In the modern era of busy time schedules, meal times have become a rushed affair, with more and more people relying on quick, convenient options which are more than readily supplied by a variety of fast food chains.
These establishments mostly use frying or deep-frying as a cooking method; Why? Frying allows for food to be prepared quickly and easily. Fat is also one of the ingredients that make the food taste good, making it seem a lot more attractive than the stereotyped bowl of bland veggies. Unfortunately, in so doing, it also makes the foods much higher in fat content.
So why is that a problem? Fat is a very concentrated source of energy; in other words, you only need to eat a little to give you a lot of energy (remember one teaspoon of fat supplies TWICE the amount that starch or sugar would give you). Because fried foods are so palatable, it becomes very easy to eat more food than your body needs, which makes weight gain a lot easier.
The other problem is that the fat found in these foods can be strongly linked with the onset of heart disease.
To give you a rough idea; with a restricted calorie diet (1200calorie diet), the most fat that can be allocated is about 46g which is about 9 teaspoons of fat.
1 teaspoon of fat = 1tsp of butter/oil/margarine = 5g of fat
The table below summarises the amounts of fat that is found in common snacks and fast foods. This shows us just how easy it is to exceed our daily fat requirements.
Complied by: Cecile Niebuhr, RD(SA)