Analee Gale

About Analee Gale

Analee Gale is the Food & Health Editor of TBS. Previous to that, she was a freelance writer and editor who has spent so many decades writing about being food and fitness that she sometimes forgets to actually be fit (though she never ever forgets to eat food - hangry is a thing, you know!). Analee made a tree-change from the northern beaches of Sydney, so she now taps out tales from her base in a tiny coastal town in East Gippsland, Victoria.

Your muffin top might be down to your muffin size

Love those sweet cafe baked goods? Well, according to dietitians the size of the portions they offer may be the reason why our pant sizes continue to grow. Damn.



New research findings presented at the Dietitians Association of Australia National Conference last month revealed that Australian coffee chains have supersized their serving sizes of muffins and cake products.

Stephanie Liang, an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and researcher from the University of Sydney, discovered that 148g is now the average size of cake products served by Australian coffee chains, compared to comparable supermarket products, which come in at a mere 58g. Essentially this is approximately two-and-a-half times bigger, equating to around twice the kilojoule content (the café cake servings deliver an average 1,805kJ versus the supermarket cake which weighs in at 915kJ).

The Australian Dietary Guidelines, however, do not recommend either of these portion sizes, as they exceed 600kJ, which is considered one standard serve of unhealthy or sometimes/discretionary foods.

Liang’s study examined 467 muffin and cake products, from eight coffee chains and four supermarkets in Australia, and compared their kilojoule/energy content and serving sizes (in terms of weight).

She said, “Australians need access to more appropriate, smaller portion sizes when eating out at coffee chains. This would help Australians to get a better picture of normal serving sizes of foods like cakes and muffins. Think the size of a tennis ball for a regular muffin and a golf ball for a mini muffin.”

“Regularly eating kilojoule-heavy discretionary foods and larger portion sizes are key factors contributing to Australia’s obesity epidemic. Cakes and muffins are commonly-enjoyed discretionary foods, and their portion sizes have blown out over the past decades,” she added.

Ms Liang commended supermarkets for maintaining their serving sizes but recommended that coffee chains reconsider their portion sizes to fall in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Interestingly, the NSW Ministry of Health has released healthy food and drink guidelines, which ensure that these types of baked items must be no larger than 80g (the size of tennis ball) if they are to be sold in NSW Health facilities.

Until commercial vendors adopt such a policy however, Ms Liang suggests that café patrons opt to split a baked treat with others or opt for cakes without icing and which are unfilled or, if possible, simply choose smaller items.


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