New U.K. Food Label Proposal Will Scare People Away From Processed Foods

The proposed label will tell people how much activity it would take to burn the amount of calories in a product.

New U.K. Food Label Proposal Will Scare People Away From Processed Foods

Food goes down incredibly easy. Burning it off? Well, that's another story.

This is a major problem facing our society. Too often exercise cannot compensate for the amount of calories we consume, which is one of the reasons for our rapidly rising obesity rate.

In a recent position paper, the United Kingdom's Royal Society for Public Health proposed a potential solution by adding "activity equivalent" information to food labels.

In the U.K., calories are displayed on the frontside of food packages. The activity equivalent would be displayed alongside calories to show how much physical activity it would take to expend the amount of calories in the product.

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According to the RSPH, this new label has shown promising results. Would you drink a sugary coffee if you knew you had to run for 28 minutes to burn it off? Having that info might encourage you to opt for black coffee instead. Also, research has shown that people are three times more likely to work out when packaging includes an activity equivalent.

This proposal makes sense, and it's great to see a regulatory agency promoting health education. However, we can't imagine producers of highly processed foods will support this proposal, which may cause roadblocks along the line. With further discussion and research, hopefully we will see this info on U.K. labels, and maybe some day in the U.S.

Food Activity Equivalent Chart
Chart via the Royal Society for Public Health 
Source: BBC, RSPH

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