Ultra-processed foods make up 'two-thirds of calories consumed by children and teens'
The government has introduced a new requirement to tackle obesity: adding calories to restaurant menus – and not everyone is pleased about it.
Since April 6, you may have noticed a subtle change in restaurants, cafes and takeaway stores with more than 250 staff. They must print calorie information on menus, websites and delivery platforms.
The rule was proposed last May as part of a government plan to address obesity in England after it was found nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of adults are considered overweight. Additionally, one in three children is also classed as overweight by the time they leave primary school.
The calorie transparency rule encourages consumers to make "healthier" and well-informed choices when dining out.
However, the move has received widespread backlash from restaurants, eating disorder charities and TikTok users. So much so, it has sparked a furious trend on the platform.
One believed it was a rule that no one asked for. Alternatively, they suggested: "They should have like a QR code that would give you the calorie information on the menu, so u can see if you want, but they’re not in your face."
A second agreed and said "It should be on a separate menu 100%".
Doing bits for our mental health #fyp #uni #spoons
A survey conducted by Public Health England found that 79 per cent of respondents think menus should list the number of calories in food and drinks.
Tom Quinn, of eating disorder charity Beat, says the charity is “extremely disappointed” by the move.
He told PA: “We know from the people we support that including calories on menus can contribute to harmful eating disorder thoughts and behaviours worsening.
“For instance, it can increase a fixation on restricting calories for those with anorexia or bulimia, or increase feelings of guilt for those with binge-eating disorder. There is also very limited evidence that the legislation will lead to changed eating habits among the general population.”
Quinn explained that 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder and the pandemic has contributed to more people than ever needing support.
He continued: “Beat has continually asked the Government to consider the impact on people affected by eating disorders and to take an evidence-based approach when creating health policies.
“This should involve consulting eating disorder clinicians and experts by experience at every stage of the process.”
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