Credit: © YAY Media AS / Alamy

Sugary drinks are a hot-button issue. Their suggested contribution to obesity and other illnesses is a much debated topic. New York City famously tried to limit the sizes they could be served in, and Berkeley just became the first city in the US to tax them. Now, a British study shows that the number of drinks packing a huge sugar punch may be much more expansive than many people realize.

Setting a classic Coca-Cola as the sugar barometer, the UK health organization Action on Sugar looked at more than 200 beverages that might seem like healthier alternatives to sugar-laced sodas, including juices, smoothies and fruit drinks. They found that over a quarter of those beverages actually had more sugar per ounce than a Coke. Even more concerning, the survey focused specifically on drinks targeted at children.

Kawther Hashem, a nutritionist who works with the group, reminded parents that the word juice doesn’t necessarily imply that something is healthful or low in sugar. Instead, Action on Sugar supports diluting children’s juices or, ideally, encouraging kids to eat fresh fruit and drink water.

Despite its focus on kids’ drinks, the study serves as a reminder to all of us, parents or not. There’s no one specific evil out there when it comes to having an overall healthy diet. Make sure to check the nutrition label, no matter what it is you’re consuming.