High street coffee shops in Nottinghamshire are selling muffins and cakes with the sugar equivalent of up to six doughnuts.
A new study conducted by health campaign group Action on Sugar revealed Pret a Manger’s Lemon Drizzle Slice contains 18 teaspoons of sugar – three times the recommended daily intake for children and more sugar than six ‘Krispy Kreme’ doughnuts.
Starbucks’ Lemon Slice, Blueberry Muffin and Carrot Cakes also contain 10 or more teaspoons of sugar per serving.
The survey of 67 fruity cakes found there was often a big difference in sugar and calorie content between similar products at different coffee chains.
Have your cake and leave it: Worst offenders
Pret a Manger
Lemon Drizzle Slice 172g
18 tsp of sugar
Christmas Carrot Cake 146g
15 tsp of sugar
Layered Carrot Cake 153g
14 tsp of sugar
Lemon Poppyseed Muffin 131g
11 tsp of sugar
Pret a Manger
Double Berry Muffin 145g
10 tsp of sugar
Caffé Nero’s lemon poppyseed muffin contains eight teaspoons of sugar, but the same choice at Starbucks contains three teaspoons less.
The report collected data for supermarket and coffee shop products where nutritional information was available per 100g or per portion.
It found supermarkets take lead over cafes when it comes to offering less calories and sugar per serving – demonstrating that it is possible for manufactures to offer healthier options.
Although some coffee shops display the calorie and fat content in their cakes, other nutritional value – such as the amount of sugar – is not displayed.
Nutrition coach and health expert Susan Hart, from West Bridgford, said: “Many of these coffee shops are guilty of encouraging people to consume more sugar than they need.
“Most of the festive drinks they offer are also loaded with sugar and calories – some containing up to 1,200 calories – more than half of a woman’s recommended daily intake.
“Cafes need to take responsibility and look at portion sizes and the formulation of their products to minimise the calorie and sugar content.”
Susan says that cake can be enjoyed as an occasional treat when part of a healthy lifestyle.
She said: “If you are planning on going to a coffee shop for a treat then consider sharing a cake or biscuit with a friend.
“Choose cakes with smaller portion sizes and check the nutritional info where possible.
“The best options at the moment are probably mince pies or small biscotti biscuits as they contain the least amount of sugar.”
A spokesperson for Pret A Manger said: “The Lemon Drizzle and Triple Chocolate cake slices have been on trial in a handful of our regional shops.
“The trial ends next week and the cake slices will no longer be available – we will revert back to only selling smaller, individual cake portions, instead of larger slices.
“The calorie information for our cakes continues to be displayed in shops and the full nutritional information is available on our website.”
Action on Sugar is urging food manufacturers and cafes to support Public Health England’s voluntary sugar reduction programme to help tackle the growing issues of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
It says sugar and calorie reduction, whereby the sugar and sweetness in products are gradually reduced, is one of the most important strategies to prevent obesity.
It suggests in addition to sugar reduction, companies should reduce portion size and shift purchasing patterns to healthier options to reduce the overall amount of sugar consumed by the population.
How much sugar is ok?
- NHS gudelines say added sugars shouldn’t make up more than 5 per cent of the energy (kcal) you get from food and drink each day.
- This is around 30g of sugar a day for those aged 11 and over.
- Products containing more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g are ‘high’.
- Products containing 5g or less of total sugars per 100g are ‘low’.
- Products with a total sugar content per 100g that is between these figures is ‘medium’