How Much Sugar is in your Meal Deal?

A recent survey by a health group has discovers that some high street meal deals contain the equivalent of up to 30 teaspoons of sugar.  That’s 480 calories! This is sparking a debate for high street shops to sell healthier options in meal deals.

The survey criticises retailers for including super-sized fizzy drinks and calorific snacks such as chocolate and sweets.

The worst offenders among the popular “mix and match” offers were two meals from WH Smith and Tesco.  Each meal contained 30 teaspoons of sugar.  The same as in 79 chocolate fingers, and more than four times an adult’s daily maximum recommended intake.

The WH Smith combination highlighted is:

  • Tuna and sweetcorn on malted brown bread sandwich.
  • Mountain Dew citrus blast 500ml drink.
  • Bag of Skittles Crazy Sours.

This meal contains 811 kcal.

Another “shocking” example cited is from Tesco:

  • Smokehouse pulled chicken with Mesquite style sauce.
  • Monster Energy 500ml drink.
  • Mars Duo chocolate bar. A meal containing 1,004 kcal.

Similarly, others laden with sugar are:


  • Sweet chilli chicken wrap.
  • Relentless Passion Punch Energy 500ml drink.
  • Millionaire shortbread.
  • 28 teaspoons of sugar and 1,048 kcal.


  • Black bean pulled beef and noodle meal pot.
  • Rockstar Xdurance blueberry pomegranate acai energy 500ml drink.
  • Rocky road bar.
  • 28 teaspoons of sugar and 855 kcal.

“Eating too much sugar is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay,” said Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar. “Supermarkets pretend to be on the side of their customer’s health to encourage loyalty, but this survey clearly shows that they are not.”

Registered nutritionist Kawther Hashem, researcher at Action on Sugar, adds: “These excessively high sugar combos can have a detrimental effect on people’s health, particularly if eaten daily.”

Some drinks contained up to 70g of sugar, the survey said, and were frequently offered in 500ml portions.  This is two servings despite being sold as part of a lunch meal.

WH Smith were also criticised for not not providing any healthy snack options. But WH Smith said the example given in the survey was “extreme and wholly unrepresentative of what our customers purchase – making up only 0.004% of meal deals sold”.

The retailer says its meal deal is “incredibly popular and contains a number of healthy eating options, including sandwiches and salads”.”

“We offer thousands of meal deal combinations for just £3, many of which include low sugar and sugar-free drink options.”  Morrison’s spokesperson.

Should more be done to combat high sugar food & drinks? Leave us a comment to tell us what you think.