A Takeaway Contains Enough Fat For A Day

Posted on: 27 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

How healthy are your takeaway foods? Which? lifts the lid and reveals the results.

A single Indian takeaway can contain more saturated fat than a person should eat in a day, say Which? as it reveals the results of an investigation into takeaway meals.

The consumer organisation has looked at three types of takeaways - Indian, Chinese and pizza – and compared the nutritional values to find out how a meal fits in with guideline daily amounts.

Researchers found that an average Which? portion of an Indian takeaway contained 23.2g of saturated fat, 3.2g more than a woman should eat in a day. 

In comparison, the Chinese takeaways had lower saturated fat content but contained nearly three times as much sugar – in one Which? portion there was over 19 teaspoons.

Takeaways aren’t legally required to give nutritional content of their food, which makes it difficult for people to know if there are low-calorie or low-salt options available. 

For example, Indian takeaway fans may not be aware that naan bread contains more calories, weight for weight, than chicken tikka masala, according to the meals Which? tested.

Some pizza chains, such as Pizza Hut and Domino’s, do voluntarily give nutritional information on their websites.

However, in one case the details differed substantially to Which?’s results – the four Domino’s cheese and tomato pizzas tested had at least 50 per cent more fat per 100g than the website stated.

In response to theses results, Domino’s has said that it regularly monitors pizza making in all of its stores and has never seen variances of the size found by Which?  It said that it takes the allegations seriously and that it will re-test all its pizzas and update its food guide.

“We don’t want to be killjoys when it comes to takeaways. Everyone’s entitled to enjoy a treat while they’re watching the footy or a movie, but we would like people to be aware of just how much of their daily food intake comes in just one meal,” says Neil Fowler, editor of Which? magazine.

“A day’s worth of fat or sugar shouldn’t be ignored!”

“Unlike at the supermarket, it’s almost impossible to work out the nutritional content of a takeaway.”

“Dominos and Pizza Hut have made efforts by voluntarily listing this information on their websites."

“Highlighting healthier options is useful, but ultimately we want consumers to have much clearer information about fat, sugar and salt levels.”

Which? tested how many calories and how much sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt there is in Chinese, Indian and pizza takeaways. 

Ten Indian and ten Chinese meals were ordered from takeaways that offered a delivery service within a two-mile radius from the Which? London office. 

Which? tested four medium thick-crust cheese and tomato pizzas and four medium thin-crust pepperoni pizzas from each of Domino’s Pizza, Perfect Pizza and Pizza Hut.

Takeaway portions tend to vary, therefore Which? created a standard meal for comparison.  For the Indian and Chinese meals this was a 350g meat dish, 200g of rice and 100g of naan or spring rolls. 

A standard portion of 300g – about half a medium takeaway pizza – was used for the pizzas.

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www.which.co.uk - Which? is the leading independent consumer champion in the UK, providing up to date, impartial, expert information on thousands of products and services to help make individuals as powerful as the organisations they have to deal with in their daily lives.

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