Deceptively unhealthy: Some fruit drinks contain more sugar than a can of Coke

According to a study in the U.K., store-bought “healthy” fruit juices aren’t always good for you. They may even contain more sugar than carbonated soft drinks like Coca-Cola.

The report, which was published in the journal BMJ Open, showed that healthy drinks contain hidden sugars that are bad for your health. Ironically, both store-bought fruit juices and smoothies usually contain more sugar than beverages like Coke. The worst offenders include several popular brands of fruit smoothies that contain a whopping 12 cubes of sugar per glass.

The hidden sugars in fruit juices and smoothies

The results of the study revealed that at least 40 forty percent of the products tested contained up to or more than a child’s entire daily recommended sugar intake of 19 grams (g), which is equal to about five teaspoons of sugar. Campaigners in the U.K. are now pushing for the inclusion of fruit smoothies in George Osborne’s oft-disputed new sugar tax.

Kawther Hashem, the author of the study, said that it is alarming to see a lot of parents who still purchase these sugary fruit juices and juice drinks for their children. Hashem noted that, sadly, parents are under the impression that they’re buying healthy products when, in reality, children should refrain from consuming these sugary drinks. (Related: Experts debate placing graphic warnings on sugary drinks.)

Hashem warned, “These juices rot children’s teeth and give children a ‘sweet tooth’ that will affect their general health in later life.”

To test the sugar content of various fruit juices and smoothies, The Sun purchased 10 different varieties of products from high street supermarkets. The drinks, such as the Tesco Strawberry and Banana smoothie, are usually packaged in eye-catching and brightly colored bottles and cartons. The packaging even features drawings of fruit that imply these products are “healthy.”

But studying the packaging shows that the smoothie from Tesco has a high the sugar count. Drinking only half a glass of the strawberry and banana smoothie adds 17.6 g of sugar, or about five cubes, to your daily sugar intake. A single serving of the drink contains about 10 cubes.

In contrast, 250 milliliters (mL) of Coca-Cola, a carbonated soft drink often touted as bad for your health because of its sugar content, has 26.5 g of sugar (or at least nine cubes of sugar).

Upon testing, The Sun discovered that these top 10 smoothies in the U.K., which are sold in 250 mL containers, had a lot of hidden sugars:

  • Innocent Pomegranate, Blueberry & Acai – 11 cubes
  • Innocent Super Smoothie – 32.5 g (11 cubes)
  • M&S Mango, Pineapple & Passionfruit – 31 g (10.5 cubes)
  • M&S Super berry – 29 g (10 cubes)
  • Naked Green Machine – 29 g (10 cubes)
  • Sainsbury’s Apple, Pear & Kale – 8.5 cubes
  • Sainsbury’s Pineapple, Banana & Coconut – 29.8 g (10 cubes)
  • Sainsbury’s Strawberry and Banana – 27.3 g (nine 9 cubes)
  • Tesco Orange, Mango & Passionfruit – 24 g of sugar (eight cubes)
  • Tesco Strawberry & Banana – 29 g of sugar (10 cubes)

To ensure that your children only consume healthy sugars, give them fresh fruits or homemade juices instead of offering store-bought fruit drinks or smoothies with a lot of hidden sugars that may cause cavities or obesity.

Healthy fruit juice recipes for kids

To ensure that your kids reap the benefits of vitamin-rich fruits and veggies, offer them a healthy drink like this Berry Minty juice that doesn’t contain added sugars.


  • 2 apples
  • 2 kiwis
  • 6 strawberries
  • A handful of blueberries
  • 4 to 10 mint leaves (for flavor)


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a juicer.
  2. If you don’t have a juicer, use a blender instead.
  3. Add ice to make a refreshing smoothie.

You can read more articles about healthier alternatives to store-bought fruit juices and smoothies at

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