Australians wanting healthy options urged to check labels
CHOICE says anyone who thinks muesli automatically means a healthy, low kilojoule, low sugar breakfast needs to carefully check the nutritional information panel on the box. In a test of 159 types of muesli, CHOICE found that one brand, The Muesli, contains twice the amount of fat of a MacDonald's Double Quarter Pounder.
“Whilst much of the fat content in muesli is the ‘good’ unsaturated type, coming from oats, seeds and nuts, the high fat varieties can still pack a high number of kilojoules,” says CHOICE spokesperson, Ingrid Just.
Two gluten free varieties; Sunsol Gluten Free and Nu-Vit Low Fat Fruity Muesli Gluten Free, were found to contain 43% sugar; 7% more than a bowl of Coco Pops.
“If you are eating muesli to try and lose weight then the overall fat and sugar content needs to be taken into consideration,” says Ms Just.
Of the 159 mueslis tested by CHOICE, 10 met Australian food regulator FSANZ’s definition of low fat (no more than 3%) and 11 met FSANZ's definition for low sugar (no more than 5%).
Three quarters of the mueslis CHOICE reviewed came with nutrition claims on the packaging, some of which are potentially confusing for consumers.
"Morpeth Sourdough Muesli Deluxe says it has ‘no added cane sugar’ but its dried fruit content and added honey result in a product that’s almost 28% sugar,” says Ms Just.
To assist consumers to make healthier choices, should they want to do so, CHOICE has called for front of pack traffic light labelling on all products that make nutrition or health claims,
“Muesli is a clear example of how traffic light labels can benefit consumers, helping us make quick and healthy choices on products we often assume are low in sugar and fat,” says Ms Just.
“Muesli comes with an enormous price range, from as little as $3 to nearly $50 per kilo. If you are buying muesli for its health benefits, you really want to know what you are buying.”
To help people buy the most nutritious muesli, CHOICE says they should:
• Check the Nutritional Information Panel (NIP), for fat and saturated fat – less than 12% is better than average for most muesli.
• Check the ingredients’ list for added sugar (it can be disguised as honey, maple syrup, golden syrup or glucose).
• Check the NIP for 10% (10g per 100g) or more of fibre – don’t rely on claims like ‘good source of fibre’ or ‘high in fibre’. Many types of muesli with higher than average fibre are often claim-free.
Read CHOICE’s full report into muesli.
• Ingrid Just, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669