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Using Food Labels

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, and Barbara Tharp, MS.

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In this activity, students will determine the amount of sugar in a typical soft drink. In the process, they also will explore the units of measurement commonly used on food labels and learn about healthful eating.  

Have student groups follow the instructions on the “Sugar Measures Up” page to determine the amount of sugar contained in a typical soft drink. Students will begin by predicting the number of teaspoons of dissolved sugar in one ordinary (12-oz) can of their favorite soft drink. On the measuring cup shown on the worksheet, students should draw a line to indicate the amount of sugar they predict is in one can of soft drink. 

Next, students will use the following information to answer the question, “How many teaspoons of sugar are in a can of soft drink?”

An average 12-ounce can of soft drink contains about 40 grams of sugar. 

One teaspoon of sugar weighs 4 grams. 

Students should add the appropriate number of teaspoons of sugar into the measuring cup. Have students observe the amount of sugar actually in the cup and ask, Is this more or less sugar than you predicted would be in the can of soft drink? On the measuring cup shown on the worksheet, students should draw a line to indicate the actual amount of sugar in a can of their soft drink. 


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932