Tack­ling obe­sity

Rad­i­cal pro­pos­als on ta­ble to tackle na­tion’s obe­sity prob­lem

East Kilbride News - - FRONT PAGE - Mark Pirie

Some food for thought. When you are out and about in East Kil­bride and Avon­dale, are you eat­ing too much at restau­rants, pubs and fast food shops?

That is the con­cern of the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment.

Aileen Camp­bell, health min­is­ter at Holy­rood and Cly­des­dale MSP, has laid out pro­pos­als to leg­is­late in or­der to fight the flab. Th­ese in­clude ad­dress­ing the size and calo­rie count of food por­tions in “out-of-home” set­tings such as restau­rants, take­aways, pubs and bars, two-for-one junk food pro­mo­tional of­fers and ad­ver­tis­ing.

The bid to im­prove peo­ple’s health and trim waist­lines has been met with a raised eye­brow by some, while oth­ers like celebrity chef Jamie Oliver la­belled the plan as an “ex­am­ple” to the rest of the world.

Hun­gry to find out what folk make of all this, your cor­re­spon­dent headed into East Kil­bride to test the tem­per­a­ture with kitchen staff deal­ing with the busy lunchtime trade.

At Vic­tors chippy in the town cen­tre,

It should be up to the peo­ple whether they get a small or large por­tion... Liz Pater­son

man­ager Liz Pater­son took a break from pour­ing salt and vine­gar over fish sup­pers to tell the News she has con­cerns about leg­is­la­tion which would re­duce por­tion sizes.

“We used to do a sin­gle sausage sup­per and every­body moaned,” she said. “So then we changed it to two. I’m not sure how much it would af­fect us. We just don’t know yet.

“It’s a bit frus­trat­ing if the gov­ern­ment were to come out and do some­thing. It would take it out of our hands.”

Liz called for the de­ci­sion to be left in the hands of the folk that mat­ter – her cus­tomers.

She said: “It should be up to the peo­ple whether they get a small or a large por­tion rather than telling peo­ple what they should and shouldn’t be able to eat.

“We prob­a­bly don’t give out too big a por­tion any­way. But it’s when peo­ple don’t think they’re get­ting value for money it be­comes a prob­lem for us.”

Just across the street, pun­ters at The Ex­change weren’t think­ing about pil­ing on the pounds as they tucked into their pub grub.

Man­ager Ber­nadette Lang doesn’t have con­cerns that they will be forced to cut back but reck­ons not ev­ery eaterie or take­away will be able to say the same.

“Our por­tion sizes don’t come prepacked,” she re­vealed. “Ev­ery­thing is made fresh.

“We also have a pen­sion­ers’ menu and that is a smaller size. We feel like we watch our por­tions well just now.”

She con­tin­ued: “I wouldn’t say our por­tion was overly large but it fills the plate size we use.

“At the end of the day you have to watch it to make sure the kitchen is mak­ing money. But as a busi­ness it’s not some­thing we are con­cerned about.

“Fast-food places may have a prob­lem be­cause it de­pends who serves you how many scoops of chips you get.”

In the Vil­lage, pun­ters were flock­ing to pop­u­lar Scots-themed restau­rant Auld Raes. Chef and owner Dar­ren Thom­son can un­der­stand the an­gle the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment are com­ing from.

How­ever, he thinks some of the lines be­ing pur­sued in their diet and obe­sity strat­egy are laugh­able.

“I can see why they are do­ing it to try and take the strain off the NHS,” he said.

“Some of the stuff the gov­ern­ment is say­ing is a bit tongue in cheek. Who knows where it will go from here?”

Dar­ren doesn’t feel his bistro has any is­sue with por­tion sizes and is more con­cerned with full bel­lies than leg­is­la­tion.

“I think our por­tion sizes are de­cent just now and at the end of the day peo­ple aren’t go­ing to come back if they com­plain,” he said.

“I’m quite par­tic­u­lar but if we need to cut back on one or two things then fair enough.

“It might en­cour­age peo­ple to go and have a dessert or some­thing else.”

Whether you’re a restau­rant boss, take­away owner or food lover – there will be plenty to chew on over the com­ing months once th­ese pro­pos­als reach the de­bat­ing cham­bers.

Dou­ble sausage Vic­tors boss Liz Pater­son

How much is too much? Laura Dou­glas, left, and Ber­nadette Lang serve up full plates at The Ex­change

Bit­ing back Auld Raes’ Dar­ren Thom­son

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