Big fat exaggeration
David Penberthy’s health sandwich is laden with a generous helping of cynicism and a pinch of exaggeration.
By calling for a reduction of the harmful fats in our food, Bob Carr is not seeking to ban fast food outlets. Instead, he is highlighting how easy it would be to make our takeaway foods substantially healthier.
Australians love to eat out - nearly one in three of us do so almost every day, which adds up to a massive 3.8 billion meals eaten out every year.
But how much do we really know about the food we buy at the local Thai restaurant or fish and chip shop? We certainly don’t know what kind of oil is being used.
Some, but by no means all oils are high in trans and saturated fats, which are strongly linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Palm oil for example is commonly used and contains 55% saturated fat. Canola oil on the other hand contains just 8% saturated fat. I know which oil I’d rather have my fish fried in and so does Bob Carr.
Councils have the ability to improve the heart health of their communities by encouraging local food outlets to use healthier oils. Urging local governments to take that step is not about targeting a certain class of people, but instead about focusing on where the greatest number of meals are sold in order to have the biggest impact.
The Heart Foundation’s decision to extend Tick into meals eaten out of home was a world first. It has been the incentive for removing almost 20% of the trans fats in takeaways - a massive 460 tonnes - in a little over 12 months.
But this is just the beginning of what can be achieved so the Heart Foundation will continue to push for healthier foods. And we will applaud Bob Carr for trying to help.
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