You probably already knew that muffins aren't the healthiest breakfast option, but maybe you thought you could at least pretend a blueberry muffin had some redeeming nutritional qualities.
Because, you know, of the fruit.
We have bad news.
Your go-to coffee sidekick could contain as many as 10 teaspoons of sugar, according to a new report from the U.K.'s Obesity Health Alliance and Action on Sugar. That's more than what's in a can of Coke.
"Blueberry muffins are not a healthy snack option and contribute a significant amount towards total daily sugar limits," the report said.
"61 per cent of all the muffins included in the survey contained six teaspoons of sugar or more, which is the upper DAILY limit of a child aged 7-10 years."
Blueberry muffins are widely available and popular
For their report, the Obesity Health Alliance and Action on Sugar analyzed blueberry muffins because of their wide availability and popularity, they noted. They looked at 28 muffins sold in popular out-of-home locations and in supermarkets.
"We focused on outlets in busy railway stations where people might typically pick up a muffin as a snack to be eaten while on-the-go," they said.
After analyzing the sugar content, they found a large variation between muffins sold in outlets and supermarkets, with the average out-of-home outlet muffin containing 1.2 teaspoons more sugar than the average grocery store muffin. Outlet muffins were also typically larger than supermarket muffins, the authors said.
Starbucks, McDonald's are among the worst offenders
The worst offenders were U.K. coffee chain Costa, where blueberry muffins contained 10 teaspoons (or 40.3 grams) of sugar, and McDonald's blueberry muffins, which contained eight teaspoons (or 32 grams) of sugar. According to the McDonald's Canada website, each blueberry muffin here contains 31 grams of sugar.
Starbucks didn't stack up well either, with their blueberry muffins each containing seven teaspoons (26.3 grams) of sugar. In Canada, Starbucks blueberry muffins contain 28 grams of sugar each, according to their website.
In comparison, some U.K. grocery store muffins had as few as four teaspoons (17 grams) of sugar.
"The variation in sugar content and portion size of the muffins surveyed shows there is plenty of opportunity for manufacturers to significantly reduce the sugar content and portion size of this product," the Obesity Health Alliance and Action on Sugar wrote.
Excess sugar can lead to health problems
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends people consume no more than 10 per cent of their daily calories from added sugars, but ideally that number would be less than five per cent, they wrote on their website. For an average 2,000 calorie per day diet, 10 per cent is about 48 grams (or 12 teaspoons), they explained.
"Consuming too much sugar is associated with heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, cancer and cavities," the foundation noted.
The American Heart Association urges parents to make sure their children consume fewer than six teaspoons of sugar a day — about a third of what most kids actually consume, according to Global News.
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