Is this what your favorite snacks will look like in the future? Obesity experts want to scrap traffic light labels in favor of calorie equivalents, which tell you to walk 15 minutes to burn a bar of chocolate
- Experts want snack labels to show how much exercise you’ll need to burn them off
- He might see a slapped candy bar with a warning to go for a 20 minute run
- Traffic light labels are confusing and make it easy to overeat calories, they claim
- The findings are based on a survey by UK experts of over 2,500 consumers
Junk food labels should tell shoppers how much exercise they need to keep cakes, cookies and chips from making them fat, experts say.
He would see a 200 calorie item slapped with the warning that it would take 30 minutes of walking to burn off.
Obesity experts say the information would be much easier to understand than current traffic light stickers.
Therefore, it would be more likely to discourage people from buying foods that are bad for their waistline, they think.
Researchers at Loughborough University tested the concept, known as Calorie Equivalent of Physical Activity, or PACE, on 2,668 consumers.
Overall, people preferred the existing red, yellow and green labels that warn if an item is high in salt, sugar or fat.
The food warning label of the future? Scientists want to tell consumers how much exercise they’ll need to burn calories from their favorite snacks
In the UK, this would replace the well-known traffic light system which warns Britons of foods containing higher amounts of fat, sugar and salt.
Obesity should be considered a brain disorder like autism or ADHD, doctors say
Obesity should be classified as a brain development disorder, doctors say.
That would put it in the same class as Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Asperger’s Syndrome.
They made this recommendation after a study indicated that obesity was partly caused by changes in the brain during childhood.
Obesity is currently considered a behavioral disease – a set of destructive choices people make that affect their health.
But Dr Harry MacKay, of Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, said rethinking this could be “the key to stopping the global obesity epidemic”.
A total of 43% said the traffic light system was better, compared to 27% who opted for PACE.
Still, they admitted that PACE was easier to understand and grabbed more attention.
Nearly half (49%) said PACE grabbed their attention more, compared to just 39% for the traffic light system.
And 41% found PACE to be an easier way to understand calories, compared to just 27% for the red, orange and green warnings.
Lead researcher Professor Amanda Daley, an expert in behavioral medicine, said: ‘Nutrition labels help people make food choices and traffic light labeling is the British standard.
“However, many people don’t understand the meaning of the kilocalories or grams of fat displayed on food labels.”
As a result, they “often underestimate the calorie count when labeling isn’t provided,” she added.
PACE is already used in some apps like MyFoodDiary and myfitnesspal to convert meals into the exercises needed to burn them.
Respondents to the survey said they preferred the labeling system if it only put snacks and junk food like chocolate and cakes as opposed to staple foods like pastries, bread or vegetables.
The authors said: “Our findings highlight that PACE labeling is a potentially important policy approach to reinforce current approaches to food labelling.
“The next steps are to test whether PACE labeling reduces purchases of high-calorie foods and beverages in different food environments such as restaurants, vending machines, cafes and pubs.”
The results of the survey will be presented at the International Congress on Obesity in Melbourne which will take place from October 18-22.
Excess weight is believed to be one of Britain’s biggest and fastest growing health problems, with latest data showing that 64% of adults are overweight, and more of us should be fatter in the future.
Obesity is not just increasing Britons’ height but also healthcare costs, with the NHS spending around £6.1billion to treat weight-related illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers between 2014 and 2015.
America faces a larger obesity epidemic, with around 73.6% of adults considered overweight or obese.
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET RESULT IN?
Meals should be potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starches, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following foods: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-grain crackers, 2 thick slices of whole-grain bread, and a large baked potato with the skin on.
• Have dairy products or dairy alternatives (like soy beverages) choosing low fat and low sugar options
• Eat beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which should be fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume them in small amounts
• Drink 6 to 8 cups/glasses of water per day
• Adults should consume less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
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