Pimms & lemonade: How much sugar?

Recently we’ve been blessed with a spell of hot sunny weather in the UK and Andy Murray winning Wimbledon (Wahey, *fist punch*). This of course means mass summer celebration. Mass summer celebration in England usually calls for one particular beverage….Pimms!

I have always loved Pimms as much as everyone else.  I’ve enjoyed it over the years at Wimbledon, Ascot, many BBQs and various other social events. But HOW is this going to work with a low sugar diet? This post shall reveal all…

The sugar in Pimms

Pimms’s recipe is top secret, apparently only 6 people actually know it. Therefore there is a lack of ingredients and nutritional information on the label. A little bit of research and you can determine that ingredients generally include dry gin, liqueur, fruit juices and spices.

So Pimms has sugar. There is no escaping that fact, but let’s try and make it as low sugar as possible shall we?

Traditionally you mix Pimms with lemonade in a 1:3 ratio. This means the lemonade is the killer on the sugar front, rather than the Pimms.

Therefore my suggestion and strategy is, instead of worrying about the Pimms, which is pretty hard to substitute seeing as it’s a unique substance, we focus on limiting sugar in the Lemonade part.


Lemonade comparison

Now I would advise anyone to stay away from lemonade full stop but if it’s a one off then it’s handy just to know this. I checked out the amount of sugar in lemonade and was at first quite surprised at the differences between brands.

With the worst offenders at the top, here are the sugar contents of varying lemonade brands (based on 100ml which is roughly what you might add to make a single glass of Pimms).ll stop but if it’s a one off then it’s handy just to know this. I checked out the amount of sugar in lemonade and was at first quite surprised at the differences between brands.

7up and Sprite (both 10.6g)

Schwepps (4.2g)

Asda Chosen by You (3.5g)

R Whites (2.4g)

Conclusion: Never ever buy Sprite or 7up. It’s got over 4 times as much sugar as others. That is just a staggering difference for what is essentially the same stuff.

You might be saying, well I’ll just have diet Lemonade with zero sugar. Yes this is an option as these usually have under 1g of sugar. You can read my take on sweeteners here, but generally be aware that with diet drinks you are drinking chemicals that we aren’t completely sure what they’re doing to us.

What I found interesting was that even the ‘regular’ lemonades still contained the artificial sweeteners, so don’t think you’re escaping the chemicals, you’re just drinking both!

The diet lemonades I researched generally contained both Aspartame and Saccharin, two of the most debated sweeteners on the block.

Every now and then when you really want a Pimms? OK. Every week or every day? Definitely not recommended.

Lemonade alternatives

Because my taste buds are accustomed to a lot less sugar these days, I find Pimms with Lemonade, even diet Lemonade, very sweet, so I’ve been experimenting…

Try mixing your Pimms with the smallest amount of lemonade (diet or no diet) you can manage and then top up the rest with soda/sparkling water. You can play around with the proportions to your own personal taste, but by doing this you’re diluting the sugar content and bringing it down to a lower level without too much compromise. Adding extra fruit and mint also enhances the flavour without the need for the sugary lemonade overload.

You can also do this soda water trick with gin and tonic to a certain extent. Just little ways of bringing the sugar content down without giving up everything that you like all at once.

What do you think of Pimms and lemonade? Too sugary or something that you’ll allow yourself on special occasions?


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4 replies
  1. AngieChurchill
    AngieChurchill says:

    A suitably seasonal blog Laura!  I absolutely love Pimms but I switched to drinking it with ginger beer a few years ago and now can’t even contemplate having it with lemonade – the fiery heat and spicyness of ginger beers counteracts the sweetness of the Pimms perfectly – but you’ve made me think that I must do some research into the various brands to see which has the least amount of sugar.  I particularly like Crabbies for it’s strong flavour, but you have to remember that it’s alcoholic so you’re getting double the hit!

    • lauraj_thomas
      lauraj_thomas says:

      AngieChurchill The ginger beer is a great option Angie, thanks! I’m still laughing at your lethal double dose Crabbies-Pimms concoction!

  2. SharonAnnSnowdon
    SharonAnnSnowdon says:

    I love Pimms and I really enjoyed the one I had a Wimbledon this year.  Normally I don’t touch soft drinks so I don’t worry too much about making a less healthy choice every once in a while.  It would be interesting to know if the lower sugar options contain more artificial sweeteners.

    • lauraj_thomas
      lauraj_thomas says:

      SharonAnnSnowdon I’m the same, I don’t usually touch soft drinks but I do like Pimms! I think Sprite is just on a sky high level with sugar and the others are possibly balanced out with different amounts of sweeteners. It’s quite hard to tell. At the end of the day like you say , once in a while is OK if you’re feeling in control. I just thought it was an interesting post to do and do a little research on!


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