The Science of Sugar – How Much Sugar is in a Can of Soda?

Do you know how much sugar is in that can of soda you drink every afternoon? It’s well known that sugar accounts for the high calories in soda that lead to weight gain and unhealthy habits. But just how much is in that can and what about diet soda?

Start by placing different types and brands of soda into a bucket of water. Which ones will float and which ones will sink? Classify and take notes. Then move to the science behind your results. Why do some float and why do some sink?

Start with comparisons – we are going to use Coke and Diet Coke in our example. Both cans are the same size and hold the same volume 355 mL. The regular Coke weighs about 384 grams while the Diet Coke weighs 371 grams. The regular Coke has 140 calories, the diet Coke has zero calories. Are the calories the thing that makes it weigh more? Sort of.

The regular Coke has 39 grams of sugar. But what does that mean? About 18 packets of sugar in one can of regular Coke.

The reason the regular Coke sinks is the sugar content. If you drank one can of soda every day for a year, you would consume 32 pounds of sugar!

For more on the Science of Sugar, watch this week’s episode of The Spangler Effect where Steve goes beyond the sugar in a can of soda and makes some very sweet discoveries.


2 replies
  1. Josh Sinnott
    Josh Sinnott says:

    This was very interesting! I love the comment about the importance of inquiry-based science instruction. I am very impressed with the idea of using the floating or sinking concept to show the weight of the sugar in the can. Best of all this can be a health lesson alongside a science lesson. Well Done!


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