You’ll Take A Big Gulp When You See Your Score on this Quiz About Super-sized Drinks!

Do you know how big a Big Gulp is?  Test your assumptions to see if you are right!

A 32 ounce glass of Sprite or Coke has about 26 tsps of sugar!

On June 20, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a new policy recognizing that while a number of factors contribute to the obesity epidemic, taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks is one way to fund anti-obesity programs that educate consumers about the consumption of high- calorie beverages. The AMA is responding to a multitude of studies that have shown that drinking high-calorie drinks is strongly associated with obesity and health conditions like type 2 diabetes. The AMA says, “Sugar-sweetened beverages comprise nearly half of Americans’ added sugar intake, and reducing consumption of these beverages is a simple way to reduce intake of added sugar and empty calories.”

One recent study in the American Heart Association’s Journal Hypertension, shows that hospital visits for children with high blood pressure doubled between 1996 and 2006! The journal Pediatrics reports that diabetes is on the rise, as well. Both diabetes and pre-diabetes have skyrocketed from nine percent of all adolescents in 2000 to 23 percent in 2008.

Dr. David Monroe, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University and the Director of Children’s Care Center at Howard County General Hospital, wrote a recent post for the Well & Wise blog about the growing obesity statistics for children and notes that one in five children are now obese. Howard County pediatrician Wendell McKay notes that young athletes are not immune from bad choices and cautions us about the use of sports drinks. He encourages athletes to watch their intake and encourages non-athletes to choose water, instead.

This weekend, The New York Times also weighed in on this issue and on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on supersized soft drinks in New York City. Opponents of the ban have insisted that consumers can make the best decisions for themselves. McDonald’s tweeted “We trust our customers to make the choices that are best for them.”  Pierre Chandon, a visiting Harvard Business School scholar, conducted research which challenges the assumption that the consumer knows what’s best.  Study results indicated that people can’t estimate portion sizes and consumption accurately. Even dieticians had difficulty.  You can test yourself to see if your own assumptions are dependable by taking the Well Quiz about supersized drinks.  Let us know how you did!


Mary Catherine Cochran is a big believer in communications and the critical role that it plays in community building.  (Although she is still adjusting to doing it in 140 characters or less!) When she isn’t busy truncating the message, she works as a Senior Communications Project Manager at Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine where, among other things, she manages and writes for the Well & Wise blog.


  1. m3j5c2

    Re: the “uselessness of sports drinks” – note that even Dr. McKay does not proclaim them useless; and recommends an 80/20 ratio of water to sports drinks for those athletes in extended exercise. The recreational player playing one game of slo-pitch softball doesn’t need a Gatorade. But for the athlete on the field from noon to 1:30, then 3 to 4:30, 4:30 to 6, and again from 7:30 to 9 pm, on a day when the mercury hits 95 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s important. And for those who say water is “almost” as good as a sports drink, I’ll simply note that the Ravens “almost” went to the Super Bowl.

    • You are right and I will make that change in the article. Athletes still should pay attention to what they are drinking and balance it with the amount of actual exercise they are getting- but super athletes- like the one you describe above have a different set of rules when it comes to sports drinks than most kids! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  2. Leeann

    I actually overguessed across the board. Either way, that’s way too much soda!


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