LUNCHBOX

Barry Tavner, designer, 24 A McDonalds Quarter Pounder with cheese, regular fries and medium cola
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The Independent Online
According to Juliette Kellow, state registered dietician and associate editor of Slimming magazine, this lunch piles on 865 calories, of which 44 per cent come from carbohydrate and 41 per cent come from fat (of which 20 per cent from saturates), and 15 per cent from protein.

"Most people won't be surprised to learn this lunch fails to follow most healthy eating guidelines - it's high in fat, saturates and salt, low in fibre and doesn't contain any fruits or vegetables [unless you count the slice of pickled gherkin]," says Juliette. "However, it's not all bad news. Fast foods such as burgers often provide a range of nutrients in addition to large intakes of fat and salt. And this lunch is no exception.

"The meal provides good amounts of a wide range of the B group vitamins, which have many important functions in the body. For example, the burger alone provides all the vitamin B12 needed by most men for good health and similarly the fries provide about two thirds of the vitamin B6 needed to keep healthy. The iron intake of this meal is also reasonably good.

"What this goes to show is that fast foods such as burgers and fries aren't automatically off the menu if you want to follow a healthy diet. It's more a question of balance. Choosing these types of foods as occasional treats rather than having them as a regular part of the diet is the key to a healthy balanced diet.

"If you really want to keep fat intakes down but still fancy fast food choose the smallest burger and portion of fries on offer. Also give burgers that contain extra cheese or two burgers in one bun a miss - they contain far more fat"

Glenda Cooper

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