You Won’t Believe How Much Sugar Can Be Crammed Into A Festive Hot Drink

We’re surprised you can even dissolve that much sugar in a takeaway cup.

No-one likes the fun police, especially when it comes to the festive season, and we’re certainly not going to say that you should never treat yourself to one of the hot Christmas-in-a-cup drinks on the list below. But it’s worth knowing what you’re getting yourself in for if you do, because these drinks are crazy sugary.

We’re talking more-sugar-than-Coke sugary in many cases (a can of regular Coke is something like 35g). The kind of sugary that sees you blow past the recommended daily intake of the sweet stuff before you’re two-thirds of the way through your mug. Here are the top ten worst offenders this Christmas, compiled by The Hospital Group:

  • Mint hot chocolate, Pret a Manger – 47.9g
  • Hazelnut hot chocolate, Pret a Manger – 47.9
  • Mint mocha, Greggs – 46g
  • Mint hot chocolate, Greggs – 46g
  • Salted caramel hot chocolate, Caffé Nero – 38.8g
  • Hazelnut hot chocolate, Caffé Nero – 38.2g
  • Toasted marshmallow hot chocolate, Starbucks - 36.7g
  • Ginger hot chocolate, Caffé Nero – 35.8g
  • Eggnog latte, Starbucks – 33.8g
  • Hazelnut praline and cream frostino, Costa Coffee – 33.2g

Why is so much sugar in one sitting a problem? Well, you probably have some idea, but for an informed explanation of the consequences of downing all that sugar in one go, here’s George Hamlyn-Williams, principal dietitian at The Hospital Group.

“The maximum recommended daily intake of sugar is around 30g a day for an average adult,” says Hamlyn-Williams. “All the top ten most sugar filled festive drinks contain more than this daily amount.

“While Christmas can be a time for indulgence, it’s important to remember that sugar overconsumption can lead to short-term changes in energy levels and mood, as well as tooth decay and an increase in weight, which can increase the long-term risk of type 2 diabetes.”

No-one needs mood swings around Christmas. We’ve all seen how nasty it can get around the Monopoly board.

“Spreading your sugar intake out over the course of the day, including meals and snacks, is a much better idea,” says Hamlyn-Williams. “Drinking your entire intake in one drink may also mean excessive overconsumption if your meals are sugar-heavy too.”

Let’s be honest, your meals probably are going to be sugar-laden at Christmas. One mince pie will usually contain over 10g of sugar, then there are the advent calendar chocolates, honey-glazed vegetables, Christmas pud, tree chocolates... you get the idea.

Written by Nick Harris-Fry for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to


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