An Artist Proves There's Enough Sugar In Your Soda to Create a Lollipop

Henry Hargreaves
Henry Hargreaves / Henry Hargreaves

The next time you go out to eat, consider ordering a lollipop to wash down your chicken caesar salad. You might as well: That Coke you reach for has enough sugar to create one, an artist from New Zealand has proved.

In a recent series of photographs called (de) hydrate, photographer Henry Hargreaves, who now lives and works in Brooklyn, demonstrates what happens when you remove the liquid from common sugary drinks. “After recently hearing a health professional refer to soda as ‘the cigarettes of our generation,’ I decided to do an experiment to show what’s in soft drinks after the water is boiled away—in other words, dehydrating the hydrator,” Hargreaves told mental_floss in an email. “Once boiled, I took each remaining substance and poured it into a lollipop mold. After all, I figure that’s what you’re essentially getting: candy in costume as a soft drink.”

Hargreaves pours the sugar mixture into his molds.

Hargreaves traces around the bottom of each beverage bottle and brands each resulting disk with the drink's name; he then uses these disks as stencils to create molds for his candies. Next, Hargreaves boils the liquid out of each drink on a stove top and pours the remaining sludgey mixture of sugar, food coloring, and other ingredients into the molds. The molds go into the fridge to harden, and, Voila! Soda 'pops.

Watch Hargreaves at work in the video below.

The results of Hargreaves' experiment-cum-art-project are unappetizing, to say the least. “There was way more sugar in there than I thought,” Hargraeves tells the BBC. “Pretty much all of the lollipop molds I made overflowed ... The other shocking thing was if you took the lollipops and put them into contact with water they became the drinks again.”

Unsurprising, Mountain Dew punched in as the sugariest beverage with 77 grams (2.7 ounces) of the sweet stuff. But even the drinks marketed as “healthier” options—such as Vitamin Water, Honest Tea, and Zico coconut water—contained enough sugar to create a lollipop. So stick to water for your hydrating needs—if you think convenience store beverages are good for you, then you’re the sucker.

The final results:








Check out more of Hargreaves's work on his website, Instagram, or Facebook.

All images courtesy Henry Hargreaves