Christmas has always been a time of indulgence. But that used to mean feasting around the family table on the big day itself, or scoffing one too many chocolates while slumped on the sofa on Boxing Day.
For there’s a worrying, not to mention fattening, trend for Yuletide drinks — from eggnog lattes to mince pie flat whites — that contain more calories than Christmas cake.
Some people lay the blame for the obesity crisis at the door of coffee shops peddling syrup-laden coffees — and judging by the new array of Christmas specials, who can blame them?
Harry Wallop, pictured, tests out all those fat-filled festive brews that will likely make you as roly poly as Santa
There are festive lattes containing more sugar than a Kit Kat, Yuletide hot chocolates with more calories than a Big Mac and a Christmas ‘cleanser’ with seven teaspoons of sugar — equivalent to 17 Rich Tea biscuits.
Be warned. If you pop into a coffee shop to take a break during your Christmas shopping, your mid-morning tipple could be more fattening than a bowl of figgy pudding.
And that’s before you factor in a mince pie or a muffin.
A frostino, pictured, is Costa’s version of a Starbucks frappuccino and has the sugar equivalent of five Krispy Kreme doughnuts
Costa Black Forest Frostino
£3.80, 449 calories, 67.5g sugar, 13.8g fat
A frostino is Costa’s version of a Starbucks frappuccino — milky coffee blended with ice to create a cold, thick concoction similar to an ice-cream milkshake.
It’s not only a summer drink, however. Costa has created various festive versions, including this one with a flavour of the Seventies — Black Forest gateau.
The coldness suppresses the sweet taste, but this drink contains the astonishing equivalent of 16 teaspoons of sugar — or five Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
Crussh Chocolate Orange Super Smoothie
£4.80, 387 cals, 45.3g sugar, 11.6g fat
Its contents of low-fat yoghurt, milk, mandarin, banana and cacao may sound super healthy, but this 450g smoothie packs in an eye-popping 45.3g of sugar, the equivalent of a glazed doughnut washed down with a can of Coca-Cola.
Also, it has 11.6g of fat — more than that found in a McDonald’s cheeseburger. The drink is gloopy, with only a hint of mandarin. The overriding taste is banana.
This Costa latte, pictured, comes with its own gingerbread man – and more calories than a cheeseburger
Costa Gingerbread Latte with Charlie
£3.60, 332 cals, 17.3g sugar, 23.1g fat
If prizes were awarded to the chain whose coffees looked the most Christmassy, Costa would win hands down.
This latte not only comes with a big squirt of cream and a dusting of crushed gingerbread, but also ‘Charlie’, Costa’s mini gingerbread man, who perches on top.
‘The biscuit adds crunch,’ says dietitian Aisling Pigott. ‘But it also adds calories.’ She’s right. This coffee has more calories than a cheeseburger.
Starbucks Eggnog Latte
£3.35, 271 cals, 33.8g sugar, 9.5g fat
This year the sugar in the Starbucks Eggnog Latte has been reduced by 11 per cent compared with 2015. But it still contains plenty — nearly as much as a can of Coca-Cola.
‘Some of the sugar will come from the milk,’ explains Pigott, ‘so it isn’t added sugar, but it’s still sugar.’
You could have a Krispy Kreme for fewer calories and less fat. It’s not that nice either — all I can taste is cream and sugar.
Starbucks tried to make their drinks less sugary than last year but the Toffee Nut Lattee, pictured, still contains more sugar and calories than a Magnum ice cream
Starbucks Toffee Nut Latte
£3.35, 264 cals, 28.5g sugar, 11.3g fat
Starbucks vowed in 2014 that it would reduce the sugar content in its ‘indulgent’ drinks by a quarter by 2020.
This is another one of the drinks that is less sugary than last year — but somehow it still contains more sugar and calories than a Magnum ice cream.
The squirty cream added to the top of the drink deflates quicker than a balloon at a child’s party. It’s quite pleasant but very, very sweet.
It’s also pretty expensive, compared to most non-festive coffees on the High Street.
Pret Mint Mocha
£2.75, 220 cals, 20.7g sugar, 5g fat
Billed as an indulgent Christmas treat, Pret’s mocha, with a shot of mint, tastes like After Eight in a cup and slips down nicely.
