JDRFNewsThe sugar tax: which of your preferred hypo drinks have reduced their sugar?

The sugar tax: which of your preferred hypo drinks have reduced their sugar?

Posted on 04 April 2018

Lots of white sugar cubes laid on a blank background

This Friday, 6 April, marks the beginning of a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. But many living with type 1 diabetes are still unsure about what changes this brings to some of their preferred hypo treatments.

Hypos are when one’s blood glucose levels drop too low. They can be frightening to experience, but can be managed effectively by drinking or eating something that contains carbohydrate. Generally, 15-20 grams of sugar is enough to bring levels up to normal.

Sugary drinks have long been choice treatments for hypos, but with the government’s new levy being applied to drinks with more than 5g of added sugar per 100ml, the cost of self-treating is increasing.


Below is a list of popular hypo treatment drinks and how they’re changing:

Lucozade Energy Original – less sugar per 100ml

Lucozade Energy Original was invented in the 1920s to give energy to those who were ill. And it continues to do so today, being an especially popular choice for hypo recoveries.

The drink’s sugar content has reduced from 17g to 8.9g per 100ml.

Bottle of Lucozade Energy


Coca Cola Classic – no sugar change, but more costly

Coca Cola was developed to be dispensed at soda fountains in the USA, well before today’s low or zero sugar alternatives. Today, the company decided not to change the Coca Cola Classic (red) recipe, instead changing its size and so charging more per ml.

The drink’s sugar content stays at 10.6g per 100ml, but it’s bottled in smaller sizes.

Can of classic Coca Cola


Fanta Orange – less sugar per 100ml

Fanta Orange is famous for substituting Coca Cola in Germany during World War II. Now it has changed its formula to ensure it falls outside of the sugar tax.

The drink’s sugar content has reduced from 6.9g to 4.6g per 100ml.

Can of Fanta Orange


Irn Bru – less sugar per 100ml

Irn Bru is Scotland’s unofficial ‘national fizzy drink’, but its decision to cut sugar content by more than half has been the subject of recent petitions.

The drink’s sugar content has reduced from 10g to 5g per 100ml.

Can of Irn Bru


Ribena Blackcurrant – less sugar per 100ml

Ribena started out as a wartime supplement for vitamin C. The blackcurrant favourite with children and adults has drastically shrunk its sugar in light of the levy.

The drink’s sugar content has reduced from 10g to 4.6g per 100ml.

Can of Ribena Blackcurrant


Orangina – less sugar per 100ml

Orangina was invented by a Spaniard at a trade fair in Algeria. The citrusy option has also altered its ingredients list in response to the sugar tax.

The drink’s sugar content has reduced from 10g to 4.5g per 100ml.

Bottle of Orangina drink


Regardless of the changes, those needing to treat hypos are always advised to check sugar content of each drink carefully to ensure the right amount of carbohydrates is consumed. This is especially required now that with the sugar tax coming into force, shop shelves may carry both high and low glucose versions of the same drink at the same time:

The levy is aimed at challenging rising obesity rates, with an estimated £520m to be redirected to fund sport in primary schools.

Is your preferred hypo drink treatment changing? Have you already been adjusting? Join the conversation here on Twitter and Facebook.