Is food tsar Henry Dimbleby's Leon really that healthy?

Is food tsar Henry Dimbleby's Leon really that healthy?
Is food tsar Henry Dimbleby's Leon really that healthy?

Items at 'healthy' fast food chain Leon are laden with more calories, salt, fat and sugar than their equivalents at the likes of McDonald's and KFC — despite its founder leading the charge for a 'snack tax'. 

Henry Dimbleby, an Oxford University educated businessman and Boris Johnson's food tsar, today called for the tax to be slapped on junk food in a controversial report commissioned by No10. 

Mr Dimbleby said the move was essential to get a grip on the country's growing obesity epidemic — but opponents branded it another example of 'rich people' trying to tell the rest of society what to do.  

The hypocrisy of his proposals are highlighted by the fact several of the items on sale at Leon, the chain he co-founded in 2004, are worse for people's waistlines than those at traditional fast food outlets.

The London chain's Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets are also more calorific, saltier and fattier than McDonald's' McNuggets. 

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Leon's version contain 475 calories, 21g of fat and 1g of salt compared to the 260 calories, 13g of fat and half a gram of salt found in a standard box of six McNuggets.

Leon's Moroccan Meatballs Hot Box contains about 800 calories — almost half a woman's entire recommended daily amount — as well as 43g of fat, 11g of sugar and 3.2g of salt.   

For comparison, a Big Mac contains 500 calories, 25g of fat, 9g of sugar and 2.3g of salt — despite Leon marketing itself as a healthy alternative to the likes of McDonald's.   

While it is true that Leon's meals use fresher ingredients and are less processed than most fast food restaurants,  whether a person gains or loses body fat depends on how much calories they consume. 

Mr Dimbleby's snack tax proposal was included in a new National Food Strategy, published today. He warned that unhealthy food was 'putting an intolerable strain on the NHS', with more than six in 10 British adults classified as obese and over half of over-45s living with diet-related health conditions.

Leon was acquired by the owners of supermarket giant Asda for up to £100million, with Mr Dimbleby no longer involved in the company.

Leon's Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets are more calorific, saltier and fattier than McNuggets

Leon's version contain 475 calories, 21g of fat and 1g of salt compared to 260 calories, 13g of fat and half a gram of salt in McDonald's nuggets

Leon's Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets are more calorific, saltier and fattier than McNuggets. Leon's version contain 475 calories, 21g of fat and 1g of salt compared to 260 calories, 13g of fat and half a gram of salt in McDonald's nuggets

Leon's fries contain just over 300 calories and 15g of fat

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Compared to 290 calories and the same amount of fat in KFC's fries

The London chain's Crispy Baked Potato Fries are only just lighter in calories and fat than McDonald's famed fries but still worse than the chips at KFC. Leon's fries contain just over 300 calories and 15g of fat compared to 290 calories and the same amount of fat in KFC's fries

Leon's Chicken Kale Caesar salad - which could easily be mistaken for a low-calorie meal - contains 600 calories and 45g of fat

A Big Mac has 500 calories and 25g of fat

Leon's Chicken Kale Caesar salad - which could easily be mistaken for a low-calorie meal - contains 600 calories and 45g of fat compared to a Big Mac, which has 500 calories and 25g of fat

Leon claims it serves food that 'both tastes good and does you good', yet its LOVe vegan burger is fattier, saltier and more calorific than a fast food favourite Zinger Burger from KFC. 

The vegan burger, made from a beetroot soya patty and topped with vegan cheese, contains 550 calories, 30g of fat, and 3.4g of salt compared to 450 calories, 19g of fat and 2g of salt in a Zinger.

Leon's Chicken Kale Caesar salad - which could easily be mistaken for a low-calorie meal - is even unhealthier, containing 600 calories and 45g of fat.

The London chain's Crispy Baked Potato Fries are only just lighter in calories and fat than McDonald's famed fries but still worse than the chips at KFC. 

Leon's fries contain just over 300 calories and 15g of fat compared to 290 calories and the same amount of fat in KFC's fries and 340 calories and 17g of fat in McDonald's' chips.

A Fish Finger Wrap at Leon weighs in at 715 calories and 33g of fat which is almost twice as many compared to a Tuna sub from Subway which is 369 calories and 13g of fat.

Leon Better Brownie clocks in a 415 calories and 30 grams of fat which makes a Mars Bar is only 228 calories and 8.5g of fat pale in comparison. 

It is estimated that Mr Dimbleby's tax could add £3.4billion a year to families' shopping bills. With 56million people currently living in England, it means £60-per-year will be added to each person's food bill on average - £240 for a family of four.

The businessman's review said the extra revenue raised should be used to pay for GPs to prescribe fruit, vegetables and cookery classes on the NHS to help prevent obesity and

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