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Experts suggests food packages with how long to burn calories off

By Ashleigh Bones     Apr 7, 2016 in Health
Put down that candy bar. The UK’s Royal Society of Public Health is suggesting food labels display how much activity is required to burn off calories that have just been consumed.
What if the bag of chips you’re eating told you how long it would take to burn of the calories you’re about to ingest?
The UK’s Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) is proposing that food labels be altered to display the amount of time walking, running or cycling that’s required to burn off calories that have been consumed.
Whether you’re health–conscious and count every calorie, or you’re a couch potato and really do not bother with labels, this small addition to food packaging could make all the difference.
Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive of the RSPH, believes that people simply do not understand labels on food packets. At one point or another, everyone has stood in the aisle trying to decipher what the saturated fat, fat, sugar and protein content will do to their diet.
The idea is to change an individual’s eating behavior using an “activity equivalent” chart, as people understand concepts more visually. This change could truly be an immediate and simple way to increase nutritional educational for people of all ages.
"The public is used to being told to avoid particular drinks and to cut down on specific foods,” writes Cramer for The British Medical Journal (BMJ). “By contrast, activity labeling encourages people to start something, rather than calling for them to stop."
Conveniently, this suggestion comes at a time where just last week news from The Lancet revealed more people worldwide are now obese, and that the numbers will only increase over the coming years.
So how does this go about being implemented?
Cramer hopes that the food manufacturers will take the initiative, though currently the RSPH is currently lobbying the U.K. government and the food and beverage industry to test the idea out on some food products.
Her research proved that more than half (53 percent) admitted that their choices would be positively influenced as a result of the new labels.
What are the flaws?
“If it will take me 20 minutes to burn off this pastry, then maybe I can have two.”
Considering the above scenario, if the activity information is listed, people may increasingly start to justify their poor choices. The idea is to match your physical activity level to your diet, not to validate unhealthy options.
Another slight drawback in the recommendation is that the rate which calories are burned varies from person to person, so the packages would just display the “on average” information. Concerns have also been raised about the negative implications for those suffering from eating disorders.
Do you think these labels would deter people from overeating? Comment below with your thoughts on the idea.
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