Better labeling may help you keep track of calories

Better labeling may help you keep track of calories

Here’s some common core math for you: How many miles are in a dozen donuts?

Food labeling might be changing for the sweatier.

A team of researchers is exploring a change in food labeling as a means of addressing obesity — a prevalent problem in most Western countries. Although most food products currently list their caloric content, research indicates this has not translated into a significant change in behavior related to food consumption. In contrast, this new approach would list the amount of exercise it would take to burn off the caloric content listed. Researchers refer to this as a food’s physical activity calorie equivalent, or PACE.

Consumers would be able to determine how many minutes of running or walking would be necessary to use the fuel from any given food item.

Although one review previously attempted to determine the effectiveness of similar methods, the sample size of studies under scrutiny was only seven. Since then, more research studies have been conducted, prompting this analysis, recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. This new analysis indicates caloric labeling that includes exercise time could result in as much as 65 fewer calories per meal. If amplified, researchers predict this could add up to almost 200 calories a day.

Of course, every study has its limitations. Researchers pointed out that people may make decisions about food differently based upon context, necessitating more research in restaurant and grocery store settings. For now, authors of the analysis suggest that even a small reduction in calorie consumption could potentially help ward off obesity.

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