Call for fast food facts on fat and nutrition
We know nothing about the fast food we're eating. And it's not our fault — even experts would struggle to guess the nutritional content of most fast food items.
The Food Commission is now urging the UK government to follow the example of US cities like New York and Seattle, right, and order fast food chains to display nutrition information on menu boards, next to the name and price of the item.
'US restaurant chains should treat their European customers as openly as they do their American customers and provide nutrition details at the point of sale here,' said Anna Glayzer for The Food Commission, an independent, voluntary body campaigning for safer, healthier food in the UK. 'At the moment customers have to rely on guess work if they want to make healthier choices.'
Guesswork indeed. Who could know that KFC's large coleslaw contains more fat than its large fries? Or that Subway's Veggie Patty sub contains more calories than its steak and cheese sub?
Not the experts. The Food Commission surveyed 66 nutrition and obesity experts at the European Congress on Obesity in Geneva, and found that none could tell from the menu description which food was likely to have most calories or fat. Asked five simple multiple choice questions, not one of the experts answered all five correctly with most of them getting only one or two answers correct.
The general public fared little better. The Food Commission asked 220 people similar questions. Only one person got full marks - 91% of those asked got fewer than half of the answers right.
'People are eating out more than they used to,' said Glayzer. 'If companies are genuinely serious about wanting to offer healthy choices, they need to give customers up front information. If they can do it in the States, then there is no reason why they should not do it here.'
Examples of questions from the public survey:
Which sub at Subway has the most calories? (note: Subs are on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, green peppers, olives and cheese)
- 6 inch Tuna Salad Sub (402 cal)
- 6 inch Steak and Cheese Sub (336 cal)
- 6 inch Subway Melt (Turkey, Ham, Bacon and Cheese) (351 cal)
- 6 inch Veggie Patty Sub (414 cal)
Only 4.5% of people surveyed guessed the correct answer, the Veggie Patty Sub.
Which item at Kentucky Fried Chicken has the most amount of fat?
- Large Coleslaw (22.4 grams)
- Regular Popcorn Chicken (17.8 grams)
- Large Fries (19.4 grams)
- Fillet Burger (15.6 grams)
Just 22% were able to guess the answer, the Large Coleslaw.
Which meal item at Burger King has the most amount of fat?
- Double Whopper with Cheese (57 grams)
- Bacon Double Cheeseburger (27 grams)
- XL Bacon Double Cheeseburger (51 grams)
- Smoked Bacon and Cheddar Angus (41 grams)
Only 25% of people asked guessed that the Double Whopper with Cheese had the most fat.
How many would you have got?
Page created on August 11th, 2008
Page updated on December 18th, 2009