Calorie content warning call to help tackle obesity

Food and drink should be more prominently labelled with calorie content information, an expert has said. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Food and drink should be more prominently labelled with calorie content information, an expert has said. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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DISPLAYING the calorie content of food and drink boldly in large letters on packaging and menus could be a simpler way to tackle obesity than a “sugar tax”, a medical expert has said.

Professor Naveed Sattar, an expert in metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, said that evidence shows people tend to underestimate the number of calories they actually consume.

He suggested that printing the calorie content of items in big letters on products, and on restaurant menus, could help to change consumers’ behaviour.

Prof Sattar said most people are overweight not because they are eating more sugar, but because they are also eating too much fat.

He said a tax on certain items such as sugary drinks could work and should be tried – a move which he said could help reduce the price of healthy food such as fruit and vegetables.

But he claimed the “biggest problem” is calorie density.

Prof Sattar told a newspaper: “Maybe an easier way would be to put the total calorie content on as many foods as possible.

“For instance, if someone goes to buy a latte and a cream bun then sees that the latte is 250 calories and the cream bun is another 350 calories, they start to get educated and say to themselves, ‘wait a minute, maybe I’ll just have a cup of tea and a banana’.

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