The unhealthiest Christmas drink on the market revealed – and it might not be what you think

Christmas drinks sugar
(Image credit: Getty)

And with more and more Christmas drinks on the market each year, it gives us an excuse to be sipping on one everyday.

Because if we don’t try Costa’s Hazelnut Praline & Cream Frostino and McDonald’s Millionaire's Latte now, we’ll have to wait another whole year for Christmas drinks. So, it’s allowed right?

But, before your place your Christmas drinks order, you might want to check out this new research, which has revealed the extraordinarily high amount of hidden sugar and calories lingering within those merry little cups.

Researchers have found that some Christmas drinks can contain up to a whopping 23 spoonfuls of sugar per cup.

Action on Sugar studied more than 200 festive drinks from nine different coffee chains and found a worryingly high amount of sugar in many of our favourites.

Nutritionist Holly Gabriel, from Action on Sugar, said the results were "shocking".  She continued, "Coffee shops and cafes need to take much greater steps to reduce the levels of sugar and portion sizes, promote lower sugar alternatives and stop pushing indulgent extras at the till."

The study found a Starbucks Signature Caramel Hot Chocolate made with oat milk, and topped with whipped cream had the most sugar - containing 93.7g which is the equivalent to 13 teaspoons of sugar. To put this into perspective, this equates to three cans of Coca-Cola, or four chocolate and strawberry muffins.

Next up on the list of sugary festive drinks was Caffe Nero's Grande Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate made with skimmed milk containing a whopping 15 teaspoons of sugar.

Starbucks' venti Gingerbread Latte made with oat milk containing 14 teaspoons closely followed.

A second study commissioned by, looked at a range of festive menus and found similar results. They discovered some Christmassy beverages contained over half of an adult’s recommended daily sugar allowance.

High street coffee chain Pret A Manger nabs the top two spots for the most sugary drinks with their Mint Hot Chocolate and Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, both contain a whopping 14.4 teaspoons each.

Credit: OnBuy

It’s no surprise that hot chocolate drinks topped the sugar tables, with Greggs Mint Hot Chocolate and Caffè Nero's Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate coming in next with 10.9 and 9.3 teaspoons, respectively.

When it came to calories?

Pret’s Mint Hot Chocolate and Hazelnut Hot Chocolate are the biggest hitters, with 439kcal for each drink. Costa and their Hazelnut Praline & Cream Coffee Frostino closely followed with a whopping 385 kcal.

Next, on the list for the most calories is Caffè Nero, with their 383kcal Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, closely followed by their Caramelised Almond Hot Chocolate which came in at 382kcal.

So the “healthiest” Christmas drinks on the market? Well, good news for coffee lovers because the festive lattes flood the bottom of the table.

Caffè Nero's Ginger Latte contains the least sugar with 3.5 teaspoons and takes the crown for least calories with just 85kcal.

Then again, it is approaching Christmas so a little yuletide warmer here and there may not be so bad.

Aleesha Badkar
Lifestyle Writer

Aleesha Badkar is a lifestyle writer who specialises in health, beauty - and the royals. After completing her MA in Magazine Journalism at the City, the University of London in 2017, she interned at Women’s Health, Stylist, and Harper’s Bazaar, creating features and news pieces on health, beauty, and fitness, wellbeing, and food. She loves to practice what she preaches in her everyday life with copious amounts of herbal tea, Pilates, and hyaluronic acid.