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Sugar Shocker teaches Primeau students to choose wisely

Above: Primeau students Willow Ralph and Berlyn Troake demonstrating the Sugar Shocker display at school on Wednesday. – Lucie Roy Photo

by Lucie Roy

Georges H. Primeau students got the opportunity to learn about sugars in beverages Wednesday, information presented by students Willow Ralph and Berlyn Troake in their interactive Sugar Shocker display.

Ralph said the display teaches students about how much sugar is in common drinks and how to learn to make better choices by choosing healthier beverages. The display included water, white and chocolate milk, 100% unsweetened fruit juice, fruit-flavoured beverages and sports drink.

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The students divided the drinks into categories: Go – Choose Most Often, Yield – Choose Sometimes and Stop – Choose Least Often.

Students learned chocolate milk contains about four teaspoons of added sugar per cup, an amount that put it in the Choose Sometimes category. By comparison, vitamin water has about six teaspoons of added sugar per cup; sports drinks have approximately 10 teaspoons, energy drinks have 14, and a large slush has roughly 36 teaspoons of added sugar.

The display showed sports drinks are only recommended for those doing more than 60 minutes of intense exercise or for those exercising in hot temperatures. Most of the energy drinks have more than the allowable limit of caffeine per day for children and youth.

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In addition to the sugar count, the display showed sugar and syrups can appear on labels under a variety of names, including sucrose, fructose, dextrose, glucose, molasses, honey and syrup.

The interactive component of the display included a Myth or Truth activity. Students were asked if they could drink as much fruit juice as they wanted if the product is 100% unsweetened. Some students were surprised to learn that although 100% unsweetened fruit juice has no added sugar, it is high in natural sugar and contains little-to-no fibre. As such, 100% unsweetened product is not as healthy to drink as students may think.

More information about sugar can be found at www.sugar.ca/Nutrition-Information-Service/Health-professionals/Dietary-Guidelines-About-Sugar.aspx

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