Nutritional challenges and health implications of takeaway and fast food

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Jaworowska, A ; Blackham, TM ; Davies, IG ; Stevenson, L

Consumption of takeaway and fast food continues to increase in Western societies and is particularly widespread among adolescents. Since food is known to play an important role in both the development and prevention of many diseases, there is no doubt that the observed changes in dietary patterns affect the quality of the diet as well as public health. The present review examines the nutritional characteristics of takeaway and fast food items, including their energy density, total fat, and saturated and trans fatty acid content. It also reports on the association between the consumption of such foods and health outcomes. While the available evidence suggests the nutrient profiles of takeaway and fast foods may contribute to a variety of negative health outcomes, findings on the specific effects of their consumption on health are currently limited and, in recent years, changes have been taking place that are designed to improve them. Therefore, more studies should be directed at gaining a firmer understanding of the nutrition and health consequences of eating takeaway and fast foods and determining the best strategy to reduce any negative impact their consumption may have on public health.
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