‘I suppose a mocha could be less bad for you a hot chocolate,’ says Pigott, ‘but it will still have a lot of sugar in it.’ This contains five teaspoons of sugar —more than there is in 12 Rich Tea biscuits.
M&S Christmas Pudding Smoothie
£1.65, 215 cals, 25.75g sugar, 3.25g fat
THIS is different. To give M&S credit, it really does taste like Christmas pud — cinnamon, apple and raisins with low-fat yoghurt creates a festive, if odd, drink.
There is a strong hit of citrus to cut through the richness. The acid also disguises how sweet this is: a mere 250ml contains the amount of sugar in two glazed doughnuts.
‘There are nutritional benefits in the raisins and yoghurt,’ says Pigott. ‘But I’m not sure this is anything other than an indulgence.’
McDonald’s Spiced Cookie Latte
£2.09, 174 cals, 22g sugar, 5.7g fat
‘Unmistakably festive’ boasts the burger chain. The dusting of cinnamon sugar on top of the whipped cream is certainly generous, especially considering it’s the cheapest of all the coffees we tried.
Not very large, it has the equivalent of five teaspoons of sugar — more than a large Magnum — and the syrup completely masks the coffee.
The Crussh Christmas Cleanser, pictured, tries to be healthy but still exceeds a woman’s recommended daily amount of sugar
Crussh Christmas Cleanser
£4, 166 cals, 29.3g sugar, 1.8g fat
I feel as healthy as a yoga teacher just looking at this drink. It contains Brussels sprouts, cucumber, celery, lemon and six small Granny Smiths.
‘Most of us assume juice is a healthier option,’ says Aisling Pigott. ‘But they are crushing a lot of the fruit down, ending up with just a lot of fructose or fruit sugar. And nothing you put into your body is going to ‘cleanse’ you. That’s what your liver and kidneys are for.’
This contains the equivalent of seven teaspoons of sugar — more than a woman’s recommended daily amount and as much as you’d find in 17 Rich Tea biscuits.
Caffe Nero Roasted Hazelnut Latte
£2.95, 148 cals, 23.6g sugar, 2.6g fat
This isn’t a big drink and it’s made with semi-skimmed milk, so in calorie terms it is not that bad. But thanks to a generous dollop of hazelnut syrup — which does, at least, give it a delicious Nutella-esque flavour — it contains nearly six teaspoons of sugar. More than you’d find in a four-finger Kit Kat.
Pret Festive Flat White
£2.75, 133 cals, 19.9g sugar, 3g fat
Yuck! A Pret Flat White is my high street coffee of choice — but this tastes of car air freshener. It supposedly has a dash of mince pie syrup, ‘with notes of apple, plum and cinnamon’.
It’s a small drink, just 202 grams, so doesn’t have that many calories but it does contain nearly five teaspoons of sugar, the same amount you’d find in two Cadbury Freddos. I’d take the Freddos, frankly.
Adding orange to coffee makes the hot drink, pictured, contain over four teaspoons of sugar
Caffe Nero Clementine Latte
£2.95, 129 cals, 17.5g sugar, 3.3g fat
Many families celebrate Christmas morning with a buck’s fizz —adding some orange juice to their champagne. I am not convinced that adding orange to one’s morning coffee produces such magically festive results. It merely creates a coffee that smells like potpourri.
This is not the most sugar laden of the drinks, but it still manages to contain over four teaspoons.
Eat Winter Tea
£1.95, 35 cals, 8g sugar, 0g fat
Want something warm and Christmassy sans calories or caffeine?
Eat has the answer: Christmas tea.
It uses South African rooibos flavoured with spiced syrup and a dusting of cinnamon.
‘Rooibos is caffeine-free,’ says Pigott, ‘and often sold as being full of benefits, which I’m not convinced by. But it’s a good alternative to these creamy coffees.’
Eat, however, adds syrup and, in doing so, 8g or two teaspoons of sugar. For someone who drinks their tea without sugar, this tastes so sweet I could feel the enamel being stripped from my teeth.
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online