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Solo Health

Takeaway terror

Stop! Before you settle down on the couch of a Friday night and pick up the phone to order a takeaway, remember this – more than a whole day’s worth of saturated fat can be hidden in a single Indian takeaway meal. Yes, you heard right. A recent study in the UK, carried out by consumer group Which?, found that an average portion contained a whopping 23.2g of saturated fat – the type that raises the risk of heart disease if eaten in excess. Nutritionists recommend that women eat no more than 20g of saturated fat in one day, while men may eat up to 30g.
Chinese and pizza takeaways were also tested for their fat, sugar and calorie content, and compared to the Indian food, the Chinese dishes had a lower saturated fat content but contained – wait for it – nearly three times as much sugar. Indeed in one portion there was more than 19 teaspoons. Dear God.
The problem is that takeaways are not legally required to give the nutritional breakdown of their food, so diners they may not know if there are low-calorie or low-salt options available. Or know anything in fact. For example, Indian takeaway enthusiasts may be shocked to discover that naan bread contains more calories, weight for weight, than chicken tikka masala, according to the meals tested by Which?.
Meanwhile, some pizza chains, including Pizza Hut and Domino’s, give nutritional information on their websites, however in one case the details differed substantially to the consumer organisation’s results – the four Domino’s cheese and tomato pizzas tested having at least 50 per cent more fat per 100g than the website stated. Yikes.
“We don’t want to be killjoys when it comes to takeaways,” Which? editor (comfortingly) said, “everyone’s entitled to enjoy a treat while they’re watching the footy or a movie, but we would like people to be aware of just how much of their daily food intake comes in just one meal. A day’s worth of fat or sugar shouldn’t be ignored! Unlike at the supermarket, it’s almost impossible to work out the nutritional content of a takeaway. Highlighting healthier options is useful, but ultimately we want consumers to have much clearer information about fat, sugar and salt levels.”
So, the moral of the story? Maybe bin those order-in menus. Or limit takeaway night to once a month. With that amount of fat and sugar, even a weekly treat seems too much. And there’s always the option of cooking an Indian or Chinese at home from scratch – bound to be healthier and even cheaper.

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    Posted by willerby | July 30, 2008, 2:07 pm