Waistline killer countries

2012-10-01 15:51
Holidays are infamous for their ability to make even the most health conscious traveller gain a kilo or two. It's nothing strange, in fact it probably goes with the territory of rest, relaxation and taking joy in everyday miracles. 

However, some destinations are obviously a little more generous with their portions and decadent ingredients than others. 

Earlier this year, UK travel company, Fly Thomas Cook released the results of a survey aimed at uncovering the countries that are worst for your waistline. The survey was completed by 350 Britons who cited eating out more, cooking less, consuming more alcohol and less exercise as the most prominent reasons for weight gain while on a break. Nearly half of those surveyed said they gained weight during their holiday, and just over a fifth claimed to have lost weight.

Men's waistlines were found to fluctuate the most. Of those travellers who put on weight, male respondents gained 2.53kg on average, compared to 0.65kg for women. And of those who slimmed down during their holiday, men lost 3.27kg on average, compared with 1.1kg for women.

"In the countries where you gain the most weight the key factor is that the food is of high quality. This then encourages you to try new food, as you are more confident that it will taste great, and you will eat out more and cook less," Fly Thomas cook representative, Bona Boraliu told SMH.

So, if you're heading on a well-deserved end-of-the year overseas trip, you may want to check if your destination has made it into the fattening top 10. 

1. Cyprus

Average weight gain: 1,5 kg 

Dish to try: Pork Afelia - a stew consisting of pork meat fried in olive oil and then added to a delectable saucy mixture of wine and passata. Serve with Orzo or rice. 

Offering a delectable blend of Greek, Italian, Turkish and middle eastern cuisine, it's no surprise that Cyprus finds itself at the top of the list.

2. Turkey 

Average weight gain: 1.38kg

Dish to try: Kofta - meatballs (usually beef or lamb) which are prepared with a mixture of ground meat, rice, leeks and some other ingredients.

Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement ofCentral Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. Cheese, butter, lamb, olive oil and breads are the biggest culprits when it come to tourists gaining weight, but don't feel too bad, as fresh produce such as tomatoes, olives and fruit are included in meals more often than not. 

3. Portugal

Average weight gain: 1.3kg

Dish to try: Feijoada - considered by many to be Portugal's national dish, this rich stew consists of beef/pork and kidney beans. It includes other vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, and cabbage.

The stew is best prepared over low heat in a thick clay pot. While the simple combination of a soft, warm and floury Portuguese loaf smothered in butter is more than enough to get most mouths watering, this country has many more irresistible tricks up their culinary sleeves. Portuguese cuisine is characterised by rich, filling and full-flavoured dishes and is closely related to Mediterranean cuisine. The influence of Portugal's former colonial possessions is also notable, especially in the wide variety of spices used, such as piri piri and black pepper, as well as cinnamon, vanilla and saffron.

4. United States

Average weight gain: 1.08kg

Dish to try: An American great - the greasy diner burger... or perhaps a stack of pancakes for breakfast. 

Despite being the fast food capital of the world, the US takes a very modest fourth place in the weight gaining ranks. Perhaps the fact that pizza, burgers and big breakfasts are available everywhere in the world makes travellers less likely to indulge just for the sake of exploring. 

5. Greece

Average weight gain: 0.92kg

Dish to try: Kefalonian Kreatopita - Meat pie using veal, lamb, goat or pork meat (or a combination thereof) with rice and a light tomato sauce wrapped in pastry kneaded with white wine. Popular dish on the island of Kefalonia.

Greece offers visitors the quintessential Mediterranean cuisine. Similar to Cyprus and Turkey, you will find loads of olive oil, fresh produce such as tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini, yoghurt, cheese and of course an assortment of meats in Greek kitchens. Nuts, honey and phylo pastry are popular ingredients when it comes to desserts. 

6. Netherlands 

Average weight gain: 0.83kg

Dish to try: Hutspot - a traditional dish consisting of mainly mashed potatoes, onion and carrots. Meat is an optional addition

Cheese, pastries and syrupy desserts are what make Dutch cuisine exceptionally tempting to the food-loving traveller. French and German influences are quite prevalent, especially with sausages and wine. 

7. France

Average weight gain: 0.51kg

Dish to try: Cheese fondue - need we say any more?

While they boast some of the most spectacular dishes in the culinary world, French people never seem to get fat. It's true. However, tourists aren't always so lucky. While sampling the variety of classy dishes may cost a pretty penny, indulging in the simple delight of bread, cheese, cold meat and wine is probably what packs on most of the pounds. 

8. Australia

Average weight gain: 0.5kg

Dish to try: If you're really adventurous you could try some ‘bush tucker' that would traditionally include delicacies such as kangaroo or crocodile. Otherwise, just tuck in to a juicy barbecued steak. 

With its ever increasingly diverse population, it's difficult to pinpoint what exactly Australia's traditional dishes are. Like us, Australians are fond of cooking outdoors and often get the fire going for a good barbecue. Their wines are also world-renowned. Fortunately, Australia is also quite an activity hub, so any centimeters gained can easily be dropped again with an outdoor adventure. 

9. Italy

Average weight gain: 0.44kg

Dish to try: Real pizza and pasta

While pizza and pasta often get a bad rap for their wealth of carbs and oft inclusion of decadent cheese, Italy almost didn't make it onto this list! 

10. Belgium

Average weight gain: 0.33kg

Dish to try: Waffles - if you're in Belgium and don't have a waffle, you're evidently doing it all wrong. 

It has been said that Belgium serves food of French quality in German quantities. They're also famous for their top quality chocolates and decadent pastries, which means that if you're not really one with a sweet tooth, you probably won't want to smash your scale once you return home.

Contrary to the above, about 20 percent of those questioned reported losing weight while visiting Canada, Germany or Ireland. Cost of food (especially in Canada) and the prevalence of activities that get the blood pumping and muscles working, are cited as the reasons for this phenomena in these specific countries. 

Read more on:    travel international


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