Experts warn move to calorie-labelled menus is ‘problematic’

The identification of calories on restaurant, cafe, or takeaway food menus is set to go into effect starting this morning (April 6) in England to tackle issues with obesity and health to motivate consumers to choose “healthier choices” when eating at restaurants.

The requirement for menu labels was first announced by the federal government on May 20, 2021. The requirement will be applicable to businesses with more than 250 employees However, it has received mixed reactions from nutritionists as well as eating disorder organizations concerned about the possible negative behavior regarding food that it might create.

Tom Quinn, director of external affairs for one of the England’s top eating disorder organizations, Beat, states: “We know from the people we support that including calories on menus can contribute to harmful eating disorder thoughts and behaviours worsening.”

The legislation on labelling will require that calories must be listed for consumers on both physical and online menus as well as food delivery platforms, as well as on food labels. It’s being included as a part of the government’s overall strategy to fight obesity, with the aim of ensuring that consumers are making better informed choices when eating at restaurants or ordering takeaway food.

According to the government, obesity and obesity-related health problems cost the NHS approximately PS6.1 billion per year. The government estimates that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) adult population in England are obese or overweight and one-third of children when they leave primary school.

It is estimated that one in three children who leave the primary schools in England are obese or overweight.

Former Minister of Public Health M.P. Jo Churchill, says: “Our objective to help make it as simple as it is for consumers to make healthier food choices for their families and themselves at restaurants as well as at home. We would like to ensure that every person has access to reliable information on the foods and beverages we consume.”

In light of the the COVID-19 virus which has highlighted the detrimental effects weight gain can have on overall health and well being, government officials claims that the introduction of measures like these can be a form of “building blocks” to “support and encourage people in achieving and maintaining a healthier weight.” However, some experts from charities claim that there isn’t enough research been conducted to determine whether encouraging counting calories can have a significant impact on.

Mr. Quinn says that his charity was “extremely disappointed” in the government’s decision to make the mandatory labelling of food items with calories despite the evidence suggesting that it may create stress and anxiety for those suffering from eating disorders.

He goes on to say: “It can increase a obsession with limiting calories for those suffering from anorexia or bulimia. It can also cause guilt-related feelings for those suffering from an eating disorder that is binge-like. There is very little evidence to suggest that the law could lead to a change in eating habits for people in general.”

  • Calorie counts will appear on menus as part the government’s effort to fight obesity
  • Calorie is a menu item that counts calories: what’s the actual impact on diners and eateries?
  • Simple Food changes’may help women navigate menopausal changes’

A study conducted by Oxford as well as Cambridge universities showed that the use of calorie labels reduced the calories consumed by only 12 percent as well as a study conducted by Vita Mojo and Kam Media found that just 21 percent of people believe that the labels can have a positive impact on obesity rates in the United States.

Rhiannon Lambert, a certified nutritionalist Pho, a certified nutritionist Pho, author and the founder Rhitrition, author and founder Rhitrition is has concerns about the possible negative impact of mandatory labeling of calories.

She explains that although it could help people make better informed decisions about their food choices but for those who are already suffering from an eating disorder, or disordered eating problem adding a lot of calories into menus could just “exacerbate” their situation.

She continues: “It may further encourage negative thoughts, and cause people choosing the calorie-lowest choice, even though this could be less than the amount required by the body for optimal functioning.

“It is vital to remember that calories don’t mean the only factor in the food we eat. It is possible that using calories could be a problem since they are calculated with an outdated method, that doesn’t take into account the person’s age, size, or physical level of activity, which can significantly affect the amount of calories consumed by a person on a daily basis.

“You may wish to use these numbers as a tool but it is important to remember that they are not the ultimate answer to defining a healthy lifestyle.”

“Calories are not everything when it comes to the food we consume,” said Pho’s nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert

Nutrition and fitness expert, Penny Weston is in agreement. She adds: “The information may be beneficial to the general public in making it evident which are healthier alternatives to eating out, however in the same way, that the benefits of eating healthy are not crystal and clear.

“Eating healthy isn’t just about the number of calories you consume. While beneficial in some ways, you shouldn’t be obsessed with adhering to calorie restrictions because it is based on your personal well-being and diet.

“All calories don’t have the same value in regards to how they’re treated by the body, and the impact they have on health of people. For instance, the calories found from protein-rich food items will keep you fuller for longer, while processed sugary foods could have the same calories but aren’t nutritionally beneficial.”

It is believed to be 1.25 million individuals in UK suffer from an eating disorder. The epidemic causing a heightened depression crisis. Mr Quinn states: “Beat has continually asked the Government to look at the effect on those suffering from eating disorders and take an evidence-based approach when drafting health policies. This would include consulting experts and eating disorder specialists through experience at each stage in the procedure.”

Ms. Lambert declares that “eating out, and eating generally, is usually about having fun with family and friends as well as enjoyment and pleasure. The option of seeing the number of calories should be readily available but isn’t required for everyone, since it can lead to unhealthy relationships to food.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *