Caffè Nero’s Mint Choc Chip Hot Chocolate tops the leaderboard with the highest sugar content, equivalent to 15 sugar cubes
Coffee chains have just launched their festive menus, with many of this year’s drinks, such as Caffè Nero’s Mint Choc Chip Hot Chocolate, containing as much sugar as eight Yum Yums from Tesco.
Choose carefully: Starbucks, McDonald’s, Caffè Nero, Costa and Pret have all shared their festive menus for 2021, but some chains’ options contain double the sugar content of others.
You could have two McDonald’s Hot Chocolate Deluxes at 201 calories each and you’d still be under the total calories for one Black Forest Hot Chocolate, which has a whopping 420 kcals. In fact, you could have 3.5 McDonald’s Hot Chocolate Deluxes (6.5g fat) to meet the equivalent fat content in the Black Forest Hot Chocolate (24.7g)
The findings, collated by the UK’s leading mail-order dental supplier, Kent Express, found that Caffè Nero’s Mint Choc Chip Hot Chocolate is the worst for calories (468 kcals) and sugar content (63.5g). The sugar content is equivalent to 15 sugar cubes, a whole box of Domino’s cookies or 1.5 pieces of the coffee chain’s Salted Caramel Billionaire’s Cake. You could have dinner for under the drink’s 468 kcals (NHS recipes online include chicken jalfrezi for 334 kcals or fish and chips for 402 kcals, per adult portion).
To burn off this calorific hot drink, you’d need to run for over 40 minutes, on average, or walk for 1 hour and 30 minutes. What’s more, you’re likely to have an accompanying bite to eat with a hot drink, potentially adding even more sugar and calories to the off-the-scale total.
According to the NHS, more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g is considered high and 18 out of the 20 drinks include 22.5g of sugar and over, with the Caffè Nero Mint Choc Chip Hot Chocolate three times over this value.
The best hot drink for calories and fat is the Hot Chocolate Deluxe from McDonald’s (201 calories and 6.5g fat).
Coffee chains have released a series of new additions to their menus this year. If you fancy trying one of the new drinks but are conscious of the sugar, the Costa Gingerbread Latte and Cream has the lowest amount of sugar (14g). If you’re watching the calories, the McDonald’s Hot Chocolate Deluxe and Caffè Nero’s Salted Caramel Latte have the lowest number of calories.
Starbucks have launched the most extensive drinks menu, with eight options in total, including lattes, hot chocolates and frappuccinos, while McDonald’s has the fewest drinks options with two in total.
Chris Moffatt, dental expert at Kent Express, says:
“Everyone looks forward to letting their hair down at Christmas, but it’s good to make informed choices about what we eat and drink.
Around one in three adults in the UK have signs of tooth decay, which can lead to more serious health problems. Many dental practices close over the Christmas period, so it can be hard to get a dental appointment.
If you do indulge in a sugary drink try to have it with a meal, use a straw, and drink some water straight afterwards. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily and keeping up to date with your regular dental check-ups is also essential.”
Registered Nutritionist Dr Kawther Hashem, campaign lead at Action on Sugar, says:
“Sugar not only lacks nutritional benefits, but eating (or drinking) too much of it leads to weight gain and raises the risk of type 2 diabetes. Sugar is also, without doubt, a huge factor in tooth decay. It is therefore shocking that so many high-street coffee chains are still willfully putting their customers’ health at risk, despite the government’s sugar reduction targets for sugary milk drinks in 2018.
“In our Festive Drinks Survey in December 2019, we found Caffè Nero’s Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (Grande), made with skimmed milk, contained nearly 15 teaspoons of sugar (59.6g) and 503 calories. An average person would have to do 90 minutes on the cross trainer to work this energy off!”