If you thought a slice of carrot cake from your friendly neighborhood Starbucks would be a more sensible snack than, say, five whole Krispy Kreme doughnuts, you probably haven’t been reading your nutrition labels closely.
Photo via Flickr user Matt DeTurck
If you thought a slice of carrot cake from your friendly neighborhood Starbucks would be a more sensible snack than, say, five whole Krispy Kreme doughnuts, you probably haven't been reading your nutrition labels closely.
Researchers at Queen Mary University in London have found that the sugar and calorie counts of the bougie baked goods served at popular coffee chains often outmeasure those of supermarket sweets—including those sugar-glazed halos of fried dough—by a long shot.
The study, which was conducted by the university's Action on Sugar campaign group (AoS), compared the nutritional data of 67 cake varieties from markets and cafes across the UK., and found that the most egregious nutritional offenders were some of the most unsuspecting.
For instance, a single 146-gram slice of that Starbucks Christmas Carrot Cake you thought was semi-okay for you (carrots are vegetables—duh) is packed with 15 teaspoons of sugar, more than the combined sugar content of five entire Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Five. Entire. Krispy. Kremes.
Similarly, Pret a Manger's Lemon Drizzle cake, which seemed innocent enough (a lemon is a fruit, hello!), contains 18 teaspoons of sugar and 700 calories per 172-gram slice. (According to a Pret spokesperson, the larger cake slices, which were being sold in UK locations on a trial basis, will soon be replaced by smaller, individual portions.)
MUNCHIES has reached out to Pret a Manger and Starbucks for comment but has not yet received a response.
While spokespeople for both brands assured Mashable that efforts were being made to reduce sugar content in their products, they also noted that nutrition information for every product sold is freely available to consumers in-store and online, making it clear that the public should maybe—just maybe—be a little more conscious of what they're putting into their bodies.
"Everyone should be able to enjoy cake, but there is no need for just one slice to exceed an adult's maximum daily recommendation of sugar by almost three times," says AoS researcher, Kawther Hashem, in a statement to Mashable. Hashem adds that given the frequent pairing of calorie-laden coffee beverages with these cakes, "it's far too easy to visit a coffee shop and consume the best part of 1,000 calories in one sitting."
Recently, the British government has been cracking down on the sugar issue in a legislative attempt to reduce their epidemic-level childhood obesity rates. The latest effort came in the form of a "sugar tax," which would impose a levy on any drink containing more than 8 grams of sugar per 100 milliliters of liquid.
In their own attempt to slash sugar usage, a Starbucks spokesperson says the brand has committed to reducing sugar levels in their products by 2020. They're even working on a slightly more virtuous carrot cake recipe to be released next Spring. And in the meantime, you can feel slightly better about eating a Krispy Kreme, or five, while you wait.