It's the time of year when many coffee shops offer specialty drinks, but a local dietitian is hoping people will be conscious of what they're actually buying.

Rebecca Noseworthy, a registered dietitian in St. John's, thinks many people treat certain holiday drinks the same way they treat a regular coffee or tea. According to Noseworthy, that's a big mistake.

"They really should be treated like a desert," she said.

"The problem is we replace one of these drinks with our coffee, and that's where we get into trouble."

During an interview on the St. John's Morning Show, Noseworthy demonstrated what one drink from Starbucks equals in terms of sugar.

'They really should be treated like a desert.' - Dietitian Rebecca Noseworthy

"Twelve chocolate chip cookies have the same amount of sugar as the Grande Peppermint Hot Chocolate," she said.

She also showed how one Candy Cane Hot Chocolate from Tim Hortons has the same amount of sugar as five and a half chocolate dip donuts.

A holiday challenge

Noseworthy thinks many people need to change the way they think about sugary beverages.

"If you're going to enjoy it, then enjoy it by itself," she said.

"You don't need to pair it with a muffin or a doughnut or a piece of chocolate."

For people who still want to enjoy certain drinks without feeling too much guilt, Noseworthy had a helpful piece of advice.

She said often restaurants and coffee shops have cup sizes that are smaller than they advertise. For example, Starbucks has a short cup size option.

"I challenge you to order the smallest size available," she said.