EDINBURGH has emerged ahead of Glasgow in having the highest number of takeaways per person in Scotland, according to new research.
Slimming group Weight Watchers says Edinburgh is the third most “toxic city” in the UK where people are tempted by eateries offering high calorie foods.
Glasgow was placed sixth in the list, with it and Edinburgh the only Scottish cities appearing in the top 20.
In Edinburgh there is one takeaway for every 725 people, and in Glasgow the figure is one for every 923 people.
Manchester was named as the city where the temptation to gorge on takeaway snacks is the greatest, with one outlet for every 492 people.
Edinburgh councillor Gavin Corbett said the research supported his calls for a review into the number of fast food outlets in the city.
But the city’s Conservative group leader said it was “simplistic and unhelpful” to brand the city “toxic.”
The research looked at the number of cafes, tearooms, coffee shops, fast food takeaways, fish and chip shops, Indian takeaways, and take away food shops in UK cities.
The study also highlighted changes in diets, with a trend of fewer set meal times emerging.
Weight Watchers labelled the ready availability of snacks in shops “food porn” and say it has created the perfect storm for obesity to flourish.
Zoe Hellman, Head of Public Health at Weight Watchers says “Weight Watchers is helping members tackle their toxic environments head on as members are encouraged to take control of their spaces and make better eating decisions.
“This isn’t about demonising ‘bad food’, it’s about being more aware of the choices we make each and every day so that we can begin to make better, healthier choices for our future health.”
Commenting on the study, Dr Tony Goldstone, Senior Clinician Scientist at Imperial College London, said: “I work at a hospital, and cannot buy anything in the shop without being asked if I want to buy chocolate.
“It’s ridiculous. We need to change these factors.”
Edinburgh Green councillor Gavin Corbett has recently spoke out against a plan to open more McDonald’s fast food outlets in the city 24/7, warning it could have an impact on health.
Commenting on the new study, he said: “In general think there are far too many takeaways and it projects the wrong kind of image of Edinburgh.
“More and more people are coming to me and saying Edinburgh has lost the balance and there are far too many fast food outlets.
“The Weight Watchers study backs that up.”
He said the number of fast food outlets could be detrimental to tourism as well as health, and called for the council to carry out a review of eateries in the city.
He said: “No one comes all the way from Italy or Japan to see row after row of fast food shops.
“I would like to see a review of the number of fast food outlets and use all our powers to strike the right balance.”
Cameron Rose, Edinburgh’s Conservative group leader, said: “To demonise using words like toxic and porn is simplistic and unhelpful.
“To suggest that the state should intervene in what is a complex interaction is quite inappropriate.
“Edinburgh’s takeaways services serve a huge number of interests, the responsibility is on individuals who frequent them.
“It’s certainly not for the council to act like a food police.”