What is hidden in your morning coffee?

A cup of takeaway coffee could make up a large portion of your daily energy, sugar or saturated fat intake. Photo: Getty
A cup of takeaway coffee could make up a large portion of your daily energy, sugar or saturated fat intake. Photo: Getty

Your morning caffeine hit is an essential daily routine, but new research suggests it could be doing more than giving you an energy boost.

A report by Cancer Council NSW has found that in one cup, your daily coffee may be contributing to an alarming amount of your daily energy, sugar and saturated fat intake.

To come up with the findings, the study researched 564 menu items from five popular chain stores including Gloria Jeans, The Coffee Club, McCafe, Muffin Break and Michel’s Patisserie and assessed the energy, saturated fat and sugar content of selected drinks and snacks.

“Many Australians rely on a take away coffee for their morning kick start but people might be unaware of just how much sugar, saturated fat and kilojoules they are consuming each day if they’re ordering anything more than the standard flat white, cappuccino or latte,” Clare Hughes, Nutrition Programs Manager at Cancer Council NSW and co-author of the study said it a statement.”

For example, McCafe’s Coffee Kick Frappe contained 19 teaspoons of sugar – 86 per cent of the average amount health experts recommend we eat per day. Coffee Club’s large iced coffee contained 39g of saturated fats, 135 per cent of the daily allowance, and Muffin Break’s large chai latte contains half the daily saturated fat allowance.

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Hughes claims that these unhealthy lifestyle choices are a major risk factor when it comes to the rate of obesity in Australian adults. Currently, 63 per cent of Australian adults are either overweight or obese.

“We have a strong culture of eating on the go and catching up with friends, family and colleagues over a quick coffee and cake. So the foods and drinks we consume away from home make a big contribution to our nutrient intake,” she said, adding that a third of our weekly budget is spent eating out.

The new report is a timely reminder of the importance of making healthy food choices – just last week, a new report from Cancer Council NSW revealed that 7000 new cancer cases are linked to poor diet and low fruit and veg intake.

So Hughes is urging food outlets to provide smaller, healthier portion sizes and for customers to make more informed choices.

“If we can stabilise or decrease obesity levels in Australia, half a million lives could be saved by 2050, “ she said. “That would mean fewer cases of obesity related cancers such as bowel, endometrial and post-menopausal breast cancer, as well as heart disease and type-2 diabetes.”

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