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This vs that: Hot chocolate vs caffé latte

Catching up with friends at a café but unsure which beverage to order? Healthy Food Guide finds out what is healthier: hot chocolate or caffé latte. 

We compared a Starbucks Classic Hot Chocolate made with low-fat milk and topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup, with a Starbucks Caffè Latte made with non-fat milk (both ‘tall’ 354ml size).

Energy

  • Hot chocolate: 1302kJ
  • Caffè latte: 420kJ

The cream and syrup on the hot chocolate come with a hefty kilojoule count. Save 882kJ by choosing a caffè latte with non-fat milk.

Fat and saturated fat

  • Hot chocolate: 13g fat, 7.5g sat fat
  • Caffè latte: 0g fat, 0g sat fat

Nearly half the fat in the hot chocolate is from the low-fat milk, the rest is from the cream on top. In an 8700kJ day we don’t want more than 23g saturated fat — this hot chocolate has a third of that amount.

Sugar

  • Hot chocolate: 37g
  • Caffè latte: 14g

Assuming these drinks have the same amount of milk in them, each has 14g of sugar from the milk — but the hot chocolate adds 23g of ‘free sugars’. These are the sugars we should try to limit. We aim for no more than 26g free sugars each day as that’s the equivalent of five per cent of our kilojoules in an 8700kJ day.

Protein

  • Hot chocolate: 10g
  • Caffè latte: 10g

This is from the milk.

Winner: Caffè Latte with non-fat milk

Low-fat or non-fat milk is more than a drink; it’s good food, providing protein, B vitamins, calcium and other nutrients. There are also benefits associated with drinking coffee, as long as we don’t overdo it. Extra toppings make a big difference to the energy and overall nutrition. Size matters, too — a smaller (236ml) size is available, but also two larger ones (473ml and 709ml).

First published: Sep 2015
Last updated: April 3 2017
Last science review: October 10 2016



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