High street lunch meal deals from retailers such as WHSmith, Morrisons and Tesco can contain up to 30 teaspoons of sugar, according to Action on Sugar.
The UK charity has called on retailers to ban all drinks and confectionary from meal deals which is overly high in sugar and would necessitate a red traffic light label (indicating high sugar).
In a new survey Action on Sugar revealed that super-sized fizzy drinks and high-calorie snacks including chocolate and sweets are major contributors to unhealthy meal deals which can raise the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
WHSmith, Morrisons and Tesco were among the worst offenders. Their “mix and match” offers each contain up to 30 teaspoons of sugar, more than four times an adult’s daily maximum recommended intake.
One Morrisons combination, a sweet chilli chicken wrap with Relentless Passion Punch Energy 500ml drink and millionaire shortbread, was shown to contain 28 teaspoons of sugar.
Action on Sugar’s survey found that 72 per cent of meal deal drinks at Morrisons were overly high in sugar, compared to just 38 per cent at Marks and Spencer, which provides the lowest proportion of high sugar drinks.
Action on Sugar chairman and professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London, Graham MacGregor, said: “Eating too much sugar is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay. Supermarkets pretend to be on the side of their customer’s health to encourage loyalty, but this survey clearly shows that they are not.”
Kawther Hashem, a nutritionist and researcher at Action on Sugar, added: “These excessively high sugar combos can have a detrimental effect on people’s health, particularly if eaten daily.”
Editor’s note: Meal deals are generally not a healthy lunch option, especially so when these levels of sugar are reported. Instead, learn about how to prepare easy, healthy meals with our Low Carb Program, which has shown to prevent prediabetes and help people put type 2 diabetes into remission.

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