Warning over blueberry muffin hidden sugar content

New analysis by Action on Sugar and the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) shows huge variation in sugar content, portion size and lack of nutrition labelling on blueberry muffins sold at out of home outlets in the UK’s busiest train stations and supermarkets.

The two groups are calling for manufacturers to reduce sugar, in line with the Government’s plans to cut sugar in common products by 20% by 2020.

On average, muffins bought on-the-go at railway station food outlets had 19% more sugar per portion and were 32% bigger than those bought in supermarkets. While, 61% (17 out of 28) of all the muffins included in the survey contained six teaspoons of sugar or more, which is the upper daily limit for a child aged 7-10 years.

There is also a lack of nutrition labelling on products sold at popular outlets in train stations and in supermarket bakeries, meaning consumers are in the dark about exactly what they’re eating.

Responding to the analysis, Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:

“This piece of analysis is a good example of just how confusing it can be for families to make the healthy food choice. A blueberry muffin can seem like a healthier alternative but with such a variation in sugar content, people can use up their entire day’s sugar allowance within hours of leaving the house. Families must be given the information to make informed choices and clear front of pack labelling is a very quick and easy way to achieve that. This is something all manufacturers should be providing. In the longer term, manufacturers must reduce the sugar content in their products so parents and their children don’t sleep walk into making seemingly healthy choices which later result in unexpected consequences – weight gain, tooth decay and a catalogue of other obesity related issues.”

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