In numbers: How bad for you is a deep-fried Mars bar?

It's been widely reported that a deep-fried Mars bar contains a whopping 1,200 calories – but is the controversial snack as bad as people make out?

Published 25th Apr 2016
Updated 26 th Apr 2016

Supposedly first invented in a small Stonehaven fish and chip shop in the early 1990s, the deep-fried Mars bar has since become a negative stereotype of the Scottish diet: battered, high in fat, and of little nutritional value.

Many claims have been made about the batter-coated chocolate bar – including the now-debunked theory that eating one could bring on a stroke in minutes.

One statistic that often rears its head claims that the deep-fried Mars bar contains a whopping 1,200 calories - nearly half the recommended daily intake for an adult male.

The figure is, according to a trio of Scottish nutriotionists, way off. Tess Capper, Heather Lickley and Natasha Alonzi reckon that the calorie breakdown is out by nearly 900 calories.

A standard Mars bar contains around 230 calories. A serving of battered fish, meanwhile, is 100 calories more than a baked portion of the same size, which suggests that adding batter doesn’t bring the total anywhere close to 1,200.

MyFitnessPal estimates that a deep fried Mars bar contains 600 calories – just half of the commonly quoted statistic.

It seems the false claim that the deep-fried Mars bar contains over 1,000 calories may have originated from a Daily Mail article from 2012, where the writer eats the controversial dessert with ice cream, whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce, stating that the contents of the entire plate add up to 1,200 calories.

It’s worth emphasising that it’s still an extremely unhealthy snack. Even Mars themselves have publicly distanced themselves from the practice of deep-frying their products because of the health risks involved.

Nutritional therapist Heather Lickley explains: “A deep-fried Mars bar is mostly empty calories that fills you up and produces a massive blood sugar spike.

These spikes contribute towards weight gain, type two diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.”

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Lickley estimates that the fat content of a deep-fried Mars bar could reach up to 26 per cent of an individual’s recommended daily intake and says that a Mars bar on its own contains around a third of the daily recommended intake of sugar.

Nutritionist Natasha Alonzi adds: “Mars bars on their own contain no nutritional value and they contain high levels of anti-nutrients: sugar, glucose syrup and heated vegetable fat. Further deep-frying in vegetable fat makes it even more unhealthy.”

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