Diets: Calories on menus can help with weight loss ‘move in the right direction’

Top ten foods with SHOCKINGLY low calories

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Earlier this year, the UK Government passed a new law making it mandatory for restaurants to display calorie information on their menus in a bid to get the nation to make healthier choices when eating out. And nutritional experts have revealed what they think about the measures – the pros and cons.

The new rules apply to large restaurants, cafes and takeaways in England with 250 or more employees.

They must display the calorie count of meals and drinks on their menus, both online and in-store.

Data collected by personal training experts TK-Fitness, looked at the number of calories in each meal at the nation’s favourite takeaways, restaurants and fast-food chains, and how long it would take to burn off those calories by running, walking and swimming.

Their key findings found:

A typical Chinese takeaway would take at least 5 hours and 26 minutes of swimming to burn off the calories consumed

Burger King and Nandos were statistically “the worst” restaurants to eat at when being calorie-conscious

KFC, Wagamama and Subway had the meals with the least amount of calories

Vegan and vegetarian meals on average contained the same number of calories as their meat equivalents

Speaking on how this could help tackle nationwide obesity and promoting weight loss, a spokesperson from TK-Fitness commented on the findings: “The average person needs around 1600-2000 calories a day, going over these calories will cause you to gain weight,” they said.

“Adding calories to a menu can show how easy it is to overeat and could be a move in the right direction to cut down on obesity.

“It’s important to know that all of the foods above can be eaten as part of a balanced diet, and knowing that a bag of prawn crackers could take an hour and 11 minutes of running to burn off the equivalent in calories may make people less likely to binge eat.”

But there are others who believe there are hidden dangers to displaying calorie information, with around 1.25 million people in the UK living with an eating disorder, according to charity Beat.

Luke Hughes, founder of personal training and nutrition course provider OriGym, warned there could be implications that could arise.

“The Government’s decision to add calories to menus could certainly be damaging to the overall health of people in the UK – both physically and mentally,” he said.

“Going to a restaurant should be an enjoyable experience, a chance to socialise with friends and enjoy the taste of food.

“This new measure could not only trigger those who already have eating disorders, but it could actually cause someone who had not considered calories before to develop a disordered relationship with food.”

He added: “The Government should instead be promoting a healthy relationship with food.”

Origym defines a healthy relationship with food as eating food that makes a person feel good both physically and mentally.

They teach their members that it should be about listening to what the body needs, and not labelling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. 

Luke said: “Having a healthy relationship with food is just as important for your mental health as it is for your physical health, as it helps you see food as not just fuel, but also a source of pleasure and enjoyment.”

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