Secret Ingredients in Takeaway Food

Of course most restaurants don't want you to know what's in their food. If you did you think twice about eating it. Pizzas, Kebabs and curries have been shown to have more than a whole days allowance of saturated fat. Chinese food can not just have over the odds on saturated fat but up to 19 teaspoons of sugar per dish.

Yvonne Bishop-Weston Nutritionist London on GM TV this morning says "People can't make healthier choices if the nutritional information is kept secret. The simplest idea is to extend the Food Standards Traffic light system - If people then have a dish with a red rating for saturated fat or sugar they then know they factor that in for other food they eat that day.

Leading takeaway chains still offer little if any nutritional information to help customers make healthy choices, a study has found. None of the major takeaway restaurants give nutritional details on menus or menu boards, despite Britons eating almost two billion of their meals a year, the National Consumer Council (NCC) said.

Customers find it difficult to work out how much fat, salt and sugar they are eating, and cannot compare meals to choose healthier options, the NCC said. The survey of seven restaurant chains named Pizza Express as the worst offender for offering no nutritional information at all in its stores or online. Wimpy, Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza only offered information on their websites.

Only Burger King made details available before ordering in the form of a leaflet at the counter. KFC and McDonald's printed information on the back of tray liners. The NCC found that nutritional information was often hard to find, complex and difficult to understand. None of the information allowed consumers to compare the relative healthiness of different meal options at a glance.

A poll of customers by the NCC found three quarters would find nutritional information useful in takeaway restaurants, while 61% would use it to choose healthier meals. The study found a KFC meal of a Tower Burger, regular BBQ beans, yoghurt and cola contained nearly a whole day's salt and more than two thirds of the recommended daily amount of sugar.

In comparison, a KFC drumstick and breast, regular fries, Munch Bunch raspberry yoghurt and a regular diet cola provided less than half a day's salt and a sixth of the daily amount of sugar.

The Cabinet Office Food Matters study released this week recommended looking at ways to help consumers have access to healthier choices when eating out and having more information about the health and environmental impacts of their diet.

Recent studies have warned that single take-away meals such as curries or Chinese dishes can include more saturated fat than an adult should eat in an entire day. NCC policy expert Jeff Allder said: ``It's important that people can choose a healthy option if they want one, especially with consumers' growing appetite for fast food and the rise of obesity and diet-related illnesses.

``If people are going to change their eating habits they need clear, up-front information about what they are eating. The largest takeaway chains should take a lead from supermarkets, which provide a lot of information at a glance.''