Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How Sweet It Is!

Does “How sweet it is!” make you think of Jackie Gleason or the sweet tea you just ordered at McDonald’s drive-thru? I’ve never been one to drink sugary drinks—at least not on purpose.

I saw a demonstration at our health fair recently that really drove home just how blissfully aware most of us are of just how much sugar we consume. A certified health educator, Dee Ann Brodersen, held up a 20-oz bottle of orange soda. She had me read the label on the back.

“How many grams of sugar?” she asked.

“It says 35 per serving,” I answered. I can read with the best of them.

“Okay,” she said, “how many teaspoons of sugar do you think that is?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe four?” That sounded like a lot of sugar to me, and much more than I would ever stir into a drink.

“Well, let’s see,” she said. “First you need to convert the grams to teaspoons—4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon of sugar. So, divide 35 by 4 and you get 8.75 teaspoons of sugar.”

“That’s ridiculous,” I said. “Who would stir almost nine teaspoons of sugar into a drink?”

“Exactly,” she agreed. “But how many people will stop drinking after the first serving and not drink the other serving and a-half in this bottle?” She reaches behind the table and pulls out packets of sugar taped together—all 22 packets.

Back to that McDonald’s sweet tea—a large sweet tea has 59 grams of sugar, a medium has 38 grams of sugar, and a child’s size has 23 grams of sugar. Before you indulge in that next sweet tea, or order it for your grandchild, exercise your mind and visualize those packets taped together. How many will it be? Let’s see 59 divided by 4—you do the math!

copyright (c) April 2010 L. S. Fisher

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