Folks don’t count on fast-food “combo” meals to be wholesome consuming, however new analysis reveals simply how dangerous they are often.

Diet consultants on the College of Auckland’s College of Inhabitants Well being carried out New Zealand’s first detailed analysis into combos, analysing serving measurement and diet info from 20 chains.

Kilojoules (energy), sodium (salt), sugar, and saturated fats content material had been in comparison with each day really useful intakes. Vitality in meals is measured in energy or kilojoules. One calorie quantities to 4.2 kilojoules.

One of many least wholesome combos – a double burger, dessert, fries and a sugary comfortable drink – included 16 teaspoons of sugar, together with extra energy than a median individual wants for a whole day, with an identical extra of salt. The researchers aren’t naming the fast-food chain to keep away from singling out one firm.

“Even once you’re going for the comfort of a combo meal, your precise alternative could make a giant distinction on your well being,” says lead researcher, Dr Sally Mackay.

“Go for smaller parts, skip the dessert, and select a low-sugar drink, and also you’ll see the profit on your pockets in addition to your physique.”

To assist customers make more healthy selections, quick meals chains want to supply extra diet info on the level of buy, and minimize portion sizes, says Dr Mackay. Gadgets excessive in energy, salt or sugar might carry a warning image on the menu board, equivalent to a salt shaker for top salt ranges, for instance.

Dr Mackay says in NZ, two in three adults are overweight or chubby, together with three in ten kids.

Excessive salt consumption can contribute to hypertension and stroke.

The study, printed not too long ago within the journal Vitamins, discovered:

  • Burgers ranged in measurement from as small as 101 grams to as giant as 718 grams.
  • Smoothies, usually seen by customers as wholesome, got here as giant as 600 millilitres and could possibly be excessive in energy and sugar. Two of the smoothies every supplied 40 % of an individual’s each day energy.
  • Some quick meals chains had no diet info obtainable both on-line or in retailer
  • Many merchandise exceeded UK targets for ranges of salt (which had been used for comparability as a result of Aotearoa New Zealand lacks such targets).

The instance above of a “least-healthy” combo had greater than 3 times the energy, over twice the salt, and 13 instances the sugar of a combo meal consisting of a cheeseburger, small fries and a no-sugar comfortable drink.

Instruments to encourage more healthy consuming might embody government-set targets for energy and salt in quick meals, and menu board labelling, which is at present into consideration by coverage makers.

Dr Mackay says it was disappointing that almost all takeaway chains failed to supply diet info for many merchandise, and a few failed to supply any info.

The 20 fast-food chains whose meals had been analysed had been: Burger Gasoline, Burger King, Burger Wisconsin, Domino’s Pizza, Hell Pizza, Jester’s Pies, KFC, McDonald’s, McCafé, Muffin Break, Noodle Canteen, Pita Pit, Pizza Hut, St Pierre’s Sushi, Subway, Tank Juice, Wendy’s, Wild Bean Café, Wishbone, Z Specific. The seven chains that failed to supply dietary info had been: Nando’s, Evening ‘n Day@Gull, Sal’s Pizza, Shake Shed and Co, Shamiana, Starbucks and The Espresso Membership.

The research was primarily based on knowledge collected in-store and from firm web sites from February to March 2020.

The research was supported by the Nationwide Well being and Medical Analysis Council and used info from Nutritrack, which is funded by the Well being Analysis Council.


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