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Fast foodies

(article, Melanie Mesaros)

Americans, it turns out, aren't the world's fast-food kings after all. The British rule this dubious category instead. 

So says market-research firm Synovate, which concluded after a survey of 13 countries that Britons are number one in their inability to say no to that bacon double. (Or, more likely, that order of fish'n'chips.) Americans, to their greasy credit, came in second, while the French did themselves proud by coming in dead last. 

The survey asked people to agree or disagree with this statement: “I like fast food too much to give it up.” Some 45 percent of Britons agreed, just ahead of 44 percent of Americans. (Canadians helped round out the top three.) The French disagreed with the statement by a resounding 81 percent. Just say non.

“French people take care of their image as a matter of course. Being thin is part of our culture and a point of pride," said Thierry Pailleux, the head of Synovate in France. "On top of this there is increasing awareness of the devastation obesity can cause to one's health."

The survey also found differences in how countries tackle weight loss. Cutting food and exercising are more widespread among Americans and Britons, while Malaysians turn to herbs and supplements to lose. And the Middle East goes for broke: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are tops in purchases of low-fat products, meal replacements, gym memberships, and home exercise equipment.