The Food Standards Agency in Scotland (FSAS) said the research would inform action taken in the sector by it and the Scottish government after results were unveiled on March 31.
From January to July 2012, the study analysed the trans fat and saturated fatty acid (SFA) content of cooking fats and oils, takeaway food products and doner kebabs from Scotland’s most deprived areas. More than half of these are in Glasgow. More than 200 samples were looked at.
Doner kebabs proved a key offender, with a single portion containing 29.7g of SFAs on average. Current guideline daily amounts set a maximum daily intake of 20g for women and 30g for men.
Overall levels of SFAs for all foods sampled averaged 13.1g per single deep fried item and 16.9g in a full meal. Foods fried in oils of animal origin contained significantly more SFAs that those that were not.
By contrast, levels of trans fats, often artificially created and believed to contribute to heart disease, raised no concerns. Single food items contained an average of 1g per portion, while meals contained an average of 1.5g. The recommended daily trans fat intake for an average woman is 5g.
An FSAS spokeswoman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The FSA in Scotland and Scottish government are working in partnership to engage the food industry, including catering, with a view to reduce saturated fat in food products.”
It encouraged consumers to eat a balanced diet, low in saturated fat, and to consult the government’s healthy eating tool, the Eatwell plate, for further guidance on that.
‘Very high levels’
FSAS director Charles Milne said: “Whilst the results of this study are reassuring with respect to trans fats, it highlights the very high levels of saturated fats in many takeaway foods.
“The findings from this report will be used to inform out of home catering actions by FSAS and Scottish government.”
Consumers’ average intake of SFAs in Scotland exceed the Scottish government’s recommended intakes of no more than 11% of daily food energy, instead representing 12.8%.
The research, which was managed by Glasgow Scientific Services, examined 74 samples of fats and oils, 99 takeaway food products and 20 doner kebabs.