Popular 'cocktails in a can' contain as much sugar as 6 Krispy Kremes
Revealed: Popular ‘cocktails in a can’ and alcopops can contain as much sugar as SIX Krispy Kreme doughnuts (and WKD Blue is the worst offender)
- 208 pre mixed alcoholic drinks analysed as part of review by Action on Sugar
- WKD Blue, an ultra-sweet alcopop, served up 59g of sugar in one 700ml bottle
- That is the equivalent of six Original Glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts (10g)
Some popular ‘cocktails in a can’ and alcopops are crammed with as much sugar as six Krispy Kreme doughnuts, an investigation has found.
A nutritional review of 208 pre-mixed alcoholic drinks on supermarket shelves found just 14 (9 per cent) had labels revealing how much sweet stuff they contained.
More than half of the beverages did not provide information on the pack or website, leaving scientists little option but to analyse some themselves in a laboratory.
The ‘alarming’ investigation found WKD Blue, an ultra-sweet alcopop, was the worst offender, serving up 59g of sugar in one 700ml bottle.
That is the equivalent of six Original Glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts (10g) and double an adult’s entire maximum daily allowance (30g), according to the NHS.
Another fruity vodka mix, VK Blue, was also crammed with sugar, dishing out 52g in one 700ml bottle, more than two half-litre bottles of Fanta Orange (24g).
The ‘alarming’ investigation found WKD Blue, an ultra-sweet alcopop, was the worst offender, serving up 59g of sugar in one 700ml bottle. That is the equivalent of six Original Glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts (10g)
Another fruity vodka mix, VK Blue, was also crammed with sugar, dishing out 52g in one 700ml bottle, more than two half-litre bottles of Fanta Orange (24g)
TGI Fridays’ Passion Fruit Martini was another one of the worst offending drinks, the investigation found. One 500ml bottle was packed with 12 teaspoons (49.1g) of sugar. The company’s Pink Punk Mojito was also crammed with the sweet stuff, dishing out 46.7g
But despite containing far more sugar than many soft drinks, alcoholic beverages are not required by law to provide nutritional information on packaging.
Action on Sugar said this means some consumers were unknowingly ‘drinking their way to tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes.’
It demanded the government makes traffic-light labelling mandatory on all alcohol, claiming the industry had proven it was ‘unable to police itself’.
Activists also called for the introduction of a levy similar to the soft drinks tax, which has seen the amount of sugar in them plummet by a third since 2018.
TGI Fridays’ Passion Fruit Martini was another one of the worst offending drinks, the investigation found.
One 500ml bottle was packed with 12 teaspoons (49.1g) of sugar, almost the same as two 250ml cans of Red Bull (55g).
In terms of sugar content per ml, Tesco’s Strawberry Daiquiri Alcoholic Frozen Sorbet (left) scooped first place. One tiny 250ml packet contained 36g of sugar. Archers Schnapps & Lemonade was closely second, providing 33g in a can of the same size
The company’s Pink Punk Mojito was also crammed with the sweet stuff, dishing out 46.7g in one 500ml bottle.
In terms of sugar content per ml, Tesco’s Strawberry Daiquiri Alcoholic Frozen Sorbet scooped first place.
One tiny 250ml packet contained 36g of sugar, nearly two-and-a-half 330ml cans of Dr Pepper (16g).
Archers Schnapps & Lemonade was closely second, providing 33g in a can of the same size.
Cheap and convenient ‘cocktails in a can’ are part of a booming industry, with all major supermarkets now stocking them for as little as £1.
They reportedly rose in popularity last April when Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott was pictured drinking a canned M&S Mojito on the London Overground.
Sales of gin and tonic cans also rose at M&S after the main character in BBC comedy Fleabag drank them in a park with her priest friend, the company said.
Diane Abbot MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, was snapped drinking a mojito in a can on a train in London last April – she later apologised because drinking alcohol is banned on Transport for London services
HOW MUCH SUGAR IS TOO MUCH?
The amount of sugar a person should eat in a day depends on how old they are.
Children aged four to six years old should be limited to a maximum of 19g per day.
Seven to 10-year-olds should have no more than 24g, and children aged 11 and over should have 30g or less.
Meanwhile the NHS recommends adults have no more than 30g of free sugars a day.
Popular snacks contain a surprising amount of sugar and even a single can of Coca Cola (35g of sugar) or one Mars bar (33g) contains more than the maximum amount of sugar a child should have over a whole day.
A bowl of Frosties contains 24g of sugar, meaning a 10-year-old who has Frosties for breakfast has probably reached their limit for the day before they even leave the house.
Children who eat too much sugar risk damaging their teeth, putting on fat and becoming overweight, and getting type 2 diabetes which increases the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Katharine Jenner, campaign director at Action on Sugar, based at Queen Mary University of London, said: ‘Gin in a tin has become a cultural phenomenon with these types of drinks often consumed “on the go” and without a moment’s consideration to how much sugar and alcohol goes into making them.
‘Even if you did want to know, you can’t make a healthy choice as only one in ten of the products surveyed had enough information available.
‘If consumers knew how much sugar was really in these drinks, would they still happily choose to drink their way to tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes?’
Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University, said sugary alcoholic drinks were a ‘double burden on our health’.
He added: ‘Alcohol causes serious harm, and sugar in these drinks carries the same health risks as sugar in any other food or drink, which costs the NHS billions and shortens lives.
‘It is a national scandal that because these drinks contain alcohol, they are not subject to the sugar tax or any form of coherent nutrition labelling.
‘The new government needs to act now by taking control of the alcohol industry and stop them from exploiting vulnerable young adults.’
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: ‘Consumers have the right to know exactly what they are drinking.
‘This latest research demonstrates – once again – that the current system of the self-regulation of alcohol labelling isn’t working and the industry is not taking its responsibilities seriously.
‘Shoppers who buy alcohol get less information about what’s in their drink than those who buy milk or orange juice; this is simply outrageous.
‘We urge the Government to introduce mandatory labelling on alcohol products in order to give all of us easy access to the information needed to make healthier choices.’
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