Bitesize health news for busy people

How much sugar is in your hot drink?


New research by Action on Sugar, a campaign group in the UK, has revealed the sugar levels in 131 hot flavoured drinks from different food and drink outlets and discovered that 98% would receive a red warning label for excessive levels of sugar.

35%  of the drink contain the same amount or more sugar than a Coca Cola drink, which itself contains 9 teaspoons of sugar per can.

Adults are recommended to restrict themselves to around 7 teaspoons of sugar a day (30g), due to the risk of diabetes, obesity and tooth decay that comes with a high intake of sugar

The group are calling for a stricter reformulation of sugar and fat, with a ban on marketing of uinhealthy products and a 20% tax on sugary drinks.


Kawther Hashem, Registered Nutritionist and Researcher for Action on Sugar believes that coffee shops should be reducing the amount of sugar in hot drinks, and reducing the size of the cups.

“These hot flavoured drinks should be an occasional treat, not an ‘everyday’ drink. They are laden with an unbelievable amount of sugar and calories and are often accompanied by a high sugar and fat snack. It is not surprising that we have the highest rate of obesity in Europe.’

“Our advice to consumers is to have a plain hot drink or ask for your drink to contain a minimal amount of syrup, preferably sugar free, in the smallest serving size available.”

How much is in my drink?

  • A large Chai Latte from Costa is a whopping 20 teaspoons of sugar per serving
  • A large Starbucks Signature Hot Chocolate is 15 teaspoons of sugar
  • A Caffe Nero Caramelatte is 13 teaspoons of sugar
  • A large EAT Matcha Latte is 11 teaspoons of sugar
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