Is fast food making us fat?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Is fast food making us fat?

Should we be concerned about the number of fast food meals our family eats?  

The average UK diet appears to be in dire need of an overhaul.  It contains more than the recommended levels of sugar, salt and fat and less fruit and veg than the 5-a-day guidelines –  only 26% of adults met the fruit and veg target. 15 year olds fare much better with 52% stating they get their recommended daily intake *

This situation is not helped by the increase in the number of fast food outlets appearing on the high streets and in our suburbs

*  Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet England: 2017

The Guardian’s recent article about Takeaways has an interactive map showing the proliferation of fast food outlets.  Simply enter your location or post code.

Take-aways and ‘fast food’ tend to be high in fat, salt, calories and sugar; making them an unhealthy food choice when eaten regularly. It has also been shown that people who eat quickly and until full are more likely to be overweight.

 

fast food

Being overweight can lead to obesity, which if left unchecked can increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, raised blood pressure and some cancers. Currently ⅔ of adults and ⅓ of 10-11 year olds in England are obese or overweight.

Is there ‘good’ fast food?

Maybe, is the short answer. The longer answer is, choose your fast food wisely and make them an occasional treat rather than a daily necessity. Try and avoid the breadcrumbed versions, high calorie sauces, the thin cut fries, processed meat additions, calorie ladened ‘sides’ and the large bottles of fizzy drinks. Here are some examples of the good(ish), the bad and the downright ugly!

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The KFC Chicken flamin’ wrap has an acceptable 305 calories but nearly 3 teaspoons of fat and over ¼ teaspoon of salt and sugar.  And definitely keep away from their treats; the White Chocolate Krushems has 435 calories and a whopping 15 teaspoons of sugar.

To put that in to context, that’s double the government’s recommendation for the daily amount of added sugar 

The McDonald’s Filet-o-fish, which is probably one of the least fattening choices in their range still has 329 calories, 3 teaspoons of fat, ½  teaspoons of sugar and over ¼ teaspoons of salt. The other chains are similar; the lowest calorie Subway is roast chicken with 5 salad items at 306 calories, almost 1 teaspoon of fat, nearly 1½ teaspoons of sugar and over ¼ teaspoon of salt. It only remains that low if no dressings are added. However if you chose the Chicken and bacon ranch melt the calories etc increase – 503 calories, nearly 5 teaspoons of fat,  almost 2 teaspoons of sugar and over ½ teaspoon of salt.

And don’t be fooled by the salads; although the Subway Meatball Marinara salad only boasts a waist nipping 270 calories it contains over 3 teaspoons of sugar and nearly 4 teaspoons of fat.

You’d  also be wise not to assume that the vegetarian choice is the ‘healthier’ option.  In all cases a vegetarian burger, sub or wrap could contain more calories, salt, sugar and fat than the meat or fish basic version. For instance the McDonald’s vegetable deluxe has 400 cals, nearly 4 teaspoons of fat, 3 teaspoons of sugar and over ¼ teaspoon of salt

Probably the worst offenders of them all is Burger Kings Steakhouse king at 1100 calories and 24g of saturated fat, that’s over half a woman’s calorie consumption and all her saturated fat intake for the whole day!

And Dominos ‘scrummy’ small classic crust pizza – 1152 calories, almost 13 teaspoons of fat, 3 ½ teaspoons of sugar and almost 2 teaspoons of salt

On the good side if you are vegan, you will probably be an infrequent visitor to these places.  Thankfully (for some of you!) they haven’t yet incorporated many vegan options in to their menus.  All Dominos pizza bases include milk powder, you can enjoy Subways veggie delight (various salad items on a sub or salad), KFC, McDonalds and Burger King only have a few vegan sides like corn on the cob, fries, apple pie and green beans.

20623898_10154869962571903_22678629_nSo please don’t be in a rush to eat fast food

Portion control

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Over 60% of the UK adult population is currently overweight or obese, and we all have a responsibility to reduce that statistic including fast food outlets, schools, supermarkets, cafes and food manufacturers

IMG_2782Research has shown that when people are presented with larger portion sizes, they will eat more and most people underestimate how many calories they consume each day by as much as 25%.

 

 

imagesSince the 1980s, typical servings have increased dramatically: a bag of crisps has grown from 25g to 40g. ‘Big Eat’ bags have 50% more than standard bags – a bag of Walker’s crisps, for example, now contains 55g – that’s 290 calories and 18g of fat, compared to 130 cals and 8g of fat in 25g.

 

Soft drinks are still sold in 330ml cans (139 cals for a can of Coke), but 500ml bottles of are just as popular (210 cals in a bottle of Coke).

IMG_1082King-size and pocket pack chocolate bars are up to twice the size of regular bars – a Mars Big One has 100 calories more than a regular bar, while a King-Sized Snickers has 200 extra calories than the regular version.  There are now even 1 and a half bars of chocolate and Bounty bars are available in triple packs!

Double and triple burgers (with all the extras) are available from every burger chain. If you double-up your cheeseburger in McDonald’s, for example, you increase your calories from 300 to 440, and your fat intake from 11.5g to 23 g.  Pasta servings and nearly five times bigger than they were 20 years ago.

portion control 1 Ready meals have also ballooned over the past 15 years with products such as curry, cottage pies, pasta dishes and casseroles now weighing on average 400g nearly twice the size they were in the 1990’s.

You’re not even safe in the local coffee shop – Your morning caffeine fix in the 50s would be 45 calories. Nowadays, a 16oz (450ml) takeout coffee with mocha syrup would be 350 calories.

 

And how many times are you asked if you want to ‘go large’?

plates2

Modern main course bowl on the left. 1970s plate on the right

 

Even the standard dinner plate used in most restaurants and homes has increased from 10 to 12 inches!

Recent research has revealed that smaller plates, cups, glasses and bowls could reduce overall calorie intake by up to 16 per cent.

 

 

This is called portion distortion and it’s making us fat!
 The more we eat the more calories we consume

Are you shocked by this, did you have any idea that food portion sizes have been on the increase?

To put it in to context eating just 200 extra calories a day over a year can mean a weight gain of over a stone (6.3 Kg)

So what is a correct portion size?

  • A 75g serving of meat, poultry or fish is the same size as the palm of your hand
  • A medium potato is the same size as your computer mouse
  • pasta-portionKeep portions of cheese to 25g – around the same size as a matchbox
  • A medium piece of fruit is the same size as your fist
  • A serving of rice is half a teacup (75g uncooked weight)
  • A serving of vegetables is about 80g
  • A teaspoon of butter or margarine is the size of the tip of your thumb.

A useful guide is to use your hand as a visual template:

palmProtein like meat, fish, poultry, tofu lentils, eggs should be no bigger than the palm of your hand

 

 

 

Carbohydrates like bread rice pasta should fit into one cupped handcupped hand

 

 

 

cupped handsFruit and vegetables should fit in to two cupped hands

Simples!!

 

 

For more information about the increase in portion size please click on this link to the Food Standards Agency booklet http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/reviewportions.pdf

Tackling childhood obesity

Tackling childhood obesity

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

childhood obesityIf like me, you’re interested in nutrition and wellbeing you have probably seen that the childhood obesity plan has finally been published. But like me you may be disappointed by its content.

 

 

Lets look at the positives

  • The introduction of a soft drinks industry levy (sugar tax), to come into force in 2 years time
  • nom nomsA 5% reduction of sugar in products popular with children over the next year. The eventual target is a voluntary 20% sugar cut over the next four years.
  • Those popular products are breakfast cereals, yoghurts, biscuits, cakes, confectionery, pastries, puddings, ice cream and sweet spreads
  • Primary schools to provide at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day and support families to do the same amount at home.
  • More funds for school sport – from the sugar tax
  • Targets for sugar content per 100g of product; no specific amounts given

 

And what’s missing?

  • IMG_2710No restrictions on junk food marketing and advertising during popular family TV programmes
  • No Ban on price-cutting promotions of junk food in supermarkets,
  • No compulsory ‘front of pack’ traffic light labelling system

 

You might well be wondering what all the fuss is about and why you should be concerned about your child’s weight?

I think this extract from the strategy says it all………

Today nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese and younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for longer. Reducing obesity levels will save lives as obesity doubles the risk of dying prematurely. Obese adults are seven times more likely to become a type 2 diabetic than adults of a healthy weight, which may cause blindness or limb amputation. And not only are obese people more likely to get physical health conditions like heart disease, they are also more likely to be living with conditions like depression

 

If you are concerned about your child’s weight or you would like them to eat a wider variety of foods, then why not book in for a nutrition consultation with me.  I also offer cookery classes.  07946 301338

So over to you

Will this strategy make you think about sugar and junk food?

Will you be reading labels and vetoing certain foods for your children?

Will you be getting them to play more and sit less?

Will you be buying fewer *sugary drinks?

 

*If you are confused about the amount of sugar in food and drinks this simple calculation may help

label1

Divide the amount of sugar in grams by 4 to get the number teaspoons. In this example, each cake bar contains 12.9 g or more than 3 teaspoons of sugar (12.9 / 4).  To put that in to context, children should be eating no more than 5-7 (added) teaspoons of sugar a day