MADRID: In the land where 'Los Toros' reign alongside Real Madrid, Burger King should know better that to lace its Whopper XXL ad claims with an overdose of 'bull'.

In doing so it has fallen foul of the nation's health ministry for the cardinal sin of promoting large portions.

The banned ad features a burger containing a gargantuan 820 calories, garnished with the risible claim that its "two enormous helpings of flame-grilled meat [deliver] all the energy you need to eat up the world".

The ministry's move has triggered accusations of a 'nanny state', providing ammunition for the government's opponents who complain that the socialist administration is trying to "remote control" the habits of the nation.

Fumes opposition Popular Party spokesman Ignácio Gonzalez: "They tell us what to eat, drink, smoke, whether or not we should wash and how often we should do it."

Such hectoring, however, has had little effect. Health ministry data indicate that the proportion of obese Spaniards has doubled in the past ten years to 14.5% . Moreover, the nation has one of the highest child obesity rates in Europe, with 16% of under-twelves rated as medically obese.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff