There are a few reasons why food labels showing the exercise needed to burn off calories won’t work for everyone. First, not everyone has the same fitness level, so what might be a moderate workout for one person could be a very intense workout for another. Second, not everyone has the same health conditions or limitations, so some people may not be able to do the recommended amount or type of exercise. Finally, some people simply don’t enjoy exercise, so the idea of having to do more of it to ” compensate” for eating a particular food is not likely to be very motivating.
A new study has found that food labels displaying the exercise needed to work off the calories in that particular food are ineffective in deterring people from eating it.
The research, which was conducted by the University of Dundee, looked at the impact of so-called ‘activity equivalent’ calorie (AEC) food labels. These show how much walking, running or cycling would be needed to ‘burn off’ the calories in a particular food or drink item.
The study found that for people who are trying to lose weight, AEC labels do not appear to be effective in discouraging them from eating high-calorie foods. In fact, the study found that such labels could even have the opposite effect, with people feeling that they have ‘earned’ the right to eat the food because they have burned off the calories through exercise.
This research has important implications for public health policy, as it suggests that AEC food labels are not an effective way of tackling obesity. The study’s lead author, Dr. John Gunstone, said that the findings ‘should give policy-makers pause for thought’ before implementing such labels.
It is clear that more research is needed into effective ways of tackling obesity. In the meantime, it seems that AEC food labels are not the answer.