Be aware of the hidden sugar content of festive hot drinks

Christmas owlAlthough the national chains in this article are not in Orkney the information about the content of hot festive drinks is something to be aware of. 

The UK’s largest network of dental practices, has revealed the top five festive drinks from national coffee chains that are worst for your teeth.

The drink containing the most was the Mint Hot Chocolate from Pret a Manger, which in the standard 335g size with standard ingredients of organic chocolate powder, organic milk, mint syrup and whipped cream contains 50.2 grams of sugar.

That is equivalent to the sugar in nearly two Mars bars, 1.4 cans of original Coca Cola, or 20 McVities original digestive biscuits.

The second highest sugar content was the medio Costa Coffee Hazelnut Praline Hot Chocolate with cream to takeaway at 38.6g of sugar. Also in the top five were Starbucks’ Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate (36.7g) and Eggnog Latte (33.8g) and Costa Coffee’s Hazelnut Praline Latte (32.6g).

The worst offender from 2018 was the Belgian Truffle Hot Chocolate with Cream from Café Nero with 56.9g of sugar. While Café Nero has released its festive menu for 2019 it has not released nutritional information, but we estimate that this year’s Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate could contain up to 59g of sugar.

Be aware of the hidden sugar content of these drinks and to indulge sparingly.

Dr Nyree Whitley, Group Clinical Director of {my}dentist, said:

“While we all like to indulge a little over the festive season some of these drinks really do take the whole packet of biscuits.

“The NHS advises that an adult should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day but all of these festive drinks have more than that. As a rare treat and with good oral health that shouldn’t cause a problem, but if you choose a ‘festive special’ each day you could soon be on the way to irreversible tooth damage.

“We’re certainly not here to take the fun out of Christmas, but we’d urge consumers to be aware of how much sugar is in their morning coffee. Where possible it’s also advisable to say no to cream, dairy milk substitutes or extra syrup shots to further reduce the sugar content.”

Top tooth-friendly tips for choosing festive drinks:

  • Only indulge as a treat – the amount of fat and sugar contained in many of the Christmas drinks is not only bad for your teeth but overall health too.
  • Don’t go large – Choose the smallest option and make the ingredients more tooth friendly where possible. Choose skimmed milk, say no to cream and sprinkles, and ask for a half shot of syrup to reduce sugar.
  • Follow with water – Many people grab a coffee on their way to work, which could mean the sugar from these drinks stays on the teeth all day. You should ideally follow immediately with water and swish around the mouth to remove any traces from your teeth.
  • Follow good oral hygiene – This one goes for all year, but it’s even more important when we’re enjoying all the treats Christmas brings. Brush for two minutes twice a day and clean in between daily using interdental brushes or floss.

The festive drinks with most sugar (in retailers’ standard size with semi skimmed milk):

  • Pret a Manger – Mint Hot Chocolate – 47.9g sugar, equivalent to 12 sugar cubes
  • Costa Coffee – Hazelnut Praline Hot Chocolate – 38.6g sugar, equivalent to 9.5 sugar cubes
  • Starbucks – Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate – 36.7g sugar, equivalent to 9 sugar cubes
  • Starbucks – Eggnog Latte – 33.8g sugar, equivalent to 8.5 sugar cubes
  • Costa Coffee – Hazelnut Praline Latte – 32.6g sugar, equivalent to 8 sugar cubes

Christmas owl

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