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Coffee in cans contains more sugar, calories than advised

Feb 28,2017
Canned coffee drinks from convenience stores are popular among high school and college students burning the midnight oil and office workers putting in overtime late at night.

But while these beverages may be energizing, drinking just two of them exceeds the daily amount of sugar consumption advised by the World Health Organization, according to a new report from Consumers Korea, an advocacy group, and the Fair Trade Commission, the government’s antitrust agency.

The average amount of sugar contained in 19 coffee drinks sold in convenience stores and supermarkets was 21.46 grams, according the report released Monday. This amounts to 42.9 percent of the 50-gram maximum that the World Health Organization advises for daily sugar intake.

In the study, four of the beverages were sold in cans that contained more than 300 milliliters of coffee, exposing drinkers to higher sugar intake.

The study found that sugar content varied from as low as 13.78 grams to as much as 22.45 grams per 200 milliliters of coffee. In drinks with milk, the average sugar content was 17.9 percent higher than in coffee without milk.

The product that contained the most sugar was Dongwon F&B’s Demark Coffing Road Caffe Bombon. Its 33.76 grams far exceeded the average.

Caffeine content varied from as low as 38.82 milligrams to nearly triple that at 104.05 milligrams. Drinks with milk had 20.1 percent higher caffeine than those with just coffee.

The average caffeine content of these processed coffee drinks was 99.39 milligrams, far exceeding the 75 milligrams in a tall-size cafe latte from Starbucks. Five of the products exceeded the 125-milligram daily caffeine intake recommended by the World Health Organization for teens.

The drinks’ calorie count varied from 77.87 to 151.64. As with other products, beverages with milk had 43 percent more calories. Dongwon F&B’s Denmark Coffing Road Caffe Bombon again had the highest calorie count.

Some of the products exceeded the government’s health standard. Ildong Foodis’ &Up Cafe 300 Latte Tumbler had a cholesterol level of 306.1 percent, more than double the government standard of 120 percent. Convenience store CU’s own brand of coffee, Heyroo Cafe Latte, had a cholesterol level of 261.8 percent.

“There’s a need to reduce the sugar content of these coffee products,” a Consumers Korea spokesman said. “We need to strengthen health labels on these products, and companies need to introduce diverse coffee products with alternative sweeteners.”


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]