Nutritionists compared the merits of sandwiches and burger options from high street favourites including Costa Coffee, Pret, Caffe Nero and Gourmet Burger King (GBK) – and found many were less healthy than a Big Mac Bacon from McDonald’s. The Sunday Express has identified several “healthy” snacks which are just as bad as some fast food options. For example the chicken caesar and bacon baguette at coffee and sandwich chain Pret, contains a hefty 558 calories, 2.8g of salt and 5.1g of saturated fats.
That is almost half an adult’s recommended daily salt intake (6g), a quarter of a woman’s saturated fat limit (20g) and a sixth of a man’s 30g allowance.
A man needs about 2,500 calories a day to maintain his weight and for a woman, that figure is about 2,000 calories a day.
Similarly, Costa Coffee’s mac ‘n’ cheese and GBK’s classic burger also attracted criticism for being high in saturated fats.
The dish from the chain’s “care-fully created range”, contains a worrying 597 calories, 18g of saturated fats and 2g of salt, while GBK’s classic burger packs 692 calories, 12.7g of saturated fats and 2.1g of salt.
GBK says it “takes pride in serving a variety of handcrafted burgers from scratch every day”.
Meanwhile, coffee giant Caffe Nero, which promises to use “fresh, simple ingredients”, offers a meatball and mozzarella panini containing 583 calories, 5.6g of saturated fats and 2.4g of salt.
Lastly, Eat’s chicken, bacon and avocado baguette contains 583 calories, 3.8g of saturated fats and 2.8g of salt.
Similarly, McDonald’s is currently promoting a special edition of its Big Mac burger with added bacon. It contains 559 calories, 11g of saturated fats and 2.7g of salt.
Last week anti-obesity campaigners criticised the chain for “driving a coach and horses” through healthy eating guidelines by introducing the Big Mac Bacon.
Experts have warned saturated fats can increase cholesterol levels, raising the risk of heart disease, some cancers, Type 2 diabetes and strokes.
The research comes less than a year after Public Health England announced new calorie guidelines to cut meal sizes, ruling out favourites such as fish and chips or a Sunday roast.
Last night nutritionists warned the public to take care when deciding what to purchase from the coffee and restaurant chains we examined. Clare Thornton-Wood of the British Dietetic Association said: “Sandwiches which consumers might regard as a healthy option are not always all they seem.
“Some contain more calories and fat than a burger – although some might be from healthier fat sources such as avocado, this is not always the case.
“In many cases the salt content provides one third of the recommended daily maximum.” Jo Travers, author of The Low-Fad Diet, added: “None of these menu choices are what I would call healthy.
“They fall into the ‘medium’ classification or orange traffic-light label for fats and salt.
“These options should only be eaten occasionally and alongside vegetables – as none of them contain enough in the way of greens.”
She added: “A baguette or the mac ‘n’ cheese has a lot of carbohydrates if you are a small person or inactive.
“It’s the same with the GBK burger. It’s high in calories if you are eating the whole thing and sitting at a desk all day.”
Last night a spokeswoman for Costa Coffee said many of its lunch options were under 400 calories.
“To help our customers make the right choice we clearly label our prepackaged products and publish nutritional information on-shelf labelling and counter cards,” she added.
GBK declined to comment while the other chains did not answer our requests for a response.