Show them the sugar (tubes)

Too much added sugar in the diet can lead to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Yet we know that children and adults in the U.S. consume an average of 17 teaspoons of added sugars per day (CDC).

Whether you work with children or adults, get their attention with the Sugar Tubes Display Kit! Nothing beats the visual impact of seeing just how much added sugar is ten common foods and beverages:

  • Soda
  • Candy bar
  • Jell-O
  • Brownie
  • Chocolate chip cookie
  • Pancake syrup
  • Pop Tart
  • Apple pie
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Sugary cereal

Here are some tips on using the Sugar Tubes with students, clients, or employees. These would be perfect for a classroom setting or at a health fair:

  • Sugar Matching: Use food models, empty packages, or real food items that correspond with the test tube foods. Turn the test tubes so that the labels don’t show. See if your audience can match the food with the correct sugar tube.
  • Sugar Ranking: Using the food models/packages, ask your audience to arrange the items in order from what they think has the least to the most amount of added sugar. Then have a helper re-arrange the items as necessary as you reveal the corresponding sugar tubes.
  • Label Reading: Provide some additional food packages and have your audience practice finding added sugars on the Nutrition Facts panel. Show them how to divide grams of added sugar by 4 to convert to teaspoons.
  • Sugar Measuring: Using food labels or an online calculator, have your audience add up how much added sugar they consumed on a given day and convert that to teaspoons. Let them measure out this amount using real table sugar. They can simply measure it onto a paper plate, or use small funnels to pour it into empty soda bottles, or even test tubes if you have some. You could also use sugar cubes (each has about 4 grams or 1 teaspoon of sugar).

You can do the same or similar activities with the Salt Tubes and Fat Tubes!

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Hollis Bass has been a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader for more than 20 years. Reach her at