One third of drinks sold in coffee shops exceed adult sugar limit

One third of beverages sold on high street exceed adult’s daily sugar intake

More than one third of sweet food and drink products sold in major high street coffee shops exceed an adult’s daily limit of sugar in just one serving.

This is according to a new survey carried out by Action on Sugar, a UK charity focused on sugar and its impact on health.

To mark Sugar Awareness Week (13 to 19 November), the survey revealed more than third of sweet food and drink products sold in major high street coffee shops exceed an adult’s daily limit of sugar (30g for free sugars) in just one serving.

The research found that one food and drink combination contained a significant 157g (39 tsp) of sugar.

Healthier direction

Additionally, more than 780 sweet food and drink products surveyed in nine leading high street coffee shops are insufficiently labelled for consumers.

More than half would be marked ‘red’ (high in total sugars) if nutrition information was fully transparent. Only one food item – an all butter croissant from Greggs – was low in sugar.

Dr Kawther Hashem, campaign lead at Action on Sugar, said: ‘The use of levies is an effective lever to encourage companies to reduce sugar and calories in their products. The Soft Drinks Industry Levy is a key example of this which successfully removed a massive 46,000 tonnes of sugar from these drinks as well as raising millions of pounds, which has been invested in children’s health.

‘We now need to see similar levies introduced across other categories to shift the market towards a healthier direction.’

Mandatory labelling

Graham MacGregor is professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar. He said: ‘Whilst it is scandalous that companies get away with providing so little nutrition information, it is even more outrageous that the government hasn’t taken decisive action to incentivise sugar reduction.

‘The need for mandatory nutrition labelling in the Out of Home sector and the introduction of new levies to encourage reformulation has never been more evident. Without doubt, an unhealthy diet high in saturated fat, salt and sugar, and low in fruit and vegetables, is the biggest cause of death and disability globally and costs the UK alone more than £100 billion annually.

‘It’s time to redefine profit as a healthy population.’

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