Labelling food and drinks with the amount and type of physical activity needed to burn off the calories in it might be a more effective way of encouraging people to make ‘healthier’ dietary choices, indicates research led by Loughborough University.
Physical activity calorie equivalent (PACE) food labelling aims to show how many minutes or miles of physical activity are needed to burn off the calories in a particular food or drink. For example, eating 230 calories in a small bar of chocolate would require about 46 minutes of walking or 23 minutes of running to burn off these calories.
The research team, led by Loughborough’s Professor Amanda Daley with colleagues from the Universities of East Anglia and Birmingham, calculated that if PACE labelling was widely applied, on average, it might shave off up to 200 calories per person per day. Given that the current system of food labelling by calorie and nutrient content is poorly understood, and there’s little evidence that it is altering food consumption or purchasing decisions, it may be worth trying, they suggest.
The UK Royal Society for Public Health has already called for PACE labelling to replace the current food labelling system, but to date, there’s been little strong evidence to back this stance.