COFFEE chains are selling a range of festive drinks that contain as much sugar in a single cup as almost seven doughnuts.
Caffe Nero’s mint hot chocolate has a whopping 59.9g of sugar in a grande cup (340 ml) – the equivalent of 15 teaspoons of sugar.
Or in other words the same amount of sugar as seven doughnuts from McDonalds.
For comparison, each millionaire’s doughnut at the fast food chain contains 8.6 grams or just over two teaspoons worth of sugar per serving.
Many of the festive hot drinks available from high street chains contain more sugar in a single cup than the NHS’s daily recommended sugar allowance.
Adults in the UK are advised to eat and drink no more than a total of 30g of sugar a day, or around seven sugar cubes, while children aged seven to 10 should have no more than 24g, or six sugar cubes.
Costa, Greggs, Starbucks and Pret A Manger all sell drinks containing more than 40g of sugar – more than a can of Coca Cola which contains 39g.
A medium takeaway cup of Costa’s Black Forest Forestino contains a huge 48.4g of sugar, while Greggs’ Mint Hot Chocolate has 46g and Pret’s S’Mores Hot Chocolate contains 42.5g of sugar.
At Starbucks, an Eggnog Latte contains 43.1g of sugar and the grande Toffee Nut Coffee Frappuccino contains 41.1g. The chain’s grande Toffee Nut Latte has 33.7g of sugar and its grande Gingerbread Latte has 33g.
All the drinks are exempt from the sugar tax because it only applies to fizzy soft drinks.
Dr Saul Konviser, from the Dental Wellness Trust, said: “The extortionate sugar in these festive drinks is totally unacceptable – some of which contain over 15 teaspoons and can contribute significantly to tooth decay, especially in children.”
The campaign group Action on Sugar said “clearly nothing had changed” since it warned about the high sugar content in festive drinks last Christmas.
Campaign lead Dr Kawther Hashem added: “Last December, Action on Sugar released data from its own festive drinks survey which found many high street coffee chains were failing to reduce the sugar in their milk and milk-alternative festive drinks, which can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.”
Chair of the National Obesity Forum Tam Fry said the drinks were “quite simply irresponsible”.
A Starbucks spokesman said: “Starbucks is committed to helping customers make informed nutritional choices, and offer a range of food and drink options to suit different needs.”
Costa said it had reduced the sugar content of its drinks by 20 per cent and limited its cup sizes.
A spokesman said customers could reduce the sugar by requesting skimmed milk and removing the toppings. They added: “Costa Coffee is constantly reviewing the sugar, fat and calorie contents of our drinks as part of our commitment to offering a nutritionally balanced menu.”
Greggs, Caffe Nero and Pret A Manger did not respond to requests for comment.