According to a new report by the British group Action on Sugar, 98% of flavored hot drinks sold at major coffee shops in the United Kingdom have excessive amounts of sugar per serving. Thirty-five percent of those hot drinks contain nine or more teaspoons of sugar, the same amount as in a can of Coca-Cola.
The World Health Organization recommends adults and children to keep their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their caloric intake. If individuals reduced their daily sugar intake to below 5% or approximately 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons, they would have additional health benefits.
Free sugars refer to monosaccharides like glucose, fructose, and disaccharides like table sugar and lactose added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
Action on Sugar describes itself as "a group of specialists concerned with sugar and its effects on health." Its advisers and staff of doctors, nutritionists, and public health experts analyzed 131 hot drinks, including flavored coffees, teas, and mulled (flavored with spice mix/es) fruit drinks.
What was the largest culprit for the most amount of sugar in their survey? Starbucks’s Venti Hot Mulled Fruit - Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon contained a whopping 25 grams, or 18 teaspoons, of sugar per serving. That is almost three times more sugar than in one can of Coca-Cola.
"These flavored hot 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," said Kawther Hashem, a researcher for Action on Sugar.
The long-term effects of excessive sugar intake can include the following complications: unintentional weight gain, insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes, liver failure, pancreatic cancer, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, and cognitive decline.
Written by Stephen Umunna
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