One lump or two? Your flavored hot drink could be maxed out on sugar

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British group seeks to make consumers aware of high sugar content in their diets.

A new report out from the British campaign group, Action on Sugar, says 98 percent of hot flavored drinks sold in major coffee chains in the United Kingdom are laced with excessive amounts of sugar, with as much as 25 teaspoons of the sweet stuff per cup, according to a report on

The report also says 35 percent of the drinks surveyed contain nine or more teaspoons of sugar, the same amount as a can of regular Coca-Cola, and three times the recommended daily amount of adult sugar intake based on guidelines issued by the American Heart Association (AHA).

Although the report was done in the UK, nutritional information published on the websites of the companies indicate the levels are the same or similar in the United States and other countries as well.

According to the report, Starbucks’ hot mulled fruit grape with chai, orange and cinamon was the “worst offender” containing a total of 25 teaspoons of sugar.  The coffee chain also had two other choices with over eight teaspoons each, vanilla latte and caramel macchiato.  Starbucks has announced plans to reduce added sugar by the year 2020, and a spokesperson for the popular chain said the company offered a wide variety of lighter options as well, including sugar-free syrups and natural sweeteners, and added the nutritional information from all their products is posted in-store and online to allow customers to decide for themselves.

Starbucks is not the only offender cited by the group, that bills itself as campaigning against hidden sugars in food and advises customers on ways to eat less sugar in their diets, as well as organizing a Sugar Awareness Week.  Fast-food giant McDonald’s offers a large mocha drink that contains 11 teaspoons of sugar, the same amount as Dunkin’ Donuts’ vanilla chai, and even Kentucky Fried Chicken’s mocha drink checks in at 15 teaspoons of sugar per cup.

Kawther Hashem, a researcher for Action on Sugar, says these drinks should be considered as a treat and not everyday drinks, due to the large amounts of sugar and calories in them.  Hashem adds the problem can be compounded by the fact that the consumption of these types of drinks is often associated with an additional high-sugar content snack.

The group’s researchers, which included doctors, nutritionists and public health specialists, evaluated the nutritional claims of 131 hot drinks at nine big coffee shops and food chains in Britain to complete the study.

Daniel J. Brown

Daniel J. Brown (Editor-in-Chief) is a recently retired data analyst who gets a kick out of reading and writing the news. He enjoys good music, great food, and sports, with a slant towards Southern college football, basketball and professional baseball.

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