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?
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%.
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.
Back to the Should I Worry About...? homepage
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