New Zealand has an entrenched coffee culture. We are spoilt for choice, with boutique cafes springing up on every corner, and with many of us working long hours and leading busy lives, a morning coffee has become a much needed boost for many.
On average, adults consume 9.2 cups of coffee each week. While the humble latte or flat white is not unhealthy in moderation, new research reveals that opting for sugary extras or sweet treats in addition to our morning coffee can make a significant dent in our recommended intake of kilojoules each day.
The study, conducted by the Cancer Council NSW, warns that many people are unintentionally consuming their entire daily sugar and saturated fat limits, as well as half their suggested kilojoule intake each time they make a coffee run. The Cancer Council NSW’s nutrition programs manager and co-author of the study, Clare Hughes, explained that the problem lies in upgrading to creamy or sugary coffee or chocolate drinks, and in adding treats like banana bread or chocolate slice to your order.
The researchers tested the nutritional content of 564 drinks and sweet treats sold at five popular coffee chains, and discovered that 54 per cent of cold beverages, such as iced coffee, contained more than half an adult’s recommended sugar allowance in one serving.
In addition, many of the seemingly healthier options are potentially loaded with sugar and fat. According to Hughes some banana breads can contain as much as 14 teaspoons of sugar and an enormous 2,570 kilojoules per serve, which is more than 30 per cent of the recommended daily kilojoule intake.
As a result of these findings the Cancer Council is encouraging all coffee chains to incorporate smaller and healthier portion sizes in their menus. Hughes explains that this is highly important as snacking on these sugary drinks and treats on a regular basis may be having a significant impact on obesity rates in Australia.
Hughes notes that ‘what we eat away from home really contributes to our daily kilojoule intake, and with more than 65% of adults over 15 in New Zealand being overweight or obese, it is more important than ever to have access to healthy options. So next time you head out for your daily coffee run remember the health benefits of opting for the classic flat white or latte and saying no to those tempting sugary sweets; your health will thank you.