A specialist consultant in weight loss surgery has lost a bid to prevent branches of Costa Coffee cafe conducting business in Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital.
Dr Sally Norto, who works at Bristol Royal Infirmary and Southmead Hospital, has been campaigning for more healthy food choices in hospitals. However, her latest attempts to stall the energy dense food takeover has come undone as health chiefs at Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital have given the all clear for Costa to continue serving.
Dr Norton notes that the NHS should not simply treat people with illnesses but also foster the idea of healthy living and yet hospital heads allow intensely calorie laden foods to be freely sold and in some cases, actively pushed upon hospital visitors. With obesity and type 2 diabetes such a big health issue in modern times, it seems incredulous that hospitals should be party to the ubiquity of largely empty calories.
In a scene that will be familiar to many of us, Dr Norton recalls her experiences of Costa’s relentless calorie pushing: “When I try to grab a quick coffee from Costa, an obedient employee always tries to tempt me into buying one of their huge, sugar-laden and calorific cakes to go with it; hard to resist after a stressful morning in theatre or a busy night on-call.”
Costa is as much a patisserie as it is a coffee shop and making matters even worse is that their coffee can be significantly higher in calories than a pint of full sugar cola. Using Costa’s online menu and putting in an order of a large (Massimo) latte with soya milk, a roasted hazelnut syrup, for a bit of flavour, and a cheeky flake produced a drink with nearly 400 kcal and representing a fifth of a woman’s daily calorie intake. Dare to add a pastry on top and it is easy to take in over a 100g of carbohydrate and 75g of sugar in a snack.
Costa Coffee’s response has been to point out that nutritional information is available in the store if people choose to seek it out. As cafes have become less and less healthy, maybe it is now time that people see the nutritional small print before buying, similar to how loan agreements require a signature to confirm the terms of the offering.

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