Wednesday 25 January 2017

Easter eggs warning as chocolate pushes healthy diets to limit

Martin Grant and Jane O'Faherty

Published 26/03/2016 | 02:30

Easter eggs. Photo: Mark Condren
Easter eggs. Photo: Mark Condren

As Ireland prepares to gorge on a staggering 17.5m Easter eggs this weekend, consumers are being warned that some chocolate eggs contain almost twice the amount of saturated fat recommended for one day.

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Many of the chocolate eggs that line the aisles of supermarkets nationwide have as much as 124g of sugar - far more than the daily guideline for adult women and men of 90g.

One egg we bought for €4.75 - a Nestlé Easter egg - contained a whopping 1,100 calories. The average guideline for adults (GDA) is 2,000 and 1,800 for children.

The same egg also contained 35g of saturated fat - that's 180pc of an adult's guideline daily amount.

Meanwhile, a Cadbury's egg cost €5 and contained 185pc of an adult's GDA for saturated fat.

A Lindt milk chocolate egg fared marginally better, although it was slightly smaller than other brands. The €9.50 treat contained around 920 calories, 46pc of a person's recommended daily amount.

But the eggs were also accompanied by a selection of sweets or a chocolate bar, causing calorie, sugar and fat counts to soar.

The guideline daily amounts for children, the primary consumers of eggs, are significantly lower than those for adults.

Dieticians have warned that gorging on your favourite chocolate will have health implications.

A MummyPages.ie survey found that more than eight in 10 grandparents will give their grandchildren an egg this year.

Children from larger families can bank on getting an egg stockpile, with 23pc of children receiving between six and 10 eggs. A further 12pc will munch on an astounding 10 to 15 eggs.

Meanwhile, 51pc of parents believe they should be asked for their permission before giving a child an Easter egg.

Consultant dietician Sarah Keogh from Dublin believes limiting the number of chocolate eggs given can go a long way to safeguarding the health of children.

"You do see situations where kids might get loads of eggs, so we might talk about limiting them to between one and three eggs, rather than kids getting lots," she says.

Her advice was that we can eat a little of the sweet treats without getting too worried.

Treats

"I think there are times when we need to let go a little and enjoy ourselves," she said.

"If it's just one day, it's not going to do a huge amount of harm ... it's not going to be the end of the world," she added.

Cadbury expects to sell over 5.4m eggs this Easter, and believes its sweet treats can be enjoyed by consumers as part of a "healthy, balanced diet".

A spokesperson for Nestlé said eating chocolate as part of a "healthy lifestyle" was one of "life's little pleasures".

Irish Independent

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