Scientists discover most people ignore calories printed on food and drink and are calling for exercise data to be printed on packaging – because they think calorific information is meaningless to most people.
Researchers, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, found that teenagers given information about how much exercise they would need to do to burn off bad food choices opted for healthier options or smaller portions.
For example, a 500ml bottle of Coke contains 210 calories, more than a 10th of the daily recommended intake for a woman. The scientists think calorie labels are ignored and instead, suggest labelling advising that it would take a 4.2 mile run or 42-minute walk to burn off the calories is far more effective.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, adds to growing evidence suggesting that calorific information is ignored by most people.
Mel Wakeman, senior lecturer in Applied Physiology at Birmingham City University made similar remarks yesterday when talking about “Family friendly” pub chain Hungry Horse’s new Double Donut Burger that contains nearly 100% of a woman’s recommended daily calorie intake.
Mel Wakeman said: “Why can’t they include on the menu what the customer would need to do to burn all those calories off? In the case of this Double Donut Burger, around three hours of continuous running should just about do it. I wonder how many people would still opt for the item knowing this.”
Do Calories Matter?
I think far too much concern is given to the calorific content of foods and not enough emphasis is placed on the nutritional make up. For example, 150g of avocado has approximately 240 calories. That is more than the 500ml bottle of Coke mentioned above. Does this mean I should be consuming Coke instead of avocado?
Personally I believe that if you focus on eating a diet with plenty of variety and that is as close to nature as possible AND you only eat when you are hungry you no longer need to even know what a calorie is!
But don’t you need more calories if you do more exercise? Yes, but you are likely to feel more hungry too! If we stick to natural foods and listen to our bodies we could do away with labels all together!
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