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Here's how much sugar is in a Pumpkin Spice Latte - and other popular high street hot drinks

Now is the time for warming autumnal drinks, but new data shows how much sugar is in the most popular offerings.

Published: September 29, 2020

As the weather gets cooler, you may find yourself stopping by a coffee shop for a warming treat. But do you know how much sugar is in some of the most popular hot drinks from high street chains?

Embryo Digital has worked with health, nutrition and fitness experts to check out the autumn drink menus at Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Caffe Nero, Pret a Manger and Greggs.

They specifically looked at the nutritional value of a regular-sized serving, using semi-skimmed and non-dairy milk at each coffee shop.

Off the back of this they found that over half of the top 10 most sugary drinks contain more sugar than a 330ml can of full fat coke.

Sugar in High Street hot drinks

Here is a list of High Street autumnal hot drinks, and their sugar content.

Pumpkin Spiced Latte with semi-skimmed milk or soya milk from Starbucks – 50g of sugar

Signature Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with semi-skimmed milk from Starbucks - 45.1g of sugar

Rice-Coconut Hot Chocolate from Pret a Manger - 40.4g of sugar

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Caramelatte with semi-skimmed milk from Caffe Nero - 39.9g of sugar

White Chocolate Mocha with coconut milk from Starbucks - 34.7g of sugar

Honeycomb Cappuccino with semi-skimmed milk from Costa Coffee - 34.5g

Chocolate Milano with semi skimmed milk from Caffe Nero - 33.2g of sugar

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Honeycomb Latte Macchiato with oat milk from Costa Coffee - 32.1g of sugar

Vanilla Oat Latte from Starbucks - 31.4g of sugar

Mocha with semi-skimmed milk from Greggs - 30g of sugar

Last year, revealed the festive drink containing the most grams of sugar was Pret’s Mint Hot Chocolate, which contains 47.9 g of sugar, the equivalent of 11.4 teaspoons. In second place was another Pret a Manger festive drink, the Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, containing the same amount of sugar. These drinks are also the most calorific, at 439kcal each.

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However Pret a Manger had some healthier options, such as the Gingerbread Latte which contains half the amount of sugar (22.2g) which is the equivalent of 5.4 teaspoons.

If you are conscious of your waist line, then Caffe Nero had the least calorific and sugary festive coffee, the Ginger Latte, containing only 86 kcal and 14.9g of sugar (the equivalent of 3.5 teaspoons).

For this research, the drinks selected contained skimmed milk and the cup size opted for was regular, which represents roughly 12 oz. It must be noted that while ‘regular’ was chosen, the measurement is approximate.

How much sugar can you have in a day?

The recommended daily sugar intake for an adult according to health experts is 30g, which roughly equates to seven whole sugar cubes.

Medical experts advise coffee fans to be cautious when consuming these warm beverages as some of them are promoted to be healthier due to the difference of milk. However drinks that contain high sugar content can contribute to tooth decay, erosion and diabetes.

Dr Alex Carruthers from Dental Excellence, commented on these findings, saying: “These seasonal drinks can have a huge impact on teeth and general oral health increasing the risk of decay and erosion exponentially.

"We recommend Britons to be mindful of the amount of these hot drinks they consume as this could impact the condition of your teeth. We advise people across the country to follow your dentist's advice of good oral hygiene on a daily basis.”

GP and Medical Adviser at Prescription Doctor, Dr Aragona Gisueppe shared how these levels of sugar in drinks can cause Type 2 diabetes: “Overeating too much sugar can have a hugely damaging effect on your health from consuming too many calories which causes weight gain, obesity and health problems such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”

“A varied and balanced diet is the best way to manage any health complications and lower your chances of developing diabetes or other health conditions.

"Britons should aim to get their calorie intake from a range of foods such as fruit, vegetables, protein and only eat high in free sugars occasionally or not at all if possible.”

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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