The deep-fried Mars bar vs porridge: Two Scottish favourites go head to head

It may seem a no-brainer, but scientists are to test the effects of the fabled snack on blood vessels

The health effects of that fabled Scottish snack, the deep-fried Mars bar, are to be tested in a clinical trial which will form the first scientific study into the impact that the snack, reputedly most popular in Glasgow, has on the human body.

Researchers at Glasgow's Western Infirmary hospital will compare the effects with those that occur after eating a more conservative, and healthier, Scottish dish – a bowl of porridge.

"The deep-fried chocolate bar... has been cited as a symbol of all that is wrong with the high-fat, high-sugar Scottish diet," says Professor Matthew Walters, the lead consultant for stroke in West Glasgow, who is director of the Scottish Stroke Research Network. "Despite the snack's reputation, no medical research has been performed to examine the effects of consuming a deep-fried chocolate bar on the human body, and that is what we are going to do," he explained.

"In this student project we will look at what happens to blood vessels in the brain and compare the effects of fried chocolate with another traditional Scottish delicacy, porridge."

Porridge has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but its effect on brain blood flow has yet to be investigated. In the study, 24 healthy volunteers aged under 40 will eat either a regular deep-fried Mars or a bowl of porridge, several days apart, and ultrasound scans will assess the impact on blood vessels, including the largest artery in the brain.

Regular, moderate consumption of chocolate has been associated with reduced stroke risk, and the same team has demonstrated a change in brain blood vessels after eating a 100g bar of chocolate. Antioxidants present in the chocolate may be responsible for this.

William Dunn, the student who will perform the scans, said: "We hope that the results will shed more light on the links between diet and stroke, and allow health-conscious Glaswegians to make a more informed choice in the chip shop."

Folklore has it that the deep-fried Mars was first eaten in 1995 in Aberdeen. By 2004, a survey of 627 fish-and-chip shops in Scotland, published in The Lancet, showed that 22 per cent sold deep-fried Mars bars. Average weekly sales were 23 bars, but 10 shops reported selling up to 200, with a typical price of 60p. Other foods that the fish-and-chip shops had been asked to fry include Snickers bars, bananas, and Creme Eggs.

Three shops each said they had been asked for deep-fried ice cream and deep-fried Maltesers.

"Encouragingly," said the researchers, "we did also find some evidence of the penetrance of the Mediterranean diet into Scotland, albeit in the form of deep-fried pizza."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before