8 August 2017
Even within cafes, there was a big difference in sugar and calorie content per serving.
A Caffé Nero Lemon Poppyseed Muffin (8 tsp sugar, 461kcal) contains 3 teaspoons less sugar than the same choice in Starbucks (11 tsp sugar, 470kcal) per serving.
Across each of the three cake varieties supermarkets offered lower calories and sugar per serving, compared to those sold in cafes – demonstrating that manufacturers can make cakes with less calories and sugar, partly due to smaller portion sizes.6 Therefore, more immediate action is needed from cafes.
Below is a list of the three worst offenders and best three performers for each flavour, sorted by highest calories per serving.
Sugar reduction, whereby the sugar and sweetness in products are gradually reduced, is one of the most important strategy to prevent obesity, providing the calorie content is also reduced. In addition to sugar reduction, companies must also reduce portion size and shift purchasing patterns to healthier options to reduce the overall amount of sugar consumed by the population.
Industry now has a limited window of opportunity to prove that PHE’s voluntary programme can work.
However, if they do not, we will need to have mandatory targets, as called for by the supermarkets.
Action on Sugar will be closely monitoring the work of all food companies to ensure they are committed to preventing obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay in future generations.
Registered Nutritionist Kawther Hashem, Researcher at Action on Sugar, says:
“It’s ludicrous that popular coffee shops are serving slices of cake containing over 600 calories and 18 teaspoons of sugar. To burn off this many calories you’d need to walk for over 2 hours. Cakes, biscuits and puddings should be an occasional food but people are consuming these products regularly without realising the amount of energy required to burn off this many calories.
Both supermarkets and cafés must help us eat better by offering products with fewer calories and less sugar in smaller portion sizes.”
Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Chairman of Action on Sugar says:
“Gradual reduction in sugar and calories are by the most effective way of reducing calorie intake and thereby helping to prevent both obesity and type 2 diabetes. This survey clearly demonstrates the shocking amounts of sugar and calories in cakes. Both retailers and cafes must immediately start reducing the huge and unnecessary amounts of sugar and calories in these products.”
Registered Nutritionist Jenny Rosborough, Campaign Manager at Action on Sugar says:
“Considering most people are likely to buy a hot beverage to eat with their cake, it’s far too easy to visit a coffee shop and consume the best part of 1000 calories in one sitting. Everyone should be able to enjoy cake, but there is no need for just one slice to exceed an adult’s maximum daily recommendation of sugar by almost three times. Public Health England will be recommending calorie caps per serving of cake and companies must achieve this to prove they are taking their role in tackling obesity and type 2 diabetes seriously.”