Your favorite seasonal drink is probably filled with sugar
'Tis the season for red cups and seasonal drinks to return to your favorite coffee shop. While your favorite beverage may smell and taste just like the holidays — it’s probably loaded with sugar. Sugary drinks may taste great, but “drinking large amounts of sugar can lead to serious health problems” including an increased risk of heart disease, obesity and tooth decay.
Drinks like these are supposed to be sweet, so naturally there are lots of syrups added to the drink to give it that perfect taste. Plus, if you add on the whipped cream or other toppings, you are adding additional sugar and fat. Calories in drinks are especially tricky because they are often "empty calories" which means they do not make us feel as full when we consume them.
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For example, a Grande size of Starbucks' Peppermint Mocha with whipped cream has 54 grams of sugar and 440 calories. A 16 oz. Fa La Latte, steamed egg nog and espresso topped with whipped cream and nutmeg, from Caribou Coffee contains 63 grams of sugar and 500 calories. The daily maximum amount of calories of added sugar for women is 100, as recommended by the American Heart Association.
Caffeinated drinks are not the only culprits of surprisingly high sugars: Coffee-free drinks like mint hot chocolate and apple cider also contain lots of sugar. A medium Mint Hot Chocolate from Dunkin Donuts is 300 calories and 42 grams of sugar and a medium Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks is 380 calories and has 71 grams of sugar.
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These drinks, filled with sugar and calories, are disguised in the seasonal marketing tactics of the companies trying to sell them. Resist the urge to get your taste of the season from your favorite coffee shop this year, or opt for healthier options by asking for sugar-free syrup or skim milk in your seasonal-flavored treat.