Calorie counts are set to appear on menus as part of the government’s efforts to tackle obesity

The calorie content of dishes is set to be published on menus from Wednesday, as part of government‘s initiative to cut obesity rates and improve the nation’s health.

Companies with 250 or more employees in Englandincluding cafes, restaurants and takeawayswill have to disclose the calorie information for unpackaged food and soft drinks.

Physical menus, online menus, food delivery platforms and food labels should all show calories to customers.

The measures aim to help consumers make healthier, more informed choices when eating out or ordering takeaway.

It is currently estimated that the NHS spends £ 6.1 billion a year on obesity and obesity-related conditions.

Nearly two-thirds, or 63 per cent, of adults in England are obese or overweight – and every third child leaves primary school with an unhealthy weight.

A survey by Public Helath England on calorie reduction revealed that 79 per cent of respondents said they believe menus should indicate the number of calories in food and drink.

But the initiative has been criticized for negatively affecting people with eating disorders.

Tom Quinn, director of external affairs at Beat, said the charity for eating disorders was “extremely disappointed”.

He told PA: “We know from the people we support that including calories on the menus can contribute to worsening harmful eating disorder thoughts and behaviors.

Also Read:  Researchers are finding rare gene variants that protect against obesity after a huge DNA study

“For example, it may increase a fixation on limiting calories for those with anorexia or bulimia, or increase guilt for those with overeating disorder.

“There is also very limited evidence that the legislation will lead to changed eating habits among the general population.

“1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder, and unfortunately we know that the pandemic has contributed to more people than ever before needing support for these serious mental illnesses.

Beat has repeatedly asked the government to consider the impact on people affected by eating disorders and to take an evidence-based approach when drafting health policies.

“This should involve consulting eating disorder clinicians and experts based on experience at all stages of the process.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Obesity is one of the biggest health problems we face as a country and clear food labeling plays an important role in helping people make healthier choices for themselves and their families.

“We are all used to seeing nutritional information about products sold in supermarkets, and displaying calorie information on menus can help us consume fewer calories when we eat out or get a takeaway.

“The rules will also allow companies to provide menus without calorie information at the customer’s request.”

Also Read:  Would more labeling really help us eat less sugar?

Additional reporting from PA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.