You probably don’t think twice about reaching for a blueberry muffin when you want a snack because you believe it’s the healthier option compared to a cupcake. However, according to a report, a blueberry muffin may have the same amount of sugar as a can of soda.
Based on the data from the report, blueberry muffins contain at least eight teaspoons of hidden sugar. Sometimes, the snack even contains 35 grams of sugar, which is almost the same as a can of Coca-Cola. Now, campaigners are pushing for more detailed nutrition labeling following the release of the findings.
The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) and Action on Sugar compared blueberry muffins being sold at cafes, supermarkets, and train stations in the U.K. The list, which contained data on 28 muffins, revealed that 17 muffins had more than 22 grams (g) of sugar. This is equal to six teaspoons, which is almost the entire daily limit for a 10-year-old child.
Seven of the blueberry muffins on the list had more than seven teaspoons of sugar or an adult’s entire daily allowance. Overall, muffins sold at railway station stores contained at least 19 percent more sugar per portion, with some 32 percent bigger than blueberry muffins sold in supermarkets. (Related: 7 Health Foods that Aren’t Healthy.)
The researchers warned that because there was a lack of nutrition labeling on products sold at popular stores in train stations, most shoppers aren’t aware of the sugar content of the products that they consume.
The muffins with the highest sugar contents came from McDonald’s and Pret A Manger which both contained eight teaspoons. Meanwhile, blueberry muffins from Caffe Nero, Starbucks, and Tesco had seven teaspoons of sugar.
The importance of choosing healthier snacks
OHA’s Caroline Cerny explained that even though we believe a blueberry muffin is “a reasonably healthy option for a snack,” especially when compared to cakes or chocolates, the figures imply that this isn’t always true.
The variations in the muffin size and sugar content make it hard to control sugar consumption. Cerny added that some of the muffins being sold have double the sugar as other blueberry muffins. However, this also means that the industry can still minimize the sugar content of their products to provide consumers with healthier snack choices.
Kawther Hashem, a registered nutritionist from Action on Sugar, explained that during the holidays, families passing through busy stations usually purchase these muffins and children would most likely consume them. But since some muffins contain high amounts of sugar, it would mean that the children would also be consuming “their entire recommended limit of sugar that day, if not more.”
Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, emphasized the need for proper nutritional labeling so families can be aware of the sugar content of food. Clarifying this misunderstanding could be one step closer to helping families makes healthy snack choices.
Healthy snack recipes
Instead of buying a blueberry muffin with too much sugar in it, try to make these healthier snack alternatives at home:
- Avocado cracker – Get some avocado, multigrain crackers, pepper, salt, and a tomato. Put some avocado on a multigrain cracker, and you can add optional ingredients like a ¼-inch thick slice of plum or romano tomato. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
- Hummus and veggies mason jars – You’ll need some carrots, celery, hummus, and peppers for this snack. Get a small hummus jar for portion control then divide the portioned servings of hummus with the fiber-rich vegetables.
- Monkey toast – Make some monkey toast using a banana, bread, chia seeds, honey, and peanut butter. Spread the peanut butter on toasted bread, put some sliced bananas on top and sprinkle some chia seeds on the toast. Finish it off with a drizzle of honey.
You can read more articles about sugar-free snacks and tips on how to eat healthy at Fresh.news.