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5 Comments

  1. 2

    EnergyPedant

    The kJ vs Calorie labelling arguement is plainly stupid. It’s just a factor of 4.2 different.

    Most people don’t know how many calories are ok anyway. You just need to teach people the correct value to target.

    Its easier to explain what a kJ is than a calorie anyway.

    A calorie is the energy taken to heat one gram of water one degree (very abstract).

    A kJ is the energy required to lift 1 kg, 10 cm, 1000 times. Much clearer concept. So my 768 kJ Snickers means I need to do some lifting…

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  2. 3

    David Gillespie

    Interesting article from the Times which is (vaguely) relevant “Scientists advising the Government say that the calorie counts used as the basis of diet plans and healthy-eating advice for the past 18 years may be wrong.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6916617.ece

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  3. 4

    Margo Saunders

    It’s worth having a look at the arguments being mounted in opposition to nutrition information (see, for example, the report at: http://www.wlf.org/upload/BashamLuikWP%20final.pdf, bearing in mind that public health people may recognise Luik from his involvement in tobacco-related causes — see http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=John_Luik).
    It is also worth taking account of research which is relevant to the law of unintended consequences — in this case, seeing healthier options allegedly led to unhealthier choices by consumers. This may not have received much attention in Australia, so check out: http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/news_events/releases/fitzsimons_healthy_options/
    Some comments from the researchers:
    “We find that simply seeing, and perhaps briefly considering, the healthy option fulfills their need to make healthy choices, freeing the person to give in to temptation and make an unhealthy choice. In fact, when this happens people become so detached from their health-related goals, they go to extremes and choose the least healthy item on the menu.”
    “Adding the healthier option caused people with high self-control to choose the least healthy option possible. Even though it was not their first choice before the healthy option was included.”

    The team’s findings suggest that encouraging people to make better choices may require significant effort on the part of both food service providers and customers. “What this shows is that adding one or two healthy items to a menu is essentially the worst thing you can do,” …”Because, while a few consumers will choose the healthy option, it causes most consumers to make drastically worse choices.”

    Reply

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