Energy and nutrient composition of menu items at Australian coffee chains

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Abstract

Aim:

Worldwide, there are concerns about the link between fast food and overall poor dietary quality and weight gain. Beverages and snack foods purchased from coffee chains may contribute excess energy and nutrients to the diet if they are consumed in addition to usual meals. The present study investigated the energy, saturated fat and sugar content of beverages and sweet snacks from major coffee chains and compared the nutrient content to daily intake (DI) reference values for adults.

Methods:

Nutrition information per serve was sourced from the Australian websites of five coffee chains with the largest number of outlets in New South Wales and compared to DI reference values for adults for energy, saturated fat and sugars. Energy per serve was compared to 600 kJ, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommendation for one serve of a discretionary food.

Results:

Eighty-four per cent (n = 238) of sweet snacks and 65% (n = 79) of cold beverages provided more than two equivalent serves (1200 kJ) of a discretionary food. Sixteen (13%) cold beverages and 47 (16%) sweet snacks provided over 50% DI of saturated fat. Sixty-six (54%) cold beverages and 47 (16%) sweet snacks had more than half the DI of sugars.

Conclusions:

Food and beverage items from coffee chains may contribute to excess intake of energy and other nutrients of public health concern if consumed in addition to meals. To assist consumers to make informed and healthier fast food choices, accessible detailed nutrition information should be available along with reductions in portion sizes and reformulation to more nutritious menu items.

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