In the media at the moment is the decision by some food retailers to display the calorie content at the side of the product. The idea is that if we have more information we will make better choices. A benefit for people who are trying to lose weight is they will be able to spot the meals that are higher in calories and sometimes make a better choice. One of the startling facts that has emerged is that one meal in six are now eaten outside the home and for those meals we do not know how many calories we are eating. From that fact alone it means people who are trying to lose weight may be eating many more calories than they thought and so are struggling to lose weight. A survey conducted by which indicated that many people are in favor of the food retailers publishing the calorie content of the food. This is in line with Government thinking.
We now live in a different world than the rationing that our parents / grandparents knew. A fast paced environment lends itself to eating on the go or “grabbing a sandwich” even the drive through means that we do not even have to get out of the car to buy food. Many people used to be able to go home for a meal at lunchtime but this is now a thing of the past. Long train / car journeys are now the norm. Early starts to beat the rush also mean that many people do not have the time to make sandwiches / salads for their lunch so the tasty convenient food supplied by the fast-food outlets are an affordable option. What we have not worried about is what that food is made up of and how many calories it contains.
It's the hidden calories that are the most dangerous. Not only what we eat but what we drink. I love a McDonald's Milkshake and used to treat myself to one when I was having a bad day at work. How many calories did it have I did not care at the time! Now I would be able to look at the calories and decide whether or not my day was bad enough to have that many calories!
Most people know that a calorie is a unit of energy but unless you're on a calorie controlled diet many would not know how many calories we need per day. The guideline is men need 2,500 calories, women need 2000 calories and children aged 5 -10 need 1800 calories or kcal. The trick to keeping your weight stable is to keep within the daily limits.
The rise in coffee shops has meant that more people enjoy socializing with their friends, chatting over coffee, cakes and sandwiches. This is a great way to spend your time but again there are many hidden calories. A Starbucks' Signature Grande hot Chocolate with whipped cream will have an impact on your daily calories – even though it's lovely at the time! For months now I've been choosing a skinny muffin thinking that I was making a healthy choice but knowing the calorie content I might decide to just have coffee !!
So do you think you will change the way you eat and drink when you know the calorie content? I believe it's a good idea and at times seeing the calories may change what people order. Most people understand that a fast food outlet is not really a good choice but we sometimes need the convenience, and let's face it many of us enjoy a big Mac from time to time. For me it will depend on my mood, the type of day I'm having, if I'm trying to lose those extra pounds. If I'm having a coffee with friends then sometimes I might have the cake and sometimes I'll give it a miss. The difference is that now I'll know the calories and will not be able to fool myself. I'm ready for the change are you?