Studying sugar

Pop can

Today’s class period focused on healthy beverages and was led by Susan, from the University of Minnesota Simply Good Eating program. Throughout the lesson, the students were highly engaged and asked numerous questions. First, students surveyed their peers to find out the answers to the following questions:

1. What do you drink when you are really thirsty?
2. What is one healthy beverage?
3. Do you drink tap water?

The majority of students said they drank water when they were very thirsty. For question two, answers were varied but most were juices, milk and water. One student answered Sunny Delight and another mentioned coffee. Susan explained the negative effects of caffeine and taught the students how to check labels to discover how much juice beverages contained, the ideal being 100% vegetable or fruit juice.

Most students said that they drank tap water, though some said they didn’t. One student said she didn’t like the taste, and another said she heard that you could get depression from drinking tap water. Susan assured the learners that tap water in this area is good to drink. I’m always glad for these lessons after hearing some of the bizarre misconceptions learners hold.

Sugar cubesFor the final activity, the students each picked an empty beverage can of differing varieties – fruit cocktails, various sodas, fruit punches, fruit juices, coffee drinks, tomato juice, etc. Their task was to use the label to determine how many grams of sugar and subsequent tablespoons each contained.

Everyone presented their findings to the class. The healthiest drink was V8 tomato juice with only one teaspoon of sugar. The most shocking result was the energy drink AMP made by Mountain Dew – the 24 ounce can had about 87 grams of sugar – nearly 22 teaspoons! Learners were shocked to find out how much sugar was in beverages they regularly consumed.

Ali proudly stated at the end of class, “Well, Coca-Cola is going to be losing one of its bestcustomers – me!” He said that he went through multiple cans a day but was planning to quit after learning about the sugar and caffeine content. He emphatically thanked the nutritionist, and everyone in the class said they wanted her to come every week.

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