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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

It's Official: Kebabs Are Bad For You

In the film Casablanca, the corrupt police captain Louis Renault tells Rick Blaine that he's shocked, shocked, to discover there's gambling going on at Rick's Café Américain. A moment later a croupier hands him his winnings.

Yesterday the BBC reported that British health officials are shocked, shocked, to discover kebabs are high in calories, fat, and salt. The favorite food of binge drinkers, harried commuters, and penny-pinching backpackers, this slime on a stick apparently has an average of just under 1000 calories, the entire daily requirement for salt, and well over daily levels of saturated fat. The kebabs were tested without the rich fatty sauce that's usually slathered on as a final step in preparation.

Officials in 76 councils tested the nutritional value of 494 kebabs. The worst offenders had 1,990 calories, more than twice the daily requirement of salt, and more than three times the daily requirement of fat. More than a third included ingredients not on the labels, including several with pork. Two of the kebabs that included pork were sold by shops that claimed to be halal, meaning that they supposedly followed Muslim dietary rules that forbid pork.

But the question remains--will this make the fattest country in Europe change its dietary habits? Probably not, considering that everyone already knows kebabs are bad for you. This is probably why they are mostly eaten by people who have just been on a bender.

On the positive side, discarded kebabs make great foraging for urban England's growing population of wild animals. When I lived in Elephant and Castle, the local fox, dubbed "smokey", lived well off of kebabs and other junk food he found in the dumpster and on the sidewalk.

After Captain Renault pockets his winnings, he blithely orders Rick's Cafe closed. He's under political pressure to do so. I wonder, after the officials at the Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services made their report and satisfied their bosses, did they light up a fag and pop down to the nearest pub for a pint?


Ana said...

im not very fond of meat in general, but the kebabs we have here are rather tasty (of course this differs from place to place...but there are a few renowned ones and we usually get them from there)
Now, ive never actually considered the calorie value they may have....but if they are the same or even similar to the kebabs you talked about, then im definitely gonna think twice before eating them next time...it will be a pity if that has to happen :(

Chris Overstreet said...

Like the Puritans, there seems to be a subset of the population that wants to outlaw everything enjoyable, because they themselves cannot resist the temptation to indulge.