harmful.
Research shows that getting sugar in liquid form is much worse than getting it from solid food.
This is why high-sugar beverages like soda are among the worst things you can put into your body.
What Is “Liquid Sugar”?
Liquid sugar is the sugar you consume in liquid form, such as from beverages like sugar-sweetened soda.
The sugar in beverages is often highly concentrated and easy to consume in large amounts without feeling full.
Some examples of these drinks are fairly obvious, such as sodas and fruit punch. However, many other beverages are high in sugar as well.
For instance, although fruit juice is typically considered a healthier option, even varieties without added sugar can be as high in sugar and calories as sweetened drinks — sometimes even higher.
What’s more, a high intake of fruit juice may lead to the same health problems as drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.
Here are the calories and sugars in 12 ounces (355 ml) of some popular high-sugar beverages:
- Soda: 148 calories and 34 grams of sugar.
- Sweetened iced tea: 143 calories and 34 grams of sugar.
- Unsweetened orange juice: 175 calories and 32 grams of sugar.
- Unsweetened grape juice: 226 calories and 54 grams of sugar.
- Fruit punch: 175 calories and 42 grams of sugar.
- Lemonade: 148 calories and 37 grams of sugar.
- Sports beverage: 118 calories and 23 grams of sugar.
Liquid Sugar Has Different Effects Than Sugar From Solid Food
Studies show that drinking calories doesn’t elicit the same fullness signals as eating them. As a result, you don’t compensate by eating less of other foods later on.
In one study, people who ate 450 calories in the form of jelly beans ended up eating less later.
When they drank 450 calories of soda, they ended up eating much more total calories later in the day.
Solid and liquid forms of fruit affect hunger levels differently as well.
People in a different study consumed a whole apple, applesauce or apple juice on six different days. Whether consumed as a meal or snack, apple juice was shown to be the least filling, while whole fruit satisfied appetite the most.
Bottom Line: Research shows that your body doesn’t register liquid sugar calories in the same way as sugar consumed in solid form. This can cause greater appetite and calorie intake later on.