In today’s fast-paced world, where time seems to slip through our fingers like sand, takeaway services have become our saving grace.
The convenience of having hot and delicious food delivered right to our doorsteps is undeniably tempting. Yet, as we indulge in the comfort of our own homes, are we inadvertently sacrificing more than just our time? Could these takeaway services silently contribute to the ever-growing numbers on our scales?
It’s a question that nags at the back of our minds as we find ourselves too busy to go outside or too bored to cook.
Are we doing the right thing by relying so heavily on takeaway services, or are we paying a hidden price for this convenience?
Excessive consumption of takeaway food has been linked to weight gain, although the exact relationship is not straightforward. A study conducted in 2022 found that individuals who ate takeaway-style food within 24 hours before the survey had a higher body mass index (BMI).
However, the researchers emphasized that it was unclear whether frequent consumption of takeaways led to weight gain or if overweight individuals were more likely to consume takeaways.
Another factor to consider is the proximity of takeaway outlets, as living near or passing by such establishments can influence body weight, particularly during commutes or near workplaces.
The reason behind the potential weight gain from takeaways lies in their high fat and salt content. These inexpensive ingredients enhance the taste, making people more inclined to reorder.
Nutritionist Kim Pearson, the founder of Intelligent Weight Loss, highlights that food companies invest significant efforts in identifying ingredient combinations that trigger overconsumption. Highly processed foods like pizzas containing refined carbohydrates, fats, and salt are easier to overeat than vegetable-based meals.
Takeaway pizzas are often calorie-dense, and individuals may underestimate their intake. A single slice can range from 250 to 350 calories, and consuming multiple slices can quickly add up. Junk food, combined with salt, fat, and sugar, can also be addictive and difficult to resist.
On the other hand, monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer commonly used in Asian cuisine, does not seem to have inherent negative effects when consumed in normal cooking doses, contrary to some studies’ claims.
The nutritional quality of takeaway ingredients is another concern. Most takeaways utilize highly processed and additive-laden components, nutrient-poor carbohydrates, and deep-fried foods cooked in low-quality oils.
It is unlikely that takeaway providers use free-range or organic sources for meat options, instead relying on factory-farmed meat of lesser quality.
It is advisable to opt for beef or lamb to make healthier choices when indulging in takeaways, as they are less likely to be intensively reared compared to chicken.
Processed meats like chicken nuggets in pepperoni should be avoided, while unprocessed meat such as mutton in curries and beef in stir-fries is preferable. Deep-fried foods and items drenched in high-sugar sauces should also be minimized.
In Chinese cuisine, steamed dumplings, grilled fish, and soup are better choices, while in Indian cooking, naan bread should be limited, and nutrient-dense side dishes can be emphasized. Local non-branded pizzerias often use fresher and less additive-laden ingredients.
Exploring other cuisines can provide healthier alternatives. Vietnamese options like green papaya salad, summer rolls, braised or grilled sea bass, and side dishes of greens are recommended. Lebanese dishes like tabouleh salad, aubergine, tomato preparations, lamb shish kebab, and lentil soup are also favorable choices.
Reducing takeaway consumption is beneficial. Adjusting commuting routes to avoid passing tempting eateries, hiding takeaway menus, and deleting food delivery apps from phones can help make healthier choices. Opting for the healthier option when convenience is a priority is also advised.