Counting the calories? Then get the Sunderland Echo’s guide on how fattening our fast food really is

Reporter Hannah Watson tucks in to a McDonald's Big Mac.
Reporter Hannah Watson tucks in to a McDonald's Big Mac.
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FAST food fans on Wearside can now see how many calories are being served up in their favourite burger.

McDonald’s – which has restaurants across Sunderland, including High Street, North Moor Road, Ryhope Road and Wessington Way – will become the first major chain to display calorie information on its menu boards.

A Big Mac contains 490 calories while a McChicken sandwich has 385 – the recommended calorie intake a day is about 2,500 for men and 1,900 for women.

Samantha Todd, specialist weight management dietician at Sunderland Royal Hospital, said calorie content is not the full story in fast foods.

She said: “Fast food companies in general need to make people more aware of calories on packaging, but people also need to be looking at fat, sugar and salt content.

“A lot of people are aware that fast food is high in calories, but that doesn’t deter them from eating it.”

She also stressed the importance of other factors in a balanced lifestyle.

“People need to look at diet and lifestyle as a whole and not just focus on one food.”

Takeaway chains such as Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut are also among the 37 firms that have signed up to the voluntary agreement to make their calorie information available.

They are expected to put their information on their menus this week while companies including Subway, Nando’s and Pizza Express have refused to give up their calorie counts.

A spokesman from the Department of Health said: “Research shows that calorie labelling makes people more aware of the energy content of their foods and does influence people’s choices.

“So with McDonald’s serving three million meals every day in 1,200 restaurants, this will have a huge effect on the high street and will help people to make healthier choices when they are eating out.”

Jill McDonald, chief executive and president of McDonald’s UK, said: “In March we announced our intention to extend the communication of nutritional information to our customers to include displaying calories on our menu boards across the UK.”

“This move, as part of the Public Health Responsibility Deal, supports the principles we believe are important – giving our customers clear information to help them make decisions that are right for them and provide a choice on our menu.”

SEE TODAY’S SUNDERLAND ECHO FOR ALL THE CALORIE FACTS

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