Sugary drinks are staples of the American diet. From energy drinks to sodas, sugar is a significant ingredient in many beverages, and Mountain Dew has long been a popular choice for those looking for a buzz or an extra boost of flavor. But how much sugar is in Mountain Dew? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at exactly what’s inside a can of Mountain Dew and explore why it might be one better left in the supermarket aisle.
A Brief History of Mountain Dew
Mountain Dew was created in the 1940s by Barney and Ally Hartman, bottlers based in Knoxville, Tennessee. The origins of its name and formula are disputed, but it may have been inspired by a lemon-lime moonshine called “Mountain Dew” popular in the Appalachian Mountains region. The Hartsman brothers licensed the soda to the Tip Corporation of Marion, Virginia, which began bottling it regionally in 1948. The Mountain Dew brand was acquired by PepsiCo in 1964, and it soon became available nationwide. With its caffeine boost and refreshing citrus flavor, it became popular as a morning soda and with teenagers and young adults. Over the decades, Mountain Dew has become PepsiCo’s 4th-largest brand, available in over 50 countries worldwide.
Nutritional Information at a Glance
Mountain Dew contains 46 grams of sugar in each 12 fluid ounce can. This is equivalent to about 11.5 teaspoons of granulated white sugar.
The full nutritional breakdown per 12oz can is:
- Calories: 170
- Total Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 55mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 46g
- Sugars: 46g
- Protein: 0g
In addition to concentrated orange juice from oranges, other ingredients in Mountain Dew include:
- Citric acid: A preservative that adds tartness
- Sodium citrate: Helps enhance flavor
- Caffeine: 54mg per 12oz can
- Potassium benzoate: Preservative
- Natural flavors
- Yellow 5 (tartrazine): Artificial food coloring
- Yellow 6: Artificial food coloring
- Brominated vegetable oil: Emulsifier banned in some countries
How Much Sugar Is In Mountain Dew?
|Sugar per oz
|77 grams / 20 oz = 3.85 grams per oz
- Mountain Dew | Brand | PepsiCo |
- Mountain Dew | Caffeine content | 91mg |
- Red Bull | Brand | Red Bull GmbH |
- Red Bull | Taurine content | 47mg |
Health Risks of Too Much Sugar
Consuming excessive added sugar like that found in Mountain Dew can lead to various health problems:
- Weight gain: The extra calories from sugar are stored as fat when not burned off, potentially leading to obesity over time.
- Diabetes: Too much sugar spikes blood glucose and may increase insulin resistance.
- Dental cavities: Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause tooth decay and erode enamel.
- Heart disease: Added sugar contributes to high blood pressure, inflammation, and unhealthy cholesterol levels that damage the heart.
- Fatty liver disease: Excess fructose from sugar is turned into liver fat.
The high caffeine content of Mountain Dew can also trigger side effects like insomnia, anxiety, digestive issues, and restlessness when consumed in excess. The artificial colors may exacerbate hyperactivity in children sensitive to additives.
How Does Mountain Dew Compare to Other Popular Sodas?
Mountain Dew is not unusual among sodas for its very high sugar content. Here is how it compares to some other popular brands:
- Coca-Cola Classic: 39g sugar per 12oz can
- Sprite: 38g sugar per 12oz can
- Dr. Pepper: 41g sugar per 12oz can
- Pepsi Cola: 41g sugar per 12oz can
Mountain Dew edges out the competition, with 12% more sugar than Coke and 17% more than Sprite. However, all these sodas provide excess added sugar, none of which is healthy on a frequent basis. Diet versions of these sodas use artificial sweeteners instead of sugar and thus contain 0g sugar. However, concerns exist about the safety of artificial sweeteners with long-term use. Unsweetened seltzer or sparkling water provides a zero-calorie alternative without any sweeteners.
Considerations for Special Dietary Needs
Certain groups should take extra care to avoid overconsumption of Mountain Dew and other sugary drinks:
- Diabetics: Soda spikes blood glucose quickly, making managing diabetes more difficult.
- Pregnant women: Excess sugar increases risk of excess fetal growth and complications.
- Children: Sugar damages developing teeth and metabolism long-term.
- People with hypertension: Sugar worsens high blood pressure.
Anyone restricting total carbohydrates or following a low-carb, ketogenic, or anti-inflammatory diet should also limit soda. People with chronic kidney disease or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease require tight control of added sugars.
Public Health Policies Regarding Sugary Drinks
In light of rampant obesity and diabetes among the population, public health agencies have called for policies to reduce overconsumption of sugary beverages like Mountain Dew. Some initiatives include:
- Health warning labels on packaging
- Higher taxes on sugary drinks
- Restricting soda marketing to children
- Removing soda from kids’ menus at restaurants
- Limiting soda portion sizes
- Better nutrition education and awareness campaigns
However, heavy lobbying by the soda industry has blocked many legislative attempts at regulations thus far. Only a few major cities like New York City and Philadelphia currently have soda taxes in place to discourage purchasing through cost.
The Environmental Impact of Mountain Dew Production
Making billions of bottles and cans of Mountain Dew every year for global distribution requires substantial resources and generates significant waste.
- Water usage: High demand on local water supplies near bottling plants.
- Energy consumption: High electricity usage for factories.
- Chemical pollution: Industrial production generates chemical byproducts.
- Carbon emissions: From ingredient farming, manufacturing, and transportation.
- Packaging waste: Billions of non-recycled plastic and aluminum containers.
PepsiCo claims it is working to improve the environmental sustainability of Mountain Dew and its other brands through efforts like recycled packaging initiatives. But ultimately, excessive soda consumption has a detrimental impact on the planet due to high resource demands. Consumers concerned about their carbon footprints may want to consider reducing soda intake.
Healthier Alternatives to Mountain Dew
Those seeking a caffeine boost without as much sugar may want to try:
- Low/zero-calorie sodas like Diet Mountain Dew or Coke Zero
- Sparkling water with natural caffeine like AHA or caffeine drops
- Unsweetened iced tea
- Coffee or cold brew coffee
- Low-sugar energy drinks like Celsius
For a flavor fix, add lemon, lime, mint, or fresh fruit to water. Herbal iced teas offer botanical interest. Kombucha provides natural sweetness with health benefits.
Tips for Reducing Sugar from Sodas
For die-hard Mountain Dew fans, small swaps can reduce sugar intake:
- Mix with plain seltzer or soda water to dilute
- Customize with citrus slices or cucumber-mint for flavor
- Go for the mini 7.5oz can instead of 12oz
- Share one can between multiple people
- Set a rule of only drinking one a day maximum
- Reward yourself by only drinking it post-workout
Any reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption can make a positive difference. Moderation and mindfulness remain key.
Bobby Kelly is a bartender at Molly Magees, an Irish pub in Mountain View. He’s been working there for two years and has developed a following among the regulars. Bobby is known for his friendly demeanor and great drink specials. He loves interacting with customers and making them feel welcome. When he’s not at work, Bobby enjoys spending time with his friends and family.