Fast food’s slow damage

BUNDABERG residents have got the message on takeaway food’s effects on both their health and their hip pockets, new research has found.

A survey commissioned by Suncorp Bank has found just 7 per cent of the region’s residents admit to spending up to $100 a week on takeaway food and eating out.

This contrasts with Brisbane, Cairns and Mackay, where 19% of residents will spend up to the $100 mark.

However, the research also revealed the vast majority of Bundaberg district residents (91%) own up to spending up to $50 a week on takeaways and eating out.

Bundaberg dietician Sue Norrish said, apart from being very expensive, takeaway foods were generally over-refined and over-fatted, and contained a high proportion of damaging transfats.

“They use up all the antioxidants in the body,” Ms Norrish said.

“Then you have to go for even more salads and fresh foods to make up for what the transfats have done to your body.”

Ms Norrish said that transfats were responsible for a spiral of damage as they led to even more unhealthy food.

“Flavour comes from fat in many cases,” she said.

“The manufacturers put yeast in the food and that absorbs flavour, so they have to add sugar to stimulate kids’ tastebuds.”

She said the intense flavours in takeaway foods destroyed the tastebuds so people could not taste the milder flavours contained in healthy fruit and vegetables.

Clients often came to her for advice on how to get their children off eating fast foods, as well as for mineral supplements to replace the minerals they were not getting from their diets.

But cutting out takeaways can benefit the hip pocket as well, according to Suncorp Bank regional general manager Greg Leahy.

He said people feeling the pinch after Christmas and the new year may want to start concentrating on better money management habits.

“Cutting down on takeaway food and eating out is a great way to make your waistline shrink and your bank balance grow,” he said.

“Everyone enjoys the luxury of dining at a nice restaurant or ordering takeaway after a busy day, but the pleasure of eating a Thai curry or gourmet pizza is short-lived.”

Mr Leahy said putting the $100 a week saved by cutting out takeaway food into a term deposit account could add up to a $5500 overseas holiday after 12 months.

“Cutting down on takeaway is an easy way to make a significant difference to the speed at which your savings grow,” he said.



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