'Deep and crisp and eaten': The Scottish deep-fried Mars bar

12/15/04

NB. Please note that if you are outside North America, the embargo for LANCET press material is 0001 hours UK Time Friday 17 December 2004.

A letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET details a survey of Scottish fish and chip shops to try and estimate the popularity of the deep-fried Mars bar.

The deep-fried Mars bar was first identified in Scotland nearly a decade ago, although epidemiological data about its existence remains scarce. David Morrison (Greater Glasgow NHS Board, UK) and Mark Petticrew (MRC Social & Public Health Sciences Unit) surveyed around 300 Scottish fish and chip shops: 22% sold deep-fried Mars bars; three-quarters of the shops had only been selling them for the past 3 years. Average sales were 23 bars per week, although 10 outlets sold between 50 and 200 bars a week. The average price per bar was 60 pence, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the younger generation were the main purchasers--three-quarters were sold to children and 15% to adolescents.

Dr Morrison comments: "The most frequent comment made to us about the snack was that deep-frying Mars bars spoils the fat or frying equipment. 15 shops reported health concerns. Other interesting foods that the fish and chip shops have been asked to fry include chocolate (21%) and sweets (16%) in general, Snickers (4%), Creme eggs (4%), and pizza (4%). Three shops each said they had been asked for deep-fried ice cream and deep-fried Maltesers. Deep-fried Toffee Crisps, bananas, pineapple rings, and Rolos had also been requested."

Dr Petticrew adds: "We conclude that Scotland's deep-fried Mars bar is not just an urban myth. Encouragingly, we did also find some evidence of the penetrance of the Mediterranean diet into Scotland, albeit in the form of deep-fried pizza."

Source: Eurekalert & others

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