Revealed: The pancakes, waffles and crepes that contain THREE TIMES more calories than a Big Mac and as much sugar as two cans of Coke
- Investigation found dessert chains sold meals with exorbitant amount of calories
- Action on Sugar looked at 191 products in restaurants found in shopping centres
- Only 70 of products provided full nutrition information either in store or online
- Some had 1,800 calories, 20 teaspoons of sugar and double daily salt allowance
Dessert chains are selling pancakes, waffles and crepes that contain a staggering amount of calories, sugar and salt, an investigation has found.
Action on Sugar analysed 191 different items sold at popular restaurants, cafes and takeaways in shopping centres across London.
The campaign group found some of the desserts contained almost 20 teaspoons of sugar and nearly all of an adult’s recommended daily calorie intake.
It is now calling for the Government to enforce mandatory colour-coded nutrition and calorie labelling on menus and online.
Results showed a Salted Caramel Banoffee Pancake from American-themed diner The Breakfast Club was packed with 1,800 calories.
A Salted Caramel Banoffee Pancake from The Breakfast Club was packed with 1,800 calories, almost the entire recommended daily amount for a woman
My Old Dutch’s Four Cheese crepe was crammed with 1,620 calories and had more salt (8.5g) than three McDonalds’ Big Macs
In comparison, a Big Mac from McDonald’s contains a third of that, at around 560 calories.
Official guidelines recommend men and women consume no more than 2,500 and 2,000 calories each day, respectively.
The Breakfast Club, which has 17 diners in England – mainly in London, also topped the charts for sugar content.
The chain’s Beauregarde Pancake contained 100g of sugar – or 25 teaspoons. For reference, a can of Coca Cola contains around 35g.
NHS guidelines advise adults to consume no more than 30g of free sugars – added to food and drink – each day.
Dessert chain My Old Dutch’s Four Cheese crepe was crammed full of 8.5g of salt, the most of any of the items analysed.
In comparison, a packet of Walkers’ salt and vinegar crisps has just 0.53g, meaning the crepe has the same amount of salt as around 16 packets.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends adults consume no more than a teaspoon of salt, or around 5g, each day.
A Creams Waffle: Oreos on Mine with Gelato contained a whopping 19 teaspoons of sugar, more than two cans of Coca Cola.
Meanwhile a Mr Pretzels Chocolate Pretzel, often eaten as a snack when shopping, was packed with 930 calories – the same as eighteen KitKat fingers.
Action on Sugar found only 70 of the products provided full nutrition information either in store or online.
It analysed 35 of the products in a laboratory to work out how much sugar, salt and calories were truly in them.
Mr Pretzels Chocolate Pretzel, often eaten as a snack when shopping, was packed with 930 calories – the same as eighteen KitKat fingers
A Creams Waffle: Oreos on Mine with Gelato contained a whopping 19 teaspoons of sugar, more than two cans of Coca Cola
As well as the aforementioned chains, items from chains such as Kaspa’s Desserts, Snowflakes Gelato and Wafflemeister were also scrutinised.
Harvester, My Old Dutch, Crepeaffaire, Brewers Fayre, McDonald’s and Marks & Spencer Cafe provide nutrition information on their websites but not on the menus.
Experts say this means customers are not be able to easily make an informed decision on their food.
Registered nutritionist Dr Kawther Hashem said consumers were being left in the dark over how unhealthy eating out can be.
HOW MUCH SUGAR IS TOO MUCH?
The amount of sugar a person should eat in a day depends on how old they are.
Children aged four to six years old should be limited to a maximum of 19g per day.
Seven to 10-year-olds should have no more than 24g, and children aged 11 and over should have 30g or less.
Meanwhile the NHS recommends adults have no more than 30g of free sugars a day.
Popular snacks contain a surprising amount of sugar and even a single can of Coca Cola (35g of sugar) or one Mars bar (33g) contains more than the maximum amount of sugar a child should have over a whole day.
A bowl of Frosties contains 24g of sugar, meaning a 10-year-old who has Frosties for breakfast has probably reached their limit for the day before they even leave the house.
Children who eat too much sugar risk damaging their teeth, putting on fat and becoming overweight, and getting type 2 diabetes which increases the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Dr Hasehm, campaign lead at Action on Sugar based at Queen Mary University of London, said: ‘It is absurd that supermarkets are forced to be as transparent as possible about what they put in their products, from allergens to calories, but when eating out we often have no idea what is in our food and drink.
‘If companies continue to hide their nutrition information, there is little hope for consumers to find the healthier options. The Health Minister, Matt Hancock MP needs to act now to resolve this unfair situation.’
Professor Graham MacGregor, an expert in cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London, called on the Government to clamp down on restaurants in shopping centres.
Professor MacGregor, who is also chairman of Action on Sugar, said: ‘Since some supermarkets make similar products that also sell well, there is no reason why we are not given better options when eating out.
‘Despite the Government’s childhood obesity strategy, food and drink stands in shopping malls and casual dining eateries are awash with unhealthy options.
‘The Out of Home sector is constantly pouring cold water on plans to do anything to improve our health.
‘We now need both Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care to enforce product reformulation so parents have affordable, healthy food options.’
The Breakfast Club, founder of The Breakfast Club Cafes, told MailOnline: ‘The Breakfast Club menu covers the full spectrum, from your every-day healthy dishes such as the avocado on rye bread through to the treats such as our pancakes and berries dish.
‘Most of the time, people tend to have our pancake dishes as sharing desserts with friends and I’m not sure it’s any surprise that a stack of pancakes with vanilla cream and fresh berries has a significant sugar content.
‘We’d be delighted to work with ‘Action on Sugar’ in ways to make the appropriate changes, we’re big advocates of healthy eating and we’ve recently revamped our menu which has just gone 50 per cent vegetarian. For us the important thing is the customer has a choice.’
MailOnline has contacted My Old Dutch, Creams and Mr Pretzels for comment.
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