By JR on Sunday, December 11, 2011
The finding below is almost certainly a social class effect. Many middle class people "wouldn't be seen dead" in McDonalds whereas working class people tend to appreciate its good value. The fact that the McDonald's munchers were also fatter also suggests that it is the characteristics of working class people that are showing up here, not the effects of diet. That poorer people have worse health is one of the most replicated findings in epidemiology
Two takeaways a week are enough to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease, research shows. Young adults were more likely to have hidden health problems if they treated themselves to fast food on a twice-weekly basis, the study found.
Additionally, women appear to be more susceptible to the dangers. They had more warning signs, such as high blood sugar levels and increased insulin than men.
The results suggest many young professionals who are too busy to cook may be setting themselves up for serious health problems. Diabetes affects an estimated 2.5million Britons. Around 10 per cent of cases are due to type one, which is thought to be caused by a faulty immune system.
The remaining 90 per cent are type two, which is closely linked to unhealthy diet and lifestyle. The condition occurs when the body loses its ability to make use of glucose, a type of sugar that is released when we eat.
As levels rise, circulation suffers and blood vessels can be damaged. Left untreated, type two diabetes can raise the risk of heart attacks, blindness and amputation.
Researchers from the University of Tasmania and two other Australian science institutions studied the diet and lifestyles of 1,896 men and women aged 26 to 36. Almost 40 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women ate a takeaway twice a week or more.
The volunteers underwent a range of medical checks, including tests for glucose and insulin levels. High levels of both mean the body is heading for type two diabetes.
Researchers found women who had takeaways twice or more a week had significantly higher blood sugar levels than those who ate them once a week or less. They also had higher insulin and scored much higher on a test for signs of becoming resistant to the hormone – a warning sign of diabetes. Although men in the study also showed damage, the effects were much less severe.
Researchers said it was hard to tell if it was the fast food or excess weight caused by poor diet and lack of exercise that caused the problems.
They added: ‘It is unclear whether the differences [between one takeaway a week and two] are clinically significant. But they may represent an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes.’
The survey was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In 2008, a Which? study found a single Indian takeaway contained 23.2 grammes of saturated fat – more than a woman’s entire daily allowance.