Don’t let big bars super-size you!

Nutrition team

Imagine the situation: you’ve had a tough day at the office. You’re driving home from work thinking about that deadline you have to meet and how you will ever survive the week. You pull into the garage for petrol and while queuing at the counter, you’re faced with row upon row of brightly coloured chocolate bars and packets of sweets.

You’ve been pushed for time all day and haven’t managed to fit in a proper meal. Realising you’re starving, you reach for a bar of chocolate. But, hang on – the king size version is only a few pence more – isn’t it great to get better value these days. Dinner won’t be ready for ages.

And if a Mars a day helps you work, rest a play, won’t a supersize bar keep you going for even longer? Before you know it, you have a king size chocolate bar to keep you company on the tedious journey home.

With the selection and variety of bars and snacks on the shelves today it’s hard not to notice the Big One, Chunky, Pocket Pack or King-Size bars. When you feel low on energy and need a pick me up, one of these snacks seems a perfect solution.

But do you know what you’re getting? Is super-sizing really giving you better value for money or is it just helping you do more damage to your diet, for less?!?

Recent research confirms that large potion sizes are having detrimental effects on the nations’ health. With obesity rates, diabetes and cardiovascular disease escalating at alarming rates, it’s hard to ignore the fact that something has to change, and soon.

If you take in even an extra 10 calories a day, and don’t use this energy, you will have gained an extra pound in a year! If this is the difference a measly 10 calories makes, it’s easy then to see why rates of obesity have doubled in the last decade. The rates of childhood obesity are even predicted to overtake those of their parents.

So how many extra calories do those supersized bars boast? And what damage will it really do?

Well, a Mars Big One packs in an extra 91 calories and 3.5g of fat in that 20g of extra chocolate. That’s a whopping 384 calories and 15g of fat (6 Totals) in a king size Mars compared to the standard bar that provides 293 calories and 11g fat (4 Totals). For a woman trying to lose weight, that one chocolate bar would provide over a quarter of her daily calorie requirements.

The Snickers Big One certainly lives up to its name providing 510 calories and 26g fat (7½ Totals). That’s 200 calories and 10g of fat more than the regular bar. It’s also over a quarter of the daily calorie requirements for a man trying to lose weight.

You might also be enticed by a Twix King Size - and vow to eat only half of it! The chances are it will all be gone in 10 minutes, leaving you with 420 calories and 22g of fat (6 Totals) to digest (that’s 134 calories and 5.5g of fat more than a regular bar).

Prepared to be shocked, however, to learn that a Chunky Milky Bar has over 4 times the fat and calorie content of a regular Milky Bar! That’s 270 calories and almost 16g of fat (5 Totals) compared to 65 calories and almost 4g of fat (1 Total).

So what was a relatively low calorie snack that would fit easily into any healthy eating plan now puts a considerable dent in the diet!

Health promotion experts are calling out for a total ban on super-sizing because of the need to get the nations eating habits under control. They are pushing for a deal to be made between the government and the food industry to reduce portion sizes.

The belief is that it would make a significant impact if there were no ‘two for one’, ‘50% extra free’ or ‘king size’ products on the market to encourage over-eating.

Most people were brought up with the idea that if you don’t finish what’s on your plate you won’t get your afters – true? It’s a culturally inherited idea that more is better.

However, this should not be the case and attitudes have to change. Studies have shown that people will eat larger portions if they are available but do not feel hungry when given smaller portions.

So do you really need to go large? Would a regular bar not be just as satisfying as a king size bar? Say a super-sized NO to super-sized bars!

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