Food-to-go outlets slammed for unhealthy breakfasts

High street food-to-go operators including Greggs, Starbucks, Costa, Pret and Caffè Nero have been slammed for selling unhealthy breakfast lines in a new survey.

The survey, on the website www.treated.com, looks at the products from 11 high street brands with the highest calories, highest salt content, highest sugar and highest saturated fat content. The nutritional data was gathered from operators’ own websites on September 7 by treated.com’s Dr Wayne Osborne, a GP.

Wetherspoons was found to offer the highest calorie breakfast, with its full English coming in at 1,531 calories. That compared with Gregg’s bacon & sausage baguette at number 5 with 617 calories. Burger King was in 6th place and Costa Coffee’s all-day breakfast bloomer toastie was in 7th place at 564 calories.

Wetherspoons also topped the list for salt content, with its large breakfast offering an 18.3g dose of salt, more than three times an adult’s referenced intake (RI) of 6g (2.4g sodium).

Gregg’s bacon and sausage baguette was in fifth place with 4.5g, followed by Pret’s bacon & egg  brioche at 4.3g.

Harvester’s Belgian waffles dish with all the trimmings topped the list for sugar content, with 77.4 grams of sugar. Wetherspoons clocked in at second with its Moma! Porridge with banana and honey. Starbucks’ lemon poppyseed muffin had 42.8g, which put it in fifth place, followed by Costa, Pret, Gregg Eat and Caffè Nero, which was selling a triple chocolate muffin with 34.9g of sugar at breakfast.

The daily RI of total sugars for an adult is 90g.

The final list in the survey looked at saturated fat content of breakfast items, with Wetherspoons again topping the list. Harvester was second, with Wimpy’s All-Day Breakfast third.

Starbucks’ cheddar & mushroom croissant was in fourth place with 16g, followed by croissants and brioche options from the other operators.

Dr Osbourne commented: “Although they rank from 4th place onwards, five of the 11 dishes featured are croissants, no doubt due to the amount of butter used in their preparation. However, many may be surprised to learn that croissants can contain more saturated fat than those traditional breakfast dishes we might often see as being more fatty, such as the bacon sandwich.”

He said that although operators do also offer healthier choices, consumers should be cautious in making choices when eating out at breakfast.

He said: “We would suggest that it’s ultimately more beneficial to eat breakfast out in moderation; to prepare your own food at home wherever possible, utilising a range of fresh produce, and only rely on eating breakfast out as an occasional treat.”

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