While the soda industry has been a major target for obesity opponents hoping to cut sugar from beverages, the coffee chain Starbucks is now under fire.
About 98% of Starbucks' hot flavored drinks contain what the UK activist group Action on Sugar calls excessive levels of sugar per serving, according to tests of 131 drinks. More than a third contain more sugar than or as much sugar as a can of Coke.
One of the biggest culprits is Starbucks' seemingly innocuous hot mulled fruit grape with chai, orange, and cinnamon, which has 99 grams of sugar in a venti — the equivalent of adding 25 teaspoons of sugar to your cup of tea or coffee.
The more obviously sugary venti white chocolate mocha with whipped cream contains 73.8 grams of sugar. Downsize to a nonfat grande, and ditch the whipped cream, and the drink still contains 58 grams of sugar — 232% the daily intake recommended by the World Health Organization.
Action on Sugar defined excessive levels of sugars according to the UK's nutrition labeling criteria of more than 13.5 grams of sugar in a serving or greater than 11.25 grams per 100 milliliters.
"Earlier this year we committed to reduce added sugar in our indulgent drinks by 25% by the end of 2020," a Starbucks representative told Action on Sugar. "We also offer a wide variety of lighter options, sugar-free syrups, and sugar-free natural sweetener, and we display all nutritional information in-store and online."
Starbucks isn't the only massive chain that packs more sugar into its beverages than you may expect.
Chick-fil-A's medium sweet tea has 32 grams of sugar.
Sixteen ounces of Jamba Juice's "Orange Dream Machine" smoothie contains a whopping 71 grams.
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