When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on large, sugary drinks, public outcry ensued. But concerns over governmental intervention aside, we've got to admit the man has a point. The beverage landscape is filled with outrageously unhealthy drinks, and people might be surprised to find out just how much liquid sugar they're guzzling.
Are things really that bad? Yup. The recommended daily allowance is 36 grams of sugar per day, which is actually pretty generous. That's nine teaspoons of sugar. For reference, you could eat a Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar (26 grams of sugar) and still have more than two teaspoons left to sweeten your coffee.
In fact, it turns out many of these drinks trump candy bars—some three times over. Ready to freak out?
The health effects of green tea in this SoBe beverage are drowned out by the whopping 51 grams of sugar in the bottle.
When it comes to sugar, you'd be better off eating two chocolate bars than sipping this rich concoction. It contains a jaw-dropping 76 grams of sugar—that's 18 teaspoons in your cup!
Regular dessert offerings aren't exactly health food at McDonald's, but this limited-time menu item was outrageous: Each large shake contained 168 grams of sugar. That's 40 sugar cubes, and more than six chocolate bars' worth of sugar. Stomach-ache city.
If you choose to "do the Dew," do so at your own risk. Not only does this notoriously sweet soda contain a chemical flame retardant—brominated vegetable oil (om nom nom) —but it packs 77 grams of sugar into each distinctive green bottle.
Forget the caffeine and taurine—you'll get a massive jolt from the sugar alone in this energy drink. Packing 62 grams of sugar into each can, this beverage contains a "not recommended for children or pregnant women" disclaimer for multiple reasons.
Vitamin Water carries the dubious distinction of sporting one of the most misleading brand names of all time. Though drink names like "Rescue" and "Defense" sound healthy and restorative, this "water" is actually heavily sweetened. The XXX flavor alone contains 32 grams of sugar in one bottle.
A Christmas tree's worth of candy canes would likely contain less sugar than a Venti cup of this uber-sweet drink. Think we're kidding? Try 94 grams of sugar on for size.
Sure, tart lemons need a little sugar to make them palatable, but 67.5 grams in one bottle seems excessive. That's 16 sugar cubes!
Why anyone would opt for a shake at Coldstone is beyond reason—after all, straws take the fun out of mixed-in toppings. But liquifiying ice cream also masks its volume, and the 24 ounces of this popular shake contains an oh-my-gosh-are-you-serious 140 grams of sugar. (It's also 1,750 calories, which is equally horrifying.)
What it is: Brace yourself—this food flavoring is extracted from the castor sac scent glands of the male or female beaver, which are located near the anus. According to Milkowski, the substance is pretty expensive (think about what it probably takes to obtain it) and is more common in perfume than in actual foods.
Where you’ll find it: While it sounds downright disgusting, the FDA says it’s GRAS, meaning it’s “generally recognized as safe.” You won’t see this one on the food label because it’s generally listed as “natural flavoring.” It’s natural all right—naturally icky.
What it is: Yup, insects again. In your food. When it comes to food, insects are handy for other things besides their shine. They’re good for color too, especially red. Carmine is a red food-coloring that comes from boiled cochineal bugs, which are a type of beetle.
There have been reports that the bug-based coloring can cause severe allergic reactions in some people, including potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, so the FDA now requires that the ingredient be listed clearly on food and cosmetic labels.
Where you’ll find it: Carmine can be found in ice cream, Skittles, Good n’ Plenty, lemonade, and grapefruit juice.
What it is: Cellulose, derived mainly from wood pulp and cotton, is used in paper manufacturing—and sometimes added to food.
Where you’ll find it: Cellulose is added to shredded cheese to keep the strands from sticking together, and also can be found in ice cream. It’s found naturally in corn. Cellulose is “is very innocuous material,” says Milkowsi. “Humans can’t digest it.”
What it is: Do you eat seaweed? If you said no, prepare for a surprise, because carageenan is everywhere. Extracted from seaweed, carrageenan is a gel used as a thickening agent and emulsifier (keeps food from separating.)
Where you’ll find it: May be injected into raw chicken or other meat as a way to retain water, as well as in dairy products like cottage cheese and ice cream. Chocolate milk often contains carrageenan to keep the cocoa from separating from the milk.
What it is: This chemical is found in antifreeze, it’s true. But, says Milkowski, “it’s a very, very safe material.” In fact, it’s much safer than a kissing cousin, ethylene glycol, which is particularly toxic to dogs.
Propylene glycol has lubricating properties which aid in making spice concentrates, not to mention condoms. And if you need good mixing in food, this is your compound. “You’ll find things that don’t mix well in water do disperse well in propylene glycol,” says Milkowski.
Where you’ll find it: Sodas, salad dressing, and beer
To find out more harmful ingredients click here