Introducing the Sugar Overload Calculator -- our newest resource for moving science to action. Americans are awash in added sugar and our new game helps people see just how much of it lurks in our food and beverage products. We selected 12 popular items that contain added sugar to help people see how quickly it adds up.
Players select the number of servings in a typical day for each item and estimate the total. The calculator determines the actual total amount of added sugar and compares it to the daily maximum recommended by both the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association.
The game can also be used to show the added sugar in an individual product and compare it to the daily maximum limits. For example, selecting one can of soda will show the player it contains 9 teaspoons of added sugar – 150% of the maximum 6 teaspoons per day recommended by the American Heart Association for children 2-18 years old.
The sports drink and fruit snack combo often served to children after soccer practice has 12 teaspoons of added sugar which is double the maximum. Sharing this sugar overload information can help parents make the case for serving water and orange slices instead.
The sugary drinks add up quickly. The sports drink, fruit flavored drink and soda have a combined total of 21 teaspoons of added sugar which is more than double the maximum for men and more than triple the maximum for women and children.
We were inspired to come up with this American version of the sugar calculator after seeing the one created for Australians by a new nonprofit health organization, SugarByHalf. Our game was developed over the weekend at the Seattle GiveCamp hackathon – an event where technology professionals donate their time to provide solutions for non-profit organizations.
The game is mobile friendly and prompts users to visit our sugar advocacy toolkit for more resources on bringing sugar back to healthy levels.
The graphics were created from scratch by Lynne Startup and Naphtali Moore. The code was written by Constance Chen, Megha Gulati, Daniel Pierce, and Mathieu Wang. Jennifer Oleson was the “Scrum Master” who made sure everything was in a state of flow so the project could be completed by the end of the weekend.