Scientists poking their fingers into drinks from the leading high street coffee chains and sucking off the results have declared Starbucks the seller of the least-healthy Christmas indulgence beverage special, with the chain's Signature Caramel Hot Chocolate found to contain a staggering 93.7g of sugar in each large-cup serving.
That's 23 teaspoons' worth of sugar, equal to about three cans of Coke, or an amazing 758 calories in one extreme-comfort hot drink. If you get a cake or a sandwich on the side, or secretly eat three of the Tesco mince pies in your bag when the barista's not looking, that's all of the day's energy in one three-minute guzzle. That could be considered a clever time-saving life hack in the hectic festive season by some, but pressure group Action on Sugar would not put it like that.
These milk-based drinks are not currently covered by the Soft Drinks Industry Levy – more commonly known as the Sugar Tax that triggered mass reformulations within the chiller cabinet – and Action on Sugar would like it if they were. Particularly because today's shift towards alternative milks, some of which are additionally sweetened themselves, could see those wanting a healthier option unknowingly adding half a cup of sugar to their latte by simply going vegan and being good like we're supposed.
Katharine Jenner from AoS said: "You can always add sugar in, but you can't take it out. Customers looking for dairy alternatives could be shocked to learn that many coffee shops and cafes use pre-sweetened alternative milks as the nutrition information is often very difficult to find -- with information only available on websites or not at all." [Action on Sugar via BBC]
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