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17 September 2014
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Should I Worry About... Takeaways?

Richard Hammond, the presenter of Should I Worry About...?, loves his takeaways and eats them at least twice a week. The average family will eat up to 10,000 of them over a lifetime. But what exactly is in them? Should we worry about curries, chow meins, burgers, kebabs and pizzas?

Trans fat

We all know about the dangers of saturated fat and its links with obesity and heart disease. But Richard discovers that some of our favourite takeaways (from small locals to the big chains) contain another potentially deadlier fat: trans fat.

The Food Standards Agency says that trans fats could be worse for you than saturated fat. Internationally, trans fats are now thought to pose such a health risk that they will have to be labelled by law in the US as of Jan 2006. While here in the UK, McDonald's, KFC and Harry Ramsden's all say that they are currently looking into and testing oils that have lower trans fat content. McDonalds says they have already reduced their trans fat content by 50%.

Unsafe meat?

The programme also goes undercover to see just how many central London takeaways are prepared to buy what they believe to be unfit meat – with shocking results.

The bottom line

So should you worry about takeaways? Well, there are some options that contain less trans fat and salt (steamed, stir fried dishes, sushi) and you might prefer to avoid meat. And the odd takeaway as a treat every now and then shouldn't do you any harm. However, overall Richard's investigation ends with a resounding 'yes'. Whether it's unfit meat or artery-clogging trans fats, he decides that in many cases a takeaway represents little more than an unhealthy overload of fat, salt, sugar and calories.

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Should I Worry About...?

Programmes in the second series shown July 2005:

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Takeaways

Find out more about the first series

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