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McDonald's CosMc's, Starbucks and Dunkin': How do their drinks compare in calories and sugar?

McDonald's opening new chain called CosMc's
What McDonald's is serving up at its new CosMc's chain 03:42

McDonald's new beverage-focused chain called CosMc's has a menu featuring popular drink options similar to ones customers love at other coffee chains like Starbucks and Dunkin' — but how do they compare in terms of your diet?

It's no secret that some of those tasty go-to sips are sneakily packed with more sugar than you might think, so we decided to compare the nutrition information on similar beverages across the three chains to see how they stack up when it comes to sugar and calories. 

Employees work at McDonald’s new beverage-led, drive-thru only chain, CosMc’s, during the concept’s secret opening in Bolingbrook
Employees work at McDonald's new beverage-led, drive-thru only chain, CosMc's, during the concept's secret opening in Bolingbrook, Illinois, Dec. 7, 2023. ERIC COX / REUTERS

While drink sizes across the brands differ slightly, the medium size coffee cups (or grande, as it's called at Starbucks) are all 16 ounces, so we'll use that size for our comparisons below. 

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to 9 teaspoons (or 36 grams) a day for men and 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women.

"Many people consume more sugar than they realize. It's important to be aware of how much sugar you consume because our bodies don't need sugar to function properly," the association's website states. "Added sugars contribute zero nutrients but many added calories that can lead to extra pounds or even obesity. That can reduce heart health."

Note: CosMc's confirmed to CBS News their standard coffee recipes use whole milk. In order to make the comparisons as close as possible, we used the whole milk recipes for Dunkin's nutritional breakdowns, while Starbucks' are based off 2% milk, as they don't provide a whole milk option in their nutritional guide for all drinks. Sugar amounts listed below are total sugars. Any exceptions are noted below.

Medium cappuccino  

CosMc's: 160 calories, 11 g sugar

Starbucks: 120 calories, 10 g sugar

Dunkin': 120 calories, 0 g sugar (without sugar added) or 220 calories, 35 g sugar (with sugar added)

Blended frozen coffee

CosMc's Cold Brew Frappe: 430 calories, 48 g sugar

Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino: 240 calories, 50 g sugar (with whole milk)

Dunkin' Frozen Coffee: 410 calories, 84 g sugar

Hot chai latte

CosMc's: 370 calories, 60 g sugar

Starbucks: 240 calories, 42 g sugar

Dunkin': 290 calories, 40 g sugar

Hot chocolate

CosMc's: 380 calories, 35 g sugar

Starbucks: 290 calories, 41 g sugar

Dunkin': 330 calories, 46 g sugar (milk type not specified)

Mocha latte

CosMc's mocha: 380 calories, 34 g sugar

Starbucks "Caffè Mocha": 260 calories, 34 g sugar

Dunkin' "Mocha Swirl Hot Latte": 330 calories, 47 g sugar

Other CosMc's drink options 

CosMc's also offers some beverages unique to the chain, including "Signature Galactic Boosts" and fruity-flavored iced teas and lemonades.

No size of the former provides customers with a drink below the AHA's daily recommended amount of sugar for women, with the lowest total sugar being 27 grams for a small "Blueberry Ginger Boost," according to their nutritional guide. 

This drink, as well as three other options, fall under the daily recommended amount of sugar for men, however, including a medium and large Blueberry Ginger Boost at 31 and 35 grams, respectively as well as a small "Sour Cherry Energy Burst" at 30 grams.

Two of most caloric and sugary options include the large Island Pick-Me-Up Punch at 500 calories and 103 grams of sugar and the large Berry Hibiscus Sour-ade, with 500 calories and 108 grams of sugar.

There are also a few drink options in other categories that tip over the 500 calorie point, including:

  • Large Cold Brew Frappe: 550 and 62 grams of sugar
  • Large Churro Frappe: 610 calories and 76 grams of sugar
  • All of the medium and large shakes, the highest being a large Strawberry Shake at 850 calories and 107 grams of sugar

Options with the lowest sugar and calories

There are some options on the menu if you're try to watch your sugar and calorie intake. Besides water and diet sodas, any size of their unsweetened tea or straight coffee options (including iced coffee or cold brew, with no milk or sugar) have 0 grams of sugar and 0 to 25 calories. 

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