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Watchdog cites 750-calorie scone found during healthy eating drive

By Mark Bain

A large scone on sale in one council area here could contain a third of recommended daily calories, a survey carried out by the Food Standards Agency has shown.

And in warning that foods may not be as healthy as they seem, the FSA revealed some scones are hiding a whopping 750 calories - the equivalent of taking 10 sugar cubes, eating two cheeseburgers from McDonald's, munching on 14 apples or supping more than four pints of Guinness.

In 2018 the 11 district councils anonymously sampled a variety of plain, luxury and fruit scones from coffee shops and cafes as part of the watchdog's Know Your Calories campaign.

It aims to educate the public on their recommended daily calorie intake and advise them where to find calorie information when shopping and eating out.

"The scone with the highest fat content (22.7g fat) was a raspberry and white chocolate luxury scone, while one fruit scone was found to contain around 750 calories and 39.2g of sugar," said Emily Latimer, the principal environmental health officer representing councils here.

"The 11 district councils sampled a variety of plain, luxury and fruit scones from local coffee shops and cafes across Northern Ireland.

"The survey found a wide range of nutritional values of scones and, not surprisingly, highlighted a correlation between larger portion sizes and increased calorie content."

Fionnuala Close, senior dietary health adviser with the FSA, said the intention of the survey was to make people aware that sometimes the food we eat may not be as healthy as we think.

"Our role is to make people aware about the nutritional content of what they are eating so they can make choices which contribute to a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet," she said.

"Currently, 64% of adults and 27% of children aged 2-15 years old in Northern Ireland are classified as overweight or obese. Typically, our diets contain too much sugar, saturated fat and salt.

"As scones tend to be a regular favourite for many, we felt it was important to raise awareness that this common snack can contain a greater number of calories than consumers may think.

"The availability of choice, in terms of ingredients and scone size, is an important consideration for consumers and producers alike.

"FSA is committed to working on technical guidance that will help businesses to reformulate recipes and produce baked goods that contain reduced sugar, salt and fat and promote smaller portion sizes."

She added: "We would encourage consumers to be aware of their recommended daily calorie intake and consider choices which help them achieve a healthy diet.

"Foods which are high in fat, salt and sugar should be eaten less often and in small amounts."

That would rule out a standard large (14-inch) pepperoni pizza.

That weighs in at a massive 2,370 calories for anyone counting their daily intake.

Within a healthy, balanced diet a man needs around 2,500 calories a day.

For a woman, the figure is around 2,000 a day.

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