Nutritionist Reveals The Truth About Chick-Fil-A's Lemonade

We all know that lemonade is made from water, lemons, and sugar, but the sheer amount of sugar that's in Chick-fil-A's lemonade has made many of its diehard customers decide they'll seek their refreshment elsewhere. Former Chick-fil-A employee Hayden Alumbaugh demonstrated exactly how the fast food chain makes its popular tart — yet sweet — beverage in a TikTok video that has since been deleted (via Yahoo! Finance). They showed how an entire pitcher of sugar is poured into a container of yellow liquid, with the caption, "This is how much suger (sic) they put in the lemonade at Chick-fil-A," along with a queasy-face emoji. A medium Chick-fil-A lemonade has 220 calories and 58 grams of sugar, according to the restaurant's website.

And that, said nutritionist, chef, and food writer Robin Miller in an interview with Mashed, is a lot. "If 58 grams of sugar is your idea of a healthy beverage, then by all means, drink up. But note that one serving of Chick-fil-A's tart/sweet drink is the equivalent of three Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and you're likely guzzling the stuff with chicken nuggets and waffle fries."

All lemonade is high in sugar, nutritionist says

Although Miller doesn't see lemonade as a healthy drink, she also doesn't think there's anything particularly shocking about Chick-fil-A's lemonade. All lemonades are going to be extremely high in sugar because that's one of the main ingredients. We might think of this drink as being a wholesome beverage, purchased from a gap-toothed kindergartener selling it from a stand with a handwritten sign, or enjoyed on a shady porch after a long, hot summer day, but for as long as we've been consuming lemonade, we've been gorging on insanely high levels of sugar, Miller said. 

"It's not like Chick-fil-A is adding more sugar than your grandma did. In fact, they add slightly less than the traditional recipe of four to one to one — four parts water, one part lemon juice, one part sugar," Miller explained. "The tangy Chick-fil-A concoction is actually four parts water, one part lemon juice, and .875 parts sugar," making it slightly less sugary than homemade recipes.

That being said, Miller applauds anyone who, upon getting this reality check about the sugar in Chick-fil-A's lemonade, decides to stick with water in the future. "Again, 58 grams of sugar is a boatload for a beverage, so if you feel compelled to order it, consider the grilled chicken sandwich and skip the spuds," she advised. "Or order their diet lemonade."