A recent video from Denplan, the UK’s leading dental payment plan provider, has highlighted the staggering sugar content of festive drinks found in many of the popular high street coffee chains – including a specialist hot chocolate that contains up to 24 teaspoons of sugar. If these drinks are accompanied by cakes or other sweet treats, the amount of sugar consumed can double.
“While most people will probably be aware that their festive drink contains some levels of sugar, they might not be aware of the sheer quantity,” says Henry Clover, Deputy Chief Dental Officer at Denplan. “Many of the festive coffees, lattes and hot chocolates that we looked at across a range of high street coffee chains contained, on average, around 12 to 18 teaspoons of sugar in their largest portion sizes. One caramel fudge hot chocolate from a popular coffee chain even contained a shocking 24 teaspoons of sugar – that’s the equivalent to around two and a half cans of cola.
“As a one-off treat, a sugary festive drink won’t do you any harm, but if you get into the habit of frequently consuming high levels of sugar, this may cause tooth decay. Every time we eat or drink something sugary, bacteria in our mouths produce acids that can cause tooth decay. A high sugar diet is also linked to other health problems such as obesity and diabetes.”
The vast amounts of sugar found in high street coffee chain beverages is especially concerning in light of guidelines from the World Health Organisation published earlier this year*. The WHO suggests that adults should consume no more than 12 teaspoons of ‘free’ sugars a day, but should really be aiming for six. ‘Free’ sugars refer to sugar that is added to foods and drinks, as well as things like honey and fruit juices.
In addition, research conducted earlier this year by YouGov on behalf Denplan** also suggests that consumers would welcome knowing more about the levels of sugar found in their food and drinks, and would even like to see an overall reduction in sugar content. The survey revealed that only a third of UK adults (35%) think that retailers and food companies do enough to inform them of how much sugar is in food and drinks. Of those who disagreed that retailers and food companies do enough, 73% said retailers and food companies should reduce the overall sugar content in food and drinks.
So what are the healthier options for a festive beverage this Christmas?
“It’s certainly not all doom and gloom for the Yuletide season – it’s all about being informed and enjoying things in moderation,” says Henry. “Opting for a peppermint tea or an Americano coffee or plain latte with sugar-free syrup can warm you up without the added sugar.
“If you do decide to sample a speciality coffee during the festive period, make sure you’re aware of the sugar content before you order, and try to drink this as part of a balanced meal.”
*Source: World Health Organization, March 2015 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/
**Denplan/YouGov Survey February 2015. The survey was carried out online. Total sample size was 5,315 adults.
Denplan is the UK’s leading dental payment plan specialist, with more than 6,500 member dentists nationwide caring for approximately 1.7 million registered patients. Established in 1986 by two dentists who pioneered the concept of dental payment plans, Denplan has been at the heart of dental care for nearly 30 years and today the company is owned by Simplyhealth. Denplan has a wide range of dental plans for adults and children, enabling
patients to budget for their private dental care by spreading the cost through a fixed monthly fee. We support regular attendance and preventive care, reducing the need for clinical intervention and helping patients to maintain healthy teeth and gums for life. For further information visit www.denplan.co.uk. For oral health tips and advice visit www.myteeth.co.uk. Patient enquiries telephone: 0800 401 402 Dentist enquiries telephone: 0800 328 3223
· Denplan Care: all routine and restorative care + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
· Denplan Essentials: routine care only + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
· Plans for Children: routine and other agreed care + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
· Membership Plan: registered with the dentist + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
· Denplan Emergency: worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover only
· Company Dental Plans: company funded, voluntary and flexible benefit schemes
Denplan also provides a range of professional services for its member dentists and their practice teams, including the Denplan Quality Programme, Denplan Excel Accreditation Programme and Denplan Training, plus regulatory advice, business and marketing consultancy services and networking opportunities.
For more information about Denplan:
Denplan Press Office
Tel: 01962 828 194
We have been helping people with their health for over 140 years. Our roots are in the hospital funds set up during the Victorian era to help working people save for their medical care, and we still follow mutual values today. With no shareholders, our profits go back into supporting our customers and healthcare charitable causes, donating over £1 million each year. Last year, we donated £1.4 million.
In 2011, we acquired Denplan Limited, the UK’s leading dental payment plan specialist. Simplyhealth has 1,391 employees based across our offices in Andover, Manchester, Leeds and Denplan in Winchester. We serve our 3.5 million customers through cash plans, dental plans, Denplan and pet health plans. Simplyhealth has Independent Living Centres which provide daily living and mobility products, including powerchairs, mobility scooters and wheelchairs, in Andover, Bristol, Burnham, Droitwich, Kenilworth, Leeds, Northfield, Norwich, Sutton Coldfield, Telford, Willenhall and Wolverhampton.
Simplyhealth is a trading name of Simplyhealth Access, which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
For further information: