Stop the presses! Sugary drinks contain sugar.
You've no doubt came across the viral video doing the rounds once again of Coca-Cola being boiled off to produce a brown gloop. In the video (which you can check out below) by Home Science from 2014, bottles of Coke and Coke Zero were both boiled up to illustrate the different levels of sugar within them. The video has racked up over a billion views on YouTube and Facebook.
However, as shocking as that dark tarry sludge looks, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise really, nor shock you into renouncing sugar forever.
There are 10.6 grams of sugar for every 100 milliliters of Coca-Cola Classic. Most experts say your added sugars shouldn't make up more than 5 percent of your calorie intake you get from food and drink each day. For men, that means roughly 35.7 grams of sugar a day, and for women, it's around 25 grams. That's all that brown sludge is, sugar syrup. Melt some sugar at home and add some black dye, you'll get a similar substance. So, while you shouldn’t be guzzling this fizzy brown stuff down all day every day, the odd one isn't going to fill your guts with black sludge and kill you.
On the other side of the fence, there’s also a lot of buzz about the “nasty chemicals” found in low-sugar or sugar-free soda. Once again, it’s nothing to be too startled by. Aspartame is one of the more common artificial sweeteners, is an ingredient found in Coke Zero, and can be up to 200 times sweeter than sugar. Although this additive has only been around for a few decades, the general consensus from scientific studies is that it's safe and is not linked to cancers.
Arguably, you could say that any potential negative health effects pale in comparison to those, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and strokes, associated with consuming lots of sugars.
So, in short: everything in moderation (including moderation).