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The taste of British fast food is still among the worst in Europe where we are second only to Sweden


Research has shown that the UK still has one of the worst diets in Europe despite decades of health warnings.

Of the 23 countries, the British are second only to the Swedes in their taste for sausages, cakes, ready meals, biscuits, sweets and soft drinks.

Experts fear that millions are still putting themselves at risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease by over-eating ultra-processed foods full of sugar, fat and salt.

Activists called for urgent steps last night to curb Britain’s addiction to industrial food. Tam Fry, president of the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘Actions must be taken to clamp down on them – and urgently.

“Successive governments have overwhelmingly failed to prevent manufacturers from linking their food products with sugar, fat and salt – paving the way for two-thirds of the nation to be overweight or obese.”

Experts fear that millions are still putting themselves at risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease by over-eating ultra-processed foods full of sugar, fat and salt.

Researchers compared eating habits in 23 countries, including the United Kingdom

Researchers compared eating habits in 23 countries, including the United Kingdom

Nutrition expert Professor Mike Lane from the University of Glasgow said: ‘This is concerning. Most of these foods are often very low in micronutrients and often high in sugar or an artificial sweetener in addition to fat and salt. Worse, it is linked to higher rates of obesity – especially in children – and risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Eating small amounts of ultra-processed foods such as cakes, muffins, french fries, or prepared sauces isn’t thought to be harmful. But experts are increasingly concerned about the apparent increasing dependence of the British on them.

In the study, the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, analyzed data on the eating habits of millions of people across Europe collected by the European Food Safety Authority.

These numbers recorded how much energy consumers get daily from food that ultra-processed foods provide.

Most of your energy intake should come from fresh, healthy food.

Of the 23 countries, the British are second only to the Swedes in their taste for sausages, cakes, ready meals, biscuits, sweets and soft drinks.

Of the 23 countries, the British are second only to the Swedes in their taste for sausages, cakes, ready meals, biscuits, sweets and soft drinks.

Researchers compared eating habits in 23 countries, including the United Kingdom.

The results, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, show that in Italy, where many people eat a healthy Mediterranean diet, ready-made meals, snack foods and soft drinks only make up about 13 percent of each person’s daily calories.

But in the UK, most people get nearly 40 percent of their daily energy intake from manufactured goods – just below Sweden and worse than Germany and the Netherlands.

Most other countries seem to be reducing the intake of these foods, but in the UK it appears to be increasing.

Meanwhile, a separate study published this week in Obesity Reviews paints an even more disturbing picture of British teens’ diets.

The researchers, including experts from Imperial College London, compared data from the United States, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. The United Kingdom was the worst off, with ultra-processed foods making up nearly 70 percent of adolescents’ daily dietary intake, compared to 18 percent in Colombia.

In Italy, where many people eat a healthy Mediterranean diet, ready meals, snacks and soft drinks make up only about 13 percent of each person's daily calories.

In Italy, where many people eat a healthy Mediterranean diet, ready meals, snacks and soft drinks make up only about 13 percent of each person’s daily calories.

In the UK, most people get roughly 40 per cent of their daily energy intake from manufactured goods

In the UK, most people get roughly 40 per cent of their daily energy intake from manufactured goods

Poor diet and lifestyle have led to an obesity epidemic in the UK. The 2019 England Health Survey showed that 28 per cent of adults are obese and 36 per cent are overweight.

Meanwhile, the incidence of type 2 diabetes in the UK has doubled in the past 15 years to include nearly five million people.

Much of the blame for Britain’s expanding waistline lies with our taste for fast food. But in recent years, there has been a growing concern about the routine consumption of ultra-processed foods.

Many processed foods are relatively healthy and form part of a balanced diet. Breakfast cereals, cheese, and baked beans are typical examples.

However, mass-produced slices of bread, for example, are classified as ultra-processed due to ingredients added to give them a longer shelf life.



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