It’s National Burger Day in the UK and your Big Mac may well be about to become a Little Mac as the UK’s food czar tells McDonald’s to shrink its favourites in a bid to stop our children getting fat!
Health officials have got their teeth into our most popular fast food saying they are just too big and takeaways, ready meals and even pre-packed sandwiches are set to suffer enforced shrink-flation.
The government wants food producers and retailers to start proving it’s size that matters as early as next year and it could lead to everything getting, well, smaller.
Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “If we really want to make a difference to obesity, we need to target a wider range of foods. It will be what manufacturers produce, what retailers sell and also what we buy on the go from big takeaway places like McDonald’s and Domino’s.”
She said: “It’s probably going to be about cutting the number of calories per 100g of product, which you can do through changing the ingredients — but also possibly through changing product sizes.”
The £5 million Obesity Research Policy Unit at University College London is tasked with setting up guidelines for the programme.
Recent statistics claim that one in three children are overweight by the time they leave primary school.
National Burger Day in the UK has been set up to extol the virtues of the good old patty of meat – because it’s a real treat!
The consumerwatchfoundation.com has taken a quick trip round Europe to see just how out-sized burgers are and has come up with these examples:
Well, Mrs Tedstone, you’ll be off the scales if you try to make Burger King – home of the Whopper – cut down on the size of its Fish King – it’s already a tiddler!
Consumerwatchfoundation.com chief researcher Andrea Martin-Banks went for a bite at Birmingham Airport.
She said: “A bite to eat – that’s exactly what I got! It was more or less gone in a bite…
“And it looked like three small fish fingers on a small sesame bun with a bit of salad and a squirt of sauce … I was shocked, because it had cost me £6.99p.”
Then we tried a burger at Foster’s Hollywood in Huelva, a hidden gem of a city on the border of Portugal and Spain … guess what? Foster’s Hollywood is a fast food joint very popular all over Spain but it really wasn’t any star as far as size is concerned – but the meat was good and the sauces were scrumptious!
However, in a country with big ideas to get its economy back on its feet after ten years of a depressed housing market, no self-respecting Spaniard is going to go to work on a tiny three inch bun.
Andrea said: “I was very disappointed, I thought of changing my name to Juanita because it was gone in one bite!”
Finally, we made a 500 km trip to McDonald’s in the Blackpool of Costa Blanca, Punta Prima where we settled in a for a quarter pounder of cheese in the busy car park of the Punta Marina shopping complex with the comforting roar of the notorious N332 coast road in the background.
And guess what – the quarter pounder packed about as much punch as a pate at posh finger-food party!
This all said Mrs Tedstone, a recent survey by Men’s Health magazine and Nancy Rodriguez, Ph.D., R.D., professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut, decided that burgers can actually be part of a good old-fashioned balanced diet.
They studied the nutritional value of 12 different fast food chain hamburgers, looking for the burgers that offered the most protein and fibre and they found that the Burger King has the fewest calories and lowest amount of sodium.
They also said that Hardee’s – which is all over the Southern States of America – which serves an all-natural grass-fed burger had the most calories and carbs and was fairly high in sodium.
So, Mrs Tedstone, as Britain’s big beefy burgers turn into sorry little sliders anyway, surely there is something else you can look at to turn our nation into a healthy and happy playground for our children?
Tell us what you think – should our burgers get smaller to keep our children healthy? Drop us a line below and tell us your views!