Dough-n’t do it! Thailand’s Department of Health says Pa Thong Ko is unhealthy

The Department of Health in Thailand issued a dough-n’t do it warning to the public, urging them to stop consuming the popular breakfast combination of Pa Thong Ko fried dough with Thai iced tea. Pa Thong Ko is commonly paired with sweetened condensed milk and coffee, making it a popular and flavourful breakfast option for many Thais but – it is not good for your health!

According to the department, this combination is high in energy and could pose a risk to public health. The advisory was issued in response to the recent inclusion of these dishes in the top ten rankings on TasteAtlas, an online food guide featuring reviews and recommendations from culinary experts and critics worldwide.

Channel News Asia reported that Pa Thong Ko came in at No.5 in a list of 10 best-rated street food sweets in the world on TasteAtlas while Thai iced tea was the seventh best-rated non-alcoholic drink.

Health Department director-general Dr Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai said…

“To have a healthy breakfast, it’s advisable to avoid fast food that provides too much energy or has to be fried over and over such as Pa Thong Ko with sweetened condensed milk and Thai iced tea.”

Pa Thong Ko shares its origins with the Chinese crullers known as Youtiao. According to data from the Bureau of Nutrition, a 100 grammes serving of Pa Thong Ko yields 441 calories of energy and contains 40.56g of carbohydrates and 27.79g of fat.

A typical serving of Pa Thong Ko consists of a pair of medium-sized deep-fried dough sticks, which weigh around 30g and provide roughly 132kcal of energy. Each serving contains approximately 12g of carbohydrates and 8g of fat.

Dr Suwanchai said…

“Pa Thong Ko is a snack that contains carbohydrates and saturated fat and provides high energy. It’s suitable for people who want to increase their energy. However, the food also contains a high level of sodium from baking soda or salt. So, it’s not suitable for people with an overactive thyroid and high blood pressure.”

Dr Suwanchai revealed that the cooking oil used to deep-fry Pa Thong Ko is often recycled, which may have carcinogenic properties. As a precautionary measure, he recommends that consumers limit their consumption of deep-fried dough sticks to no more than two pairs per day.

The health expert also warned consumers of the potential health risks of Thai iced tea, noting that a 200 millilitres serving contains 69g of carbohydrates, 15g of fat, and 53g of sugar, equivalent to approximately 13 teaspoons. The high sugar and calorie content of this popular beverage may lead to various health complications and individuals are advised to consume it in moderation.

Dr Suwanchai added…

“Each day, the body should not consume more than six teaspoons of sugar. Frequent consumption of Thai iced tea could cause diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

“Most importantly, do not forget to exercise in order to burn the energy along with your diet.”

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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