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08th Sep 2022

Sausage rolls act like a ‘gateway drug’ to obesity

Jack Peat

Hyper-palatable snacks increase consumption of other ultra-processed foods

Sausage rolls have been likened to ‘gateway drugs’ for obesity in a new study.

The flaky pastry turns teenagers on to unhealthy eating – acting like a drug that is engineered to be as addictive as possible.

The study found eating more pies or sausage rolls increased consumption of other ultra-processed foods by 12 per cent.

Over 300 boys and girls aged 13 to 19 were surveyed as part of the study, with the teenagers asked to disclose their intake of 12 ultra-processed products during the eight weeks between February and April 2022.

The researchers found that ‘gateway foods’ such as store-bought pastries should be avoided because increased consumption of these foods appears to lead to increased consumption of other processed foods.

Commenting on the findings, Maria Balhara, a student at Broward College in Florida, said: “The good news is even small changes – such as reducing how often you eat a few gateway foods – may reduce overall consumption of unhealthy foods and have a big impact on your overall health.”

The sausage roll is a staple of British and Irish diets. The modern sausage roll is thought to have originated in 19th Century France and grew in popularity in London in the early 1800’s as a cheap street food.

Today, they’re known as a quintessential British snack.

Ultra-processed foods like bacon butties, burgers, pizzas and ready meals to biscuits, cakes and white bread make up half the average Briton’s diet.

Eating too much of it can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, cancer, diabetes, dementia and premature death.

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