This Is How Much Sugar Is Really In A Can Of Coke

It seems like Coca-Cola is everywhere. Hot summer nights are better spent with a bottle of Coke in hand, while the Coca-Cola polar bears are an icon of the Christmas season. Marketing campaigns link Coke to the idea of sharing memories with your loved ones, and the iconic red and white label is one of the world's most easily identified brands.

But there is a drawback to the widespread appreciation for Coca-Cola that health experts have been talking about for years — Coke is loaded with sugar. Of course that's no secret, as the soda's sugar content is on every can, bottle, as well as on the company's website. According to Coca-Cola, one 12-ounce can of classic Coke contains 39 grams of sugar, while a Cherry Coke has 42 grams. At first glance this doesn't seem like much, except that sugar makes up almost all of the calories contained in a can of Coke. And when you look at Coke's sugar content compared to an adult's daily recommended sugar intake, it becomes clear just how much sugar really is in a can of Coke.

Is diet soda better than regular soda?

A classic Coke's 39 grams of sugar comes out to somewhere between 7.5 and 9.5 teaspoons, depending on the form of sugar used. Knowing this, the highest daily sugar intake recommended by the American Heart Association, is no more than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men. That means that one can of Coke not only accounts for all of the sugar a person can have in a day, it actually blows right past the maximum mark. A Cherry Coke leaves the recommended maximum in the dust.

Some people have tried to sidestep the sugar issue by switching to Diet Coke. But, as some recent studies show, diet soda isn't much better. A 2018 study published in the scientific journal, Current Developments in Nutrition, found that switching to diet sodas did absolutely nothing to decrease a person's risk of developing diabetes.

39 grams of sugar may not sound like a lot, but the evidence is pretty clear that it's more than your body really wants to handle. You don't have to give up soda forever, of course, but it should be treated more like a dessert than a go-to drink. There are plenty of other low-sugar drinks out there to sweeten up a summer night, or to bring a little bubble to the holiday season.