Coffee chains review 2005

You could be taking away a lot more than you bargained for.
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  • Updated:28 May 2005



In brief

  • A coffee-to-go can provide a much needed caffeine fix. While a standard latte or cappuccino may be relatively harmless in the nutrition stakes, some coffee drinks, particularly the chilled, iced and frappé versions, provide a lot more kilojoules, fat and sugar than you might realise.
  • To save on kilojoules, fat and sugar you can customise your brew: switching to skim milk, choosing a smaller size and saying ‘no’ to whipped-cream toppings can all help. And think twice before buying a sweet treat to nibble on as well — it could double your indulgence in a few bites.
  • We tested the kilojoules, fat and sugar in a range of hot and chilled coffee drinks from coffee chains. Our table gives you the details.

See our lastest article on Ground coffee.

Please note: this information was current as of May 2005 but is still a useful guide to today's market.

It’s no great revelation that a chocolatey mocha drink or a coffee with flavoured syrup can be quite sugary. But it’s the chilled coffee drinks — particularly those that come topped with a luscious swirl of whipped cream — that are the real indulgence.

  • One regular-sized chilled drink can contain the equivalent of around 15 teaspoons of sugar — that’s more sugar than in a Mars bar or a can of Coke — or as much fat as in not one but two 50 g bags of chips.

While we wouldn’t recommend having one every day, you don’t have to deny yourself completely. Most chains are happy to accommodate individual drink requests, so you could limit the amount of kilojoules, fat and sugar you’re getting in these chilled drinks by:

  • Asking for your drink to be made with skim milk (if it’s not already)
  • Opting out of the whipped-cream toppings — this can save you around 10 grams of fat and 400 kilojoules
  • Choosing smaller rather than bigger-sized drinks

Supersize? Not a super idea

Some chains offer drinks in cups that hold 600 mL (it might be called 20 oz, or otherwise non-metrically it’s about a pint) or even more. At these larger sizes, a chilled coffee drink can deliver you as much as 80 grams (about 20 teaspoons) of sugar, and almost half the fat an average woman should be getting in a day. So if you’re watching your diet, opting for the smaller sizes will save you more than just money.

  • For example, buying a 480 mL (16 oz) cup of GLORIA JEANS Crème Brulée instead of the 720 mL (24 oz) cup on offer will give you savings of over 900 kilojoules, 10 grams of fat and 25 g of sugar. All the taste, but far less impact!

Coffee treats

It’s tempting to grab a muffin or a bikky when you’re getting a coffee-to-go, but consider the impact before you buy.

  • Croissants, while low in sugar, tend to be as high in fat as Danish pastries.
  • And most cake-like treats are by nature pretty sweet.
  • On top of a sugary coffee drink, you’d need to compensate with a considerable amount of exercise each day to burn off all the energy a snack like this provides (as an indication, jogging for half an hour uses up around 820 kilojoules). If you’re deskbound for a large part of the day, this can be difficult, so ‘treating’ yourself regularly could be a bad idea.

To see just how much fat, sugar and kilojoules these treats can add to your diet, check the table.



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