In the article Mocha Coffee Drinks Are As Bad As Soda, Gail Ingram explains that mochas (lattes with chocolate) are “sugar-sweetened beverages” that are comparable to drinking the same amount of Coca-Cola.
The amount of sugar in a medium 12-ounce mocha is equal to 10 teaspoons of the granulated stuff. Would you ever put 10 sugar cubes or 10 packets of sugar into a 12-ounce coffee or tea drink? No, of course not. But because you aren’t ripping open 10 individual packets and pouring them into your drink, the actual amount of sugar in chocolate sauce used to make a mocha goes unnoticed.
The first ingredient in chocolate sauce is SUGAR, corn syrup, or high-fructose corn syrup–not chocolate. Cocoa is usually the last ingredient before the artificial coloring and flavor. There are no health benefits from the scant amount of chocolate in chocolate syrup even if the label touts it as dark chocolate.
The amount of sugar in a medium mocha is the same as drinking a 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola. There has been plenty of media coverage about the high levels of sugar in soft drinks (AKA sugar-sweetened beverages) but rarely are mochas lumped into this group. But they qualify. Mochas ARE sugar-sweetened beverages that are on par with drinking sodas.
Sugar-sweetened beverages have been associated with obesity in multiple studies. New research suggests that some people have a genetic predisposition to be more susceptible to the negative consequences of sugar-sweetened beverages. Research also shows that one sugar-sweetened beverage per day puts women at HIGH risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Please rethink your decision to indulge in mochas on a regular basis. There are other coffee options and sweet treats that don’t contain as much hidden sugar. If it is chocolate you crave, have a square of 74% artesanal dark chocolate instead.
A quick comparison:
- Starbucks Mocha Flavored Sauce: 4 tablespoons* in a 12-ounce Tall beverage = 40 grams of sugar
- Hershey’s Genuine Chocolate Flavor Syrup: 4 tablespoons = 40 grams of sugar
- 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola: 39 grams of sugar
4 grams of sugar = 1 cube OR 1 teaspoon OR 1 packet of sugar.
*Based on both the nutrition facts label on the Starbucks Mocha Flavored Sauce and 12 ounce Tall Caffe Mocha Espresso Beverage (no milk, no whipped cream) product information on the company’s website.