How much sugar is ‘hidden’ in your Christmas cheer?

One sugary treat contains the equivalent of 11 teaspoons

While it might be true that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”, it is also true that overdoing the sweet white stuff might result in you needing quite a lot of medicine. I say this as a Type 2 diabetic needing two doses of insulin and six tablets a day though much of this I attribute to alcohol consumption, not hot drinks.

Given it is the festive season, there is no shortage of delicious hot drinks available and has decided to take a closer look at the nutritional value of the favourite drinks released by five major coffee chains.

I’m not a doctor, but I subscribe to the idea that “a little of what you fancy does you good”. The operative word, of course is “little”. I hope those in good health enjoy the drinks we are about to mention. But I also hope you don’t get “hooked” on the sugar rush some might give. All things in moderation. I’m just annoyed with myself for needing to avoid them.

Here are the headline findings from the research:

  • Caffe Nero serves the ‘healthiest’ festive drink in 2019, with 14.9g of sugar in its Ginger Latte.
  • Pret a Manger’s Mint Hot Chocolate and Hazelnut Hot Chocolate each contain the most sugar (47.9 g) – approximately 11 teaspoons
  • Unsurprisingly, out of the top 10 calorific and sugary festive hot drinks, seven are hot chocolate.
  • 66% of the drinks contain more than your recommended daily intake of sugar.

Christmas is around the corner, which means ‘tis the season to indulge! And it’s quite hard not to do so when your favourite coffee shops have released their festive specials. But, while it’s hard to keep track of what you indulge in this time of the year, it’s still good to be considerate and not overdo it. looked at the specials of Starbucks, Costa, Caffè Nero, Pret a Manger and Greggs. 

By comparing each festive hot treat, analysed the number of calories and grams of sugar in each festive hot drink (provided for on their website) in order to see who slips in the most sugar and contain the most calories before additional sugar is added by the customer.

For the research, the drinks selected contained skimmed milk and the cup size opted for was regular, which is roughly 12oz. It must be noted that while ‘regular’ was chosen, the measurement is approximate can reveal the festive drink containing the most grams of sugar is Pret’s Mint Hot Chocolate, which contains 47.9 g of sugar, the equivalent of 11.4 teaspoons. In second place is another Pret a Manger festive drink, the Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, containing the same amount of sugar. These drinks are also the most calorific, at 439kcal each. However, if you are shopping at Pret a Manger, there are some healthier options, such as the Gingerbread Latte which contains half the sugar (22.2g), equivalent of 5.4 teaspoons. 

If you are conscious of your waistline, maybe you should head to Caffe Nero, as it serves the least calorific and sugary festive coffee, the Ginger Latte, containing only 86 kcal and 14.9g of sugar ( 3.5 teaspoons). 

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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