Tonic water sugar content: the truth may shock you

September 27, 2018

Reaching for the ‘healthier’ tonic water because it’s not as sweet as other mixers? Tonic water might just have you fooled. 

Let’s look at what traditional tonic water is really made of, why it’s probably not the healthiest option, and what you can drink instead.

How much sugar is in tonic water?

We’re sorry to say that sugar doesn’t just hide out in your tonic water. Many popular drink mixers on the market contain every bit as much sugar. But the good news is that there are alternatives.

Sugar content in common drink mixers

Soft drink (300ml)

33g of sugar (7.8 teaspoons of sugar)

123 Calories 


Traditional Tonic Water (300ml)

27g of sugar (6.5 teaspoons of sugar) 

102 Calories 


Fruit Juice (300ml) 

27g of sugar (6.5 teaspoons of sugar) 

102 Calories 


Ginger Ale (300ml)

27g of sugar (6.5 teaspoons of sugar)

102 calories 


Soda Water (300ml)

0g of sugar 

0 calories 


Tomato Juice (300ml)

10.8g of sugar (2.5 teaspoons of sugar) 

51 calories 


Flavoured Sparkling Water (300ml) 

15g of sugar (3 teaspoons of sugar) 


58 calories 


Nexba Tonic Waters (300ml)

0g of sugar

8 calories 


Nexba Sparkling Waters (300ml)

0g of sugar 

5 calories


Nexba Soft Drinks (300ml) 

0g of sugar 

6 calories

Tonic water sugar content and sugar content of other popular mixers

Ever wondered what tonic water has in it?

Traditional tonic water generally contains four ingredients:

  • Carbonated water
  • Sugar
  • Quinine and other flavours
  • Preservatives

Quinine is the key ingredient that gives tonic water its unique bitter taste. It’s actually a drug that’s used to treat malaria and other diseases. Of course, doctors use it in much bigger doses than you’ll find in store-bought tonic waters.

But when you throw in the sugar and preservatives… suddenly tonic water isn’t looking so healthy any more.

How much sugar’s actually in tonic water?

Different brands of tonic water have different sugar content. 

But when we did a little digging, we discovered that the average tonic water has more than 27 grams of sugar. That’s 6.5 teaspoons – which means you’re looking at over 100 calories per 300mL bottle!

And yes, that’s a LOT of sugar.

Just to put that into context, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a maximum of 5-10 teaspoons of sugar a day.

So, that one G&T you’re enjoying after dinner tonight? It probably contains close to your total recommended sugar intake for the entire day. So two G&Ts will most definitely tip you over.

What’s the big deal with sugar?

The WHO doesn’t just go around making dietary recommendations willy-nilly. 

They base their sugar intake guidelines on a super-thorough evaluation of current, credible scientific research and studies. And all those studies link sugar consumption with unhealthy weight gain, tooth decay and a bunch of other health problems.

In fact, sugar is a major factor in some of the biggest health problems of our times. 

For example, a review of 50 years of research has shown that refined carbs (aka sugar), especially in sugar-sweetened beverages, can increase your risk of heart disease. And other research shows links between sugar and:

So when you think about it, cutting back on excess sugar – especially in your drinks – is a total no-brainer.

But wait! Don’t give up your G&T just yet!

Sugar free tonic water

Taking your favourite sugar-packed drink and making it healthier (but just as delicious) sounded like the kind of challenge our Nexba innovation team loves.

So, we gave them a room where they could keep crafting tonic water after tonic water. We encouraged them to throw out anything that didn’t work and keep the stuff that did… until they came up with the perfect recipe.

Nexba Tonic Water has all the amazing, tangy-bitter flavour of a premium tonic water, without the mountain of sugar. But it also has a subtle sweetness thanks to our top-secret Nexba Naturally Sugar Free sweetener blend.

What it doesn’t have is any artificial ingredients, like nasty preservatives you can’t spell or artificial sweeteners. In fact, unlike most of the traditional tonic waters on the market, our drinks have:

  • No sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No fructose
  • No caffeine
  • No GMOs
  • No nasties

And best of all, Nexba Tonic Waters are also:

  • 100% Vegan
  • All-natural
  • Low-calorie (8 calories per bottle)
  • Made with natural quinine
  • Australian made and owned

Want a tonic water that doesn’t contain your entire day’s sugar?

Check out our range of delicious, premium, totally sugar-free tonic waters today.



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