(NaturalHealth365) Coffee shops are a great place to develop bad (nutritional) habits for life. As America continues to struggle with problems of obesity and type 2 diabetes, a report by a British advocacy group reveals that some specialty coffee drinks can contain as much as 25 teaspoons of sugar. To put this in perspective, a 12 ounce can of regular soda typically contains from 7 to 9 teaspoons of sugar.
While the per person consumption of coffee has steadily declined since the 1940s, as new beverage types were introduced through the decades to vie for the consumer’s dollar, the number of specialty coffee shops has continued to grow in recent years. That expanded menu of lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, mochas and more contributes to the expanding waistlines of many adults, as well as playing a contributing role in early onset of chronic illnesses.
Specialty coffee shops offer coffee with more sugar content than soda
The research, conducted by the British advocacy group Action on Sugar, found that 98 percent of the 131 hot-flavored drinks analyzed contained what professional nutritionists would consider excessive levels of sugar per serving. The findings revealed that 35 percent of the hot, flavored drinks offered contained the same amount or more sugar than a can of cola.
The organization Action on Sugar is a self-described “group of specialists concerned with sugar and its effects on health.” It includes doctors, nutritionists and public health specialists among its staff and advisors. The group focused on Starbucks and eight other large coffee and food chains for its recent study. While the research centered on drinks sold in the U.K., most of the those analyzed are available from companies also doing business in the United States.
Two of the most popular Starbucks choices available in the U.S. include the vanilla latte and caramel macchiato, each containing more than eight teaspoons of sugar each. A caramelized honey latte packs an astounding 11-plus grams of sugar.
A medium Dunkin’ Donuts vanilla chai packs over 11 teaspoons of sugar, while a hot macchiato has 7 teaspoons. KFC’s mocha serves up a whopping 15 teaspoons of sugar, while a large mocha at McDonald’s has 11. A white chocolate mocha? Nearly 15 teaspoons of sugar!
Exceeding recommended sugar intake contributes to chronic disease
Hot drinks like those in the study are particularly popular with those under 40 years of age, contributing to the steady increase of obesity seen in young adults as well as earlier onset of chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes. The number of children and young adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has been increasing, along with a growing number considered overweight or obese.
Health campaigns against excessive sugar content in food and drink has been gaining momentum in recent years, but research suggests one out of every three adults has prediabetes. Many are unaware of the condition.
Changes in lifestyle, including diet and exercise, are known to be effective in slowing, or even preventing, type 2 diabetes indefinitely. The World Health Organization has recently suggested cutting the recommended average daily sugar intake for adults in half, to about 25 grams, or around 6 teaspoons, of sugar for a normal weight adult.
The problems associated with type 2 diabetes are common and can have serious impacts on health. Problems associated with the illness can include hypertension, heart disease, stroke, blindness and eye problems, amputations, kidney disease, nervous system complications, dental disease, pregnancy complications, and mental health issues, such as depression.
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