A Chinese takeaway has as many calories as nine Mars bars
on 02/10/2012 00:00:00
According to the independent cross-border study, an average takeaway of a vegetable spring roll starter, sweet and sour chicken and egg fried rice has 2,184 calories - 109% of an adult's total daily calorie count.
In addition, it contains 10g of salt (160% of daily recommendation), 74g of total fat (106%) and 14g of saturated fat (70%).
The Chinese meal packs a significantly bigger punch than the 230 calories in a Mars bar or the 200 calories in six chicken nuggets from McDonald's.
And despite the Chinese meal being far bigger than either alternative, the high fat and salt content is repeated even among smaller takeaway items.
The study - part of a wider series examining individual food categories in Ireland - is based on the breakdown of 220 meals sampled from 35 restaurants. It shows:
* Prawn cracker starters (608 calories and 39g of fat) contain a third of your daily calorie intake and more than half your recommended level of total fat.
* A sweet and sour chicken takeaway has the highest calorie count of any single Chinese meal surveyed, at 1,106 calories (49%), while a beef curry contains the most total fat (10g).
* Meals like a beef curry (7g) or a king prawn satay (6.44g) contain more salt than your total recommended daily intake, and in some cases have double the daily level.
* Other meals like egg fried rice (727 calories), king prawn satay (608) and won tons with sweet and sour sauce (543) have more than treble the calorie count of a six-pack of McDonald's chicken nuggets.
A person weighing between 10 and 17 stone can burn off between 90 and 150 calories after walking one mile.
This means a person would have to walk between and 15 and 24 miles to lose the calories put on by an average takeaway meal.
While Chinese food is generally healthier to eat due to the smaller portions and lower salt levels than western foods, takeaway meal recipes have been altered to be more in line with European and North American tastes.
As such, Safefood director of human health and nutrition, Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, has urged fans of the takeaway to pay closer attention to what they are eating.
The expert also noted that, while two out of every three of the 2,044 people surveyed consider Chinese meals to be a treat and not a common occurrence, takeaway portions are also far bigger than needed.
* Read the full survey at www.examiner.com