Healthy Bodies Need Healthy Drinks Resource Package

Activity 2: How much sugar?

Page last updated: 17 September 2014

PDF Version of How Much Sugar (PDF 1805 KB)

Activity 2: How much sugar?

Age appropriateness: 12-17 years

Learning outcomes

  • Are able to identify the amount of sugar in some common drinks; and
  • Are able to identify drinks that are lower in sugar and higher in nutrients and make judgements about the degree to which a variety of drinks are appropriate diet choices.

Required items

  • Empty soft drink, juice, milk, flavoured milk and fruit flavoured drink (etc) containers.
  • Sugar cubes (or sugar and teaspoon).
  • Clear plastic cups.
  • Whiteboard or similar.
  • Teacher resource – Average Amount of Sugar in Drinks table (final page).
  • Teacher resource – Fact sheets & brochures included in the Resource Package.
  • Note: Participants can be asked in week/s prior to this education activity, to collect empty drink containers and bring them into class. This may also help them self-identify how many high sugar drinks they/their family consume.


  • Discuss with the group what their perceptions of healthy and unhealthy drinks are.
  • Discuss which drinks have lots of sugars and which they think have the least.
  • Explain that there are 4.2 grams of sugar in 1 teaspoon and that to calculate how many teaspoons of sugar are in each drink they can:
Divide the sugar in grams by 4.2 - eg. A soft drink that has 64g of sugar = 15.2 teaspoons of sugar (teacher can write this formula up on the board).
  • Show a drink container to participants. Ask them to guess the number of teaspoons of sugar in the drink (this could be written up on a board under the heading ‘guessed amount’).
  • Place the drink container on the table and ask for a participant to read the label and either state or write up on the board – how much total sugar is in the drink and what the amount of sugar is per 100ml.
  • Ask the participant to then use the calculation as described above in point 3 - to determine how many teaspoons this would be. Write this up on the board.
  • Ask for a participant to come and place the correct number of teaspoons of sugar (or sugar cubes) into a clear plastic cup beside the drink container until the correct number is reached.
  • Repeat steps 5 -7 for all drinks.


  • Remember to read the label including:
    • Servings per pack/container; and
    • Average quantity of sugar per serve.
  • Discuss how they can choose healthier drinks. For example:
    • Take a water bottle with them;
    • Freeze water on hot days so that it stays cool for longer;
    • Choose milk instead of soft drinks;
    • Eat a piece of fruit rather than drink additional juice.

Key messages

  • When consumed in large amounts, sugar can contribute to weight gain and tooth decay and being overweight can lead to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
  • Intake of added sugar in our diets should be minimised.
  • Water is the best choice for hydration and health.

Assessment options

How much sugar is in my drink?

The table below shows how many teaspoons there are in each type of drink and if they are natural sugars or added sugars.
    • Drink type; Type of sugar; Average qty of sugar (g); Average qty of sugar (teaspoons).
      Drink TypeType of SugarAverage Qty of Sugar (grams)Average Qty of Sugar (teaspoons)
      Water - "choose as your main drink throughout the day"-00
      Milk (low fat) 250ml (1 cup)natural sugar14g3 tsp
      100% fruit juice 250mlnatural sugar24g6 tsp
      Flavoured milk 300mladded sugar - but has some healthy nutrients28g7 tsp
      Flavoured fruit drink 250mlhigh added sugar27g7 tsp
      Energy drinkhigh added sugar36g8.5 tsp
      Soft drink Can 375mlhigh added sugar38g9 tsp
      Soft drink buddy 600mlhigh added sugar64g15 tsp
      Soft drink 1.25 Ltrhigh added sugar137g33 tsp