Low fat food sold as good for you is often anything but because it contains more sugar, a study suggests.
It found manufacturers are making their ‘healthy’ options more palatable by replacing fat with sugar.
Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute, said people need to reduce their consumption of both.
‘The problem is, not only are we developing vascular disease but we’re getting obese and getting diabetes, and that’s due to too many calories,’ he added.
‘Fat is a major source of calories but so is sugar, and added sugar is an unnecessary part of our diet. It is a dangerous substance that’s making us obese.’
The study, conducted for a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation to be broadcast tonight, found that a ‘skinny’ lemon and poppyseed muffin from Starbucks had 44.3g of sugar, or just over 11 teaspoons.
That is much more than the 35g in a can of Coca-Cola and the same as in a triple Belgian choc Mississippi mud muffin from the same chain.
The Starbucks ‘skinny’ blueberry muffin contains 34.7g of sugar – 8.6 teaspoons – which is more than the 28.1g in the ‘classic’ version of the same product.
Last week, the World Health Organization closed a consultation on guidance recommending that no more than 10 per cent of our daily calories should come from ‘free sugar’ added by manufacturers or naturally occurring in food. This is the equivalent of 12 teaspoons.
However, even supposedly healthy fruit juices and smoothies can contain much more than this. A supersize massimo version of Costa’s ‘red berry cooler’, for example, contains 97.1g of sugar, equivalent to around 24 teaspoons.