London – The Royal Society Public Health or RSPH, a British charity, has presented a brand new idea for a food label that shows people how much they need to exercise to burn off what they are about to eat. The calorie labelling is called “activity equivalent” and it is intended to encourage people to make smarter choices about the food they eat.
At the moment, food labels must tell people how many calories a product delivers. It is currently presented with a chart that breaks down the calories from fat, saturated fat, protein, sugars and so on the product contend.
According to the Royal Society for Public Health, nutrition facts, which usually show numbers are too tricky and not easy to understand for everybody. So, they are proposing to implement a chart with pictures of people exercising with the caption of for how long would someone have to walk or run in order to burn off the calories of their favorite snacks. They believe this system would help people decide what to eat.
“People find symbols much easier to understand than numerical information, and activity equivalent calorie labels are easy to understand, particularly for lower socioeconomic groups who often lack nutritional knowledge and health literacy,” Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, wrote in a commentary in the British Medical Journal published Wednesday.
How much do we need to exercise to burn junk food?
How long someone will need to exercise to burn the product they just ate can be seen as reasonable is you just eat a small piece of chocolate, but as you add food, you add time at the gym, and that’s where things could get a little scary for several people. For instance, if you eat a bar of milk chocolate with 229 calories, you would need to walk for 42 minutes or run for 22. That’s not so bad, but things could get way more sportive if you want to eat a quarter of a large pizza containing 449 calories, you would need to walk for 1 hour and 23 minutes or run for 43 minutes to burn it off. And if you add to the bar of chocolate, could be considered as a long time of exercise. Taking these facts into consideration, Susan Roberts, a senior scientist at Tufts University, called it a ridiculous idea. She says a regular human do not do more than 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day. So, labeling the food like this will propose people to do four to six hours of exercise a day. Roberts said she finds it ridiculous as everyone would simply ignore it.
When will ‘activity equivalent’ be introduced in the market?
Even if they think this is a great idea, it is not final yet. British food labels are regulated by European authorities and it takes years of consultation to change them. Right now, FDA is working on a rule that would require that food labels not only say how much sugar is in a product but what percentage the sugar adds to the daily recommended intake.
Additionally, Tim Rycroft, Corporate Affairs Director of the Food and Drink Federation, the representing body of the UK’s food and drink manufacturing industry, said in a recent statement on its website that they believe further research is needed into whether activity equivalent calorie information could be an effective way of encouraging consumers to achieve a healthier lifestyle.