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!

20479510_818641758299253_5036287290943209673_n

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

Obesity – It will be the death of us

Obesity – It will be the death of us

ObesityThe latest health figures for the over 40s makes pretty somber reading.  83% of 40 to 60 year-olds are either drinking too much, are inactive or are overweight. Particularly, 77% of men and 63% of women in middle-age are either overweight or obese

 

Obesity is rising for all age groups including children, and I believe we are in an obesity crisis situation.  Public Health England (PHE) created a new initiative called ‘One You’ for the over 40s to try and engage them in healthy eating and lifestyles so as they age they still maintain good health.

 

one-you-quiz

 

 

Why not take their ‘How Are You’ quiz. It will help anyone who wants to take stock to find out quickly where they can take a little changes to make a big difference to their health.

 

 

 

obesity-np

 

The Nottingham Post asked for my views on this tricky subject. You can read the article either on line or in yesterdays paper.

But what do you think we need to do?

 

 

 

One of the knock on effects of obesity is the increased risk of certain illness including heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes.  Diabetes alone is costing the NHS over £10 billion a year and 80% of the issues they treat in hospital are about managing avoidable complications

 

So what can be done?  

I believe it has to be a combined approach, with the individual at the heart of it.  They need to take responsibility for their own and their family’s health; by looking at portion control, how often they eat ready/processed or takeaway meals, how often are children given fizzy drinks, sweets and chocolates. What level of activity to they undertake?  Some simple solutions are sit-down less and move more.  This can also be carried out at work; try and take breaks from your desk regularly, have a walk at lunch time, get off the bus one/two walkingstops earlier and walk the rest of the way home.  Buddying up with a friend is a good way to maintain an exercise programme.

 

I am getting more enquiries from parents who want to come and learn to cook with their children, so as a family they can eat healthily.  And its great watching them learn together and make a meal that is healthy and delicious.  I also give healthy eating advice and get vegan cookery poster jpegthe family to try different ingredients, and offer simple tips to make the shopping cheaper such as buying frozen veg, make soup with leftovers and what ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ really means in an attempt to avoid food waste

portion-sizesI advise that when out doing the food shop, never do it when you are hungry, make a list, plan your meals in advance so you don’t get sucked in to buy the special offers or be tempted by the cakes, desserts and crisps

 

_68243258_foodlabelManufacturers/supermarkets also need to take a responsibility; have more special offers on healthy food like fruits, veg, wholegrains etc.  Have clearer labelling on the front of the packets, especially about portion size.  Posters in the shops about the benefits of fruits and veg, recipe cards with simple, quick and cheap family meals

The government needs to deliver stronger and harder hitting messages about the dangers of obesity, type 2 diabetes etc (a bit like the smoking campaigns). And offer helpful advice about portion control, cheap healthy quick family meals etc

Schools need to follow on with a consistent message about healthy eating; get children growing veg, cooking, helping in the community.  Their school meals could use some of the homegrown veg and have fewer vending machines on the premises.

fast-food-outletsLocal planners could look at how many fast food outlets, sweet shops etc are located near schools or near housing estates and take a responsible view

 

So I believe we all have a responsibility is tackling this epidemic.

Think twice before having a cake with your coffee!

Think twice before having a cake with your coffee!

High street coffee shops in Nottinghamshire are selling muffins and cakes with the sugar equivalent of up to six doughnuts.

Its that time of year when many of us are hitting the High Street in a mad dash to finish (or even start) our Christmas shopping.  And what better way to get through it than stop for a caffeine pick me up.  Its also hard to resist the cakes and biscuits that stare at you as you wait to be served

cocta-cake-offferThe cafes and restaurants are also keen to get you to buy and their ‘up-selling’ skills are highly tuned!.

Take for instance Costa’s latest offer.  In the first week of December if you bought a Medio or Massimo drink from their Christmas range you could have any cake for just £1!

That could total over 1000 calories or half a woman’s daily calorie intake. But even more worryingly your coffee and cake combo could contain a whopping 114g or 28½ teaspoons of sugar.  Compare that to the daily recommended maximum of 25 teaspoons.

This week Holly Skelton from Notts TV interviewed me about this very subject, her full report can be read here http://nottstv.com/nottinghamshire-coffee-shops-selling-cakes-sugar-equivalent-six-doughnuts/

notts-tv-sugary-cakes

gingerbread-latte

 

Other coffee chains are also muscling in; at Starbucks order an almond or cinnamon Swedish bun with a tall Latte for only £3.50.  The price may seem reasonable but you’ll be consuming over 700 calories and 46gs or 11½ teaspoons of sugar.  Better than Costa to be fair!

 

 

 

nero-festive-choc-cake

 

Caffe Nero also has a festive range; opt for their regular amaretto hot chocolate (with whipped cream) accompanied by a slice of festive chocolate fudge cake and your calorie tally will climb to just over 1000 calories and a belly busting 107g or nearly 27 teaspoons of sugar

 

 

 

Do you feel pressured in to buying more than you need? 

How to survive the sugar onslaught!

My 3 top tips

Tip #1 – simply consider only having a hot drink.  Always ask for it in a takeaway cup, as it stays hotter and you’re more likely to take your time and feel fuller.  And don’t always be persuaded to ‘go large’!

Tip #2 – If you must have a sweet treat, buy the smallest one that you like.  This might be a biscotti, mince pie, oat or ginger biscuit

Tip #3 – If you really fancy a slice of festive cake, muffin or biscuit then share it with a friend, or wrap the other half in a serviette and take it home for another time or give it to a friend or family member

 

 

Simply veg

Cooking up a storm!

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

coucousI’m half way through my vegetarian and vegan cookery classes in my converted convent in West Bridgford. So far my guests have cooked quinoa salad, spicy chickpeas with spring cabbage and cauliflower couscous. What’s waiting for them in the coming weeks is chocolate chia pudding with dates, spicy Thai tofu curry and spiralised sweet potato with kale

 

couscous1It is not all about ‘simply veg'; my aim is to show how easy it is to cook healthy simple yet tasty vegan food, which can be enjoyed by the whole family, eaten by one person or adapted for meat and fish eaters. Interspersed within the cooking is nutritional advice and cooking tips, such as freezing leftover herbs in ice cube trays, how lemon juice can take the place of salt as a flavouring, the importance of fibre and ways to reduce sugar intake.

 

ingredients2There is growing evidence that a more plant-based diet has positive health benefits, ranging from a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers to weight loss.

 

If you fancy trying something new, want to cook with others and learn some nutritional tips then contact me and we can get you booked in

 

Classes generally start at 11am on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On a Tuesday they start at 12.30pm and 5.30pm . Each class lasts an hour and 15 minutes and all the ingredients and equipment are provided. All this for just £25. But if you book 6 sessions in advance you only pay for 5

 

banner

There is no time limit on when you come for your 6 sessions, so feel free to take a break

phone  Call 07946 301338

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