Experts Say Food Labels Should Come With Energy-Burning Calculations

By Gary Cutlack on at

That traffic light nonsense on the crisps should be replaced with a better system that's both scarier and easier to comprehend, with health experts finding that a more human explanation of how much exercise you have to do to burn off a food's calorie content works to reduce a person's chomping of the nice things.

The team from Loughborough University found that people exposed to walk-it-off advice on food labels could consume around 200 fewer calories per day as a result, because, for some reason, this "physical activity calorie equivalent" system works better than decades' worth of being told to lay off the juicy carbs. So instead of a red warning that lunch is somehow 69 per cent of today's calories, it may instead warn you that you'd have to walk for four hours to burn it off. And that's enough to frighten many towards the undressed salads part of the chiller cabinet.

Loughborough’s Professor Daley said: "It is a simple strategy that could be easily included on food/drinks packaging by manufacturers, on shelving price labels in supermarkets, and/or in menus in restaurants/fast-food outlets." [Loughborough University via BBC]