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Starbucks Called Out for Selling Drinks with ‘Dangerously High’ Levels of Sugar

Update Date: Feb 17, 2016 10:44 AM EST

Popular American chains, such as Starbucks and McDonalds, and other cafes are being called out by a British charity group for putting too much sugar in their hot drinks.

According to a report by the U.K. campaign group, Action on Sugar, 98 percent of the drinks examined would get a red nutritional value label that warns consumers about high sugar levels with several hot drinks containing at least 20 teaspoons of sugar. To put it into perspective, a can of Coca-Cola or Pepsi contains nine teaspoons of sugar.

The drink with the highest amount, which is sold by Starbucks, was the Hot Mulled Fruit - Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon in the size, Venti. This drink reportedly has 99 grams of sugar or 25 teaspoons per serving. Starbucks had two other contenders at the top of the list. Its White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream Venti contains 18 teaspoons of sugar per serving and its Signature Hot Chocolate Venti has 15 teaspoons of sugar.

The chairman of the group, Professor Graham MacGregor, said their report points to "yet again another example of [the] scandalous amounts of sugar [that is] added to our food and drink." The group believes that measures, such as creating a new tax on sugar and starting an independent group to oversee companies that are trying to reduce the amounts of fat and sugar in their processed food and drink items, have to be enforced.

Starbucks has responded to the report, stating that the company has been working to make its products healthier.

"Earlier this year we committed to reduce added sugar in our indulgent drinks by 25 per cent by the end of 2020," a Starbucks spokesperson said reported by CNBC. "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."

The other offenders included Costa's Chai latte - Massimo - Eat In (20 teaspoons of sugar per serving), KFC's Mocha (15 teaspoons of sugar per serving) and Caffe Nero's Caramelatte - Drink in (13 teaspoons of sugar per serving).

Costa and Caffe Nero responded to the report as well stating that they are also working to lower the amount of sugar in their drinks.

"These hot flavored drinks should be an occasional treat, not an everyday drink," research Kawther Hashem said reported by BBC News. "They are laden with an unbelievable amount of sugar and calories and are often accompanied by a high sugar and fat snack."

The report was based on 131 hot drinks that could be purchased in UK high street outlets.

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