If we want to make any headway against obesity, it’s clear that we need to change the way people think about the food they eat. And that means giving consumers all the information that they need to make healthy choices—not just calling it a day at calorie counts.
Now, if it were up to me, food labels would say SUGAR KILLS. Because really, we should start treating high-sugar snacks and drinks with the same disdain we show tobacco.
After all, if we don’t start making it harder for people to get their sugar fix, what chance do we stand in the fight against obesity? Think about it… it wasn’t until we did this with cigarettes—limiting access, availability, and freedom to smoke in public places—that we saw a drop in regular tobacco use.
But needless to say, progress in this department has been slow. At this point, I’ll take any step in the right direction I can get. And this latest big idea definitely fits the bill.
Moving at a smarter PACE
New research suggests that instead of simple calorie counts, we should start labeling food and drinks with the amount of exercise you would need to do to burn off those calories.
That’s right! Imagine food packaging that tells you exactly how much running or walking you’d have to do to work off the calories hiding inside.
And, evidently, it works—at least according to this study. In fact, people made significantly lower calorie choices when presented with these labels as opposed to the usual calorie counts.
This labeling concept is being called the “physical activity calorie equivalent,” or PACE. And some estimates suggest that more than 50 percent of people would modify their shopping and eating behaviors if faced with PACE labels on the front of packages.
This latest study appeared in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. And it found that displaying PACE labels on food, drinks, and menus resulted in as many as 100 fewer calories consumed per meal.
It may not sound like much, but it adds up. Especially if you’ve been brainwashed into thinking you need three square meals and two snacks each and every day.
Of course, one would have to buy into the fact that all calories are created equal (or that quantity of calories—rather than quality—matters) in order to believe that PACE labels are somehow the answer to all of our prayers.
But I’ll save that topic for another day. For now, I’ll just enjoy this small victory for what it is.
A step in the right direction
Clearly, the current nutritional labeling we’re using to help consumers make more informed choices has gotten us nowhere. But it has made the food industry richer, as we now have a nation where over 75 percent of people are either overweight or obese.
Then again, from where I sit, labels were never going to solve anything anyway. Because while manufacturers may not be able to lie about nutrition facts, they have plenty of opportunities to do so on the rest of the label.
Big Food can basically tell you the Earth is flat on their packaging and get away with it. (Learn more about this con in the November 2019 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives [“How Big Food’s favorite marketing ploy is hurting consumers, animals, and the environment”]. Not a subscriber? Sign up today.)
With that said, I do think that this type of labeling has some potential. Because if more people understood that a bran muffin—which is really just a cupcake by another name—takes nearly an hour’s worth of running to burn off, they might think twice about eating it.
The real problem, though, is the fact that most Americans simply consume too much in general. Eat fewer chips (or better yet, none at all). Maybe even cut out a meal or two. (Breakfast is overrated anyway.) And yes, remember to get up and get moving!
You’d be surprised at how little it actually takes to lose and maintain your weight. Sure, it may not always be easy. But it is quite simple, once you know exactly what you’re up against.
But if you really want to hit the ground running, I suggest using my A-List Diet as a guide. Because when I tell you it’s the last diet you’ll ever need to go on, I mean it.
“Food Labels Linking Calories to Exercise ‘Could Cut Obesity’” Medscape Medical News, 12/11/2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/922443)