Fast food

Friday, November 21, 2003
Australia is evolving into a nation of fatties, and no wonder judging from the nightmare offerings uncovered at fast-food chains.

Even our hardened food team was shocked by the amount of kilojoules, fat and salt that some options packed. A burger with 67 grams of fat — that’s around three-and-a-half tablespoons, even before you add the chips and other possible extras. Or a serve of crunchy chicken bits that’s nearly 2000 kJ are just two examples.

If the kids drag you to worship regularly at the fast-food altar and you’re looking for something that amounts to more than a tiny burger yet is healthier than the usual chain offerings, try:

  • RED ROOSTER’s Sub 97.
  • A visit to NANDO’S will give you a few options that won’t break the nutrition bank.
  • A KFC Orignal Fillet Burger — if you go for potato and gravy or coleslaw with it instead of chips — can be a reasonable option.
  • SUBWAY — it offers plenty of choice as long as you’re careful not to add the high-fat options.
  • A falafel roll or some of the kebabs, which are also good choices.

The report also reveals that a kid’s meal from the big chains buys you 2000 to 3000 kJ, 20 to 30 grams of fat and way more salt than a kid needs. So if there’s a bonus toy, it had better be good!

Upsize to the next trouser size

  • Fast food’s easy availability, relatively low cost and the advertising-driven demand from our kids for fatty, salty, high-calorie fast food have to take some share of the blame for the expanding waistlines of our kids.

  • The fast-food giants can take more blame still for their deliberate strategy aimed at increasing the amount you spend when you visit by offering meal deals and ‘upsizes’ where a little more money gets you heaps more food.

  • In some instances you even get more food for less money by taking a meal deal. For example, the smallest HUNGRY JACK’S meal deals include regular-size chips and soft drink, so if you really only want small chips and a small soft drink with your burger it’s going to cost you more for less.

  • A recent study by health researchers at Deakin University in Melbourne found one upsize deal that delivered as much as 50% more fat, calories and sugar for only 16% more money. On average they found 12% more cash buys you around 25% more fat and calories (and nearly 40% more sugar).

It may add up to value for money, but your arteries (and backside) won’t thank you for it.

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