A GOURMET meal may be as bad for you as a Big Mac, according to diabetes researchers who are alarmed at the rise in young men diagnosed with the disease.Corporate lunches and dinners at restaurants dishing up rich, fatty foods, coupled with sedentary working lives are being blamed for the trend. Dr Neale Cohen, of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, said many patients were unaware meals at upmarket restaurants were often as high in fat, salt and sugar as fast food.
''Eating out is really code for eating badly,'' Dr Cohen said. ''Whether it's a fine French restaurant or McDonald's, it's the type of food that causes the problem.'' He said doctors at the institute are seeing men as young as 40 affected by type 2 diabetes, which is often triggered by obesity and linked to poor diet. ''Many of my patients will eat out three or four times a week for work and we are seeing 40-year-old businessmen who are in real trouble. To have diabetes at that age and otherwise be perfectly well with very little family history, is a really worrying thing.''
Dr Cohen recommends his patients only eat out once a week but said the ''MasterChef effect'' was encouraging people to re-create the elaborate dishes at home.
Many countries around the world have developed their own food guidelines in various forms similar to the Healthy Food Pyramid, many of which are useful in making healthy choices when dining out.
• USDA: Inside the current US food pyramid
• CNPP: Original food pyramid
• BWH: Comparison of the US food guide pyramid and other food guides
• American Dietetic Association: Comparison of international food guides
• EUFIC: European dietary guidelines
• Asian: The Asian food pyramid
• Latin: The Latin American food pyramid
• Mediterranean: The Mediterranean food pyramid
• Native American: The Native American food pyramid
• Spanish: The USDA food pyramid in Spanish
• Arabic: The Arabic food pyramid
• Chinese: The Chinese food pyramid
• Cuban: The Cuban food pyramid
• Indian: The Indian food pyramid by region
• Mexican: The Mexican food pyramid
• Portuguese: The Portuguese food pyramid
• Russian: The Russian food pyramid
• Thai: The Thai food pyramid
• Japanese: The Japanese food guide spinning top
• Singapore: The Singapore food pyramid
• Canadian: The Canadian food guidelines
• USDA: Inside the pyramid-what is physical activity?
• Keep Kids Healthy: Kid's food guide pyramid
• Penn State: Preschooler's activity pyramid
• University of Missouri: Nutrition and cancer food guide pyramid
• Elderly Nursing: Elderly diet
• Dietitians.ca: Food guide for North American vegetarians
• VDH: Interactive food pyramid tracker for ages 7-10
• Teen’s Health: The food guide pyramid for teens