LiveLighter surveyed a range of breakfast drinks, biscuits and yoghurt products, all claiming to be a healthy breakfast choice, and found that many were equivalent to junk food products labelled with a “healthy halo” to hide the truth.
“Some on-the-go breakfast products are hiding 9.5 teaspoons of sugar, which is around double the amount of sugar in wheat biscuits and milk,” said LiveLighter Dietitian Sian Armstrong.
“While some of the sugar is from milk or yoghurt, that’s still a very sugary way to start the day. And because most of these products are heavily processed, they’re less likely to keep you full, so you’ll probably be reaching for a snack or a second breakfast sooner.”
Some of the worst offenders include Belvita Honey & Nut Breakfast Biscuits with choc chips, which contain about 13.4g of sugar per serve and Sanitarium’s Up & Go range, which contains up to 19.8g of sugar per serve, depending on the flavour.
On-the-go breakfast products have become popular in recent years, with supermarket shelves filling up with convenient options for people to chow down without having to worry about cooking or cleaning up afterwards.
All that convenience comes with a price though and is contributing to Australians’ every-expanding waistband.
Consumer watchdog Choice told Starts at 60 food labels in Australia need to be clearer so people aren’t duped into buying unhealthy products.
“The food industry has a long history of using dodgy labels to trick people into buying unhealthy products,” a Choice spokesperson told SAS.
“Right now, Australian food labelling requirements don’t let consumers see added sugar information on packs. This means it is very difficult to work out how much-added sugar is in processed food.
“Choice is running a campaign urging Food and Health Ministers to take action on added sugar and label it clearly on food products.”
Evidence shows that consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain, which can increase your risk of heart disease, Type-2 diabetes and some cancers.
The World Health Organisation recommends eating no more than 55 grams or 13 teaspoons of sugar per day for an adult on a diet of 8700kJ per day.
While the majority of on-the-go breakfast products failed to pass the test, LiveLighter says a few made the cut, including Chobani yoghurt and Evia Pods.
Health experts recommend eating a combination of foods rich in protein and fibre for breakfast, as well as fruits and vegetables.
This article originally appeared on Starts at 60.