Seeing in the news this morning that there are recommendations to put activity time on food labels – how long of a certain activity it would take to burn off the calories consumed (I think they’ve used walking and running in the examples)
It got me thinking as to whether it’s a good idea or not. On the face of it, knowing how long it would take to burn off the calories may prevent some people from eating or drinking in the first place, other people will just ignore the label and eat or drink it anyway.
It doesn’t take into consideration the amount of fat or sugar that are in the product, which can be more important to health than total calories. Studies have shown that low calorie products can have higher levels of artificial sweeteners which, again, can sometimes play havoc more than calories in relation to health. It also doesn’t take into consideration the fact that people burn calories at different rates – if you have a higher muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories per day. Unsurprisingly, not everyone likes walking or running as exercise, so how would you go about calculating the calories burnt through dancing, roller blading or weightlifting?
Don’t get me wrong, I think anything to make people stop and think before they consume particular foods is a great idea, and I’m all for it but it just takes a bit more thinking about.
After the Sugar tax came out, I said that it needs a re-education programme as to what constitutes a healthy diet, and I still believe that to be true. Looking at one food and deciding what what exercise you need to do to burn that off is quite short-sighted. Looking at someones lifestyle as a whole, would be more beneficial – are they getting plenty of vegetables and fruit; are they drinking plenty of water; and are they getting the required amounts of exercise? Are they using wholefoods and cooking their own meals, or relying on processed, ready meals?
I can see why they’ve thought about introducing this, but I think it can take a bit more thinking about first – what do you think about it?