Your coffee break could be as unhealthy as a mid-morning burger

coffee shop as unhealthy as burger

Are you doing your best to avoid unhealthy food but not seeing the results reflected in your waistline? The reason could be that you’re being misled by the places you deem healthy to eat.

Related: 8 common mistakes that can stop weight loss 

According to the government’s chief nutritionist, Dr Alison Tedstone, your morning pitstop for coffee could be less healthy than a burger from a fast food joint because coffee shops use misleading language to make their food seem less calorific than it actually is.

Talking to The Telegraph, Dr Teadstone said: “I think there are things we like to think we know are unhealthy, like a meal from a fast food takeaway, [but] often [in a coffee shop] you’ve got no idea.”

The biggest offenders? Muffins. Using names that list the key flavours but not the main ingredients (think lemon and poppy seed rather than sugar, flour and butter) mean that customers don’t understand that these can have more calories than something you’d traditionally think of as fast food.

Related: 37 foolproof fat-loss tips for runners

Consider that if you stopped for a Big Mac at elevenses you’d be taking on 540 calories. But a muffin washed down with a milky coffee could add up to a whopping 700 calories.

No wonder then that Dr Teadstone suggests coffee shops have a long way to go in labelling their food and especially its calorie content, appropriately. In addition, the problem is compounded by the fact that a quick coffee and a snack is no longer a treat but for many people part of a daily routine. According to Public Health England “Food-on-the-go” now represents between 25 and 35 per cent of calorie intake in the UK.

So, now you know, what can you do about it?

If you really want to cut down your calories, you could swap your morning muffin for homemade porridge. If that doesn't fill you with joy post-run-commute, why not take a look at our 7,776 different combos when it comes to the perfect post-run breakfast.

A version of this article originally appeared on Men's Health