Whether it’s a coffee in hand as we walk through the office door, or a way to beat the 3pm slump, many of us rely on our local barista to get us through our working day. Australians consume a total of 16.3 million cups of coffee each day.
But while it’s easy to adjust your daily energy intake to account for the 300 kilojoules in your small skim latte, the snack you grab on the side – or the coffee alternative – could be using up to half your daily kilojoule (kJ) allowance.
Our latest study looked at drinks and sweet snacks in five coffee chains that combined have more than 2,000 stores around Australia. If you can’t go past the banana bread, pastries, muffins and cakes, it’s likely you’re consuming too much energy, saturated fat and sugars.
Daily energy allowance.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend we limit the intake of saturated fat, salt, sugars and alcohol, and eat according to our energy needs to maintain a healthy weight.
Fast food outlets, bakeries and coffee and doughnut chains in New South Wales, the ACT and South Australia are required to place the kilojoule content on their menu boards and prominently feature the average adult daily energy intake of 8,700kJ.
Looking for a healthy snack idea? Try Paper Tiger’ green smoothie recipe. (Post continues after video.)
This figure is approximately how many kJ an “average” adult needs each day to maintain weight, but this varies according to your age, height, sex and level of physical activity. You can find the the approximate number of kilojoules you need in a day by using this calculator.
Eating just 500 kilojoules extra a day for a year and not compensating by doing more exercise could mean a weight gain of almost five kilograms over a year.
Taking a closer look at the offerings at the five coffee chains, we found one-third of cold coffee-style drinks, two-thirds of sweet snacks and almost half the large hot flavoured drinks had more than 1,800kJ or 20 per cent of the recommended daily intake of energy per portion.
Some sweet snacks such had more than 3,600kJ or 40 per cent of the recommended daily energy intake.
Some hot drinks, including hot chocolates and chai latte, provided almost 50 per cent of the daily intake of saturated fat.
Iced coffee and chocolate drinks are notorious for their cream and ice cream, and are often found in super-sized portions. Four of the cold drinks had more than an entire day’s intake of saturated fat and 16 had more than 50 per cent of the recommended daily intake.
Some iced coffees had 39g of saturated fat (163 per cent of the recommended daily intake) and some frappes had almost 20g of saturated fat.
Eight cakes provided over 100 per cent (and 16 per cent of sweet snacks provided over 50%) of the daily intake of saturated fat. This included croissants (52-65 per cent of the recommended daily intake) and jumbo cookies (69-94 per cent).
Over half (54 per cent) the cold beverages and 16 per cent of the sweet snacks had more than half the daily intake of sugars. Some mudcakes had the equivalent of 21 teaspoons of sugar and some iced coffees had 14 teaspoons.