How your coffee shop frappe has as much sugar as 5 KitKats

How that summer coffee shop frappe can be worse for you than eating FIVE KitKats: Eye-watering levels of sugar in drinks sold by Costa, Starbucks, Caffe Nero and McDonald’s revealed

  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaigners warn the drinks will add to Britain’s obesity epidemic

High street coffee giants are packing their summer drinks with up to five KitKat bars’ worth of sugar, an investigation shows.

A MailOnline audit can reveal that many of the chains are offering seasonal drinks far in excess of the NHS’s recommended daily sugar limit.

Campaigners have warned the drinks — which are particularly popular with children and teenagers — will only add to Britain’s obesity epidemic.

In the worst case, Costa Coffee’s Blueberry Bubble Frappe Light Whip contains an astonishing 49.3g of sugar — as much 12 teaspoons of sugar.

NHS guidance states the average adult should have no more than 30g or seven teaspoons of added sugar per day.

A MailOnline audit can reveal that many of the chains are offering seasonal drinks far in excess of the NHS’s recommended daily sugar limit

Sugar found naturally in milk, fruit and vegetables do not count to the limit.

Caffe Nero’s new Tropical Fro-Yo Frappe, served with semi-skimmed milk, contains 24.6g, or six teaspoons worth.

A Strawberry and Cream Frappe from McDonalds also contains around six teaspoons worth, while a Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew from Starbucks contains 17.6g – about four and a half.

Zoe Davies – Nutritionist at Action on Sugar said: ‘Year after year we see large coffee shop chains selling these drinks – many of which are loaded with excessive sugar and calories. 

‘These “seasonal” drinks are not an occasional treat – they are sold and heavily advertised year round, but with different flavours.

The results in full


Blueberry Bubble Frappe Light Whip

(medium with semi-skimmed milk)


(small with semi-skimmed milk)



Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew






Tropical FroYo Frappe Cream



Strawberries and Cream Frappe





‘Given obesity costs the NHS around £6.5billion a year and is the second biggest cause of cancer, coffee shops must step up and do more to reduce the amount of sugar in these drinks and be more transparent about the amount of sugar in their products at the point of sale. 

‘Our advice to customers if they want to enjoy one of these drinks is to ask for less syrup and choose the smallest size.’

The findings come as the government announced tens of thousands more NHS patients could receive a ‘game-changing’ weight loss drug in a desperate bid to tackle obesity.

Nearly one in three Britons are classified as obese, making the UK one of the worst countries in Europe for obesity, behind Malta and Turkey.

Five million people are estimated to be at risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.

Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘If ever obesity is going to be eradicated in the UK, government has got to legislate or sets limits on the amount of sugar contained in a single product.

‘The manufacturers of these drinks are irresponsible and deserve to have the book flung at them.’

Paul Evans, of the British Obesity Society and School Health UK, said: ‘You see adults and children sipping on these drinks inevitably contributing to spiralling obesity rates across the board.

‘It is astonishing there is so little conversation about the irresponsible sugar levels contained in these drinks.’

A Costa Coffee spokesman, said: ‘We know our customers love visiting us for their everyday favourites or a summery treat with friends and family.

‘We are proud to offer a balanced range of drinks which also includes, as part of our summer menu, a fruity range of Refreshers which can all be enjoyed for under 40 calories.’

Starbucks said: ‘We are committed to helping customers make informed and improved choices that work for them, offering a range of customisation options such as choosing our smallest size Tall.

‘Customers can find all nutritional information available on our mobile app, online and our menu boards.’

Caffe Nero said: ‘The Tropical FroYo Frappe Crème is a treat and only accounts for one per cent of our summer drinks range.’

McDonald’s did not respond to requests for comment.


Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count

• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain

• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on

• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options

• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts

• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day

• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide 

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