The new food labels that could answer our biggest health question

When we look at a food label, we want to know the facts, but wouldn’t it be great if we could also know how much walking we need to do to work off that snack or treat?

Well, they could soon be on a supermarket shelf near you if research by Edith Cowan University is taken on board.

Researchers believe they have found the solution to helping Aussies make sense of food labels, and have created a system that shows how many minutes of exercise is required to burn off calories. For example, a Mars Bar needs one hour and one minute of walking.

The ‘equivalent walking time’ associated with each food would be displayed on the front of the food packet as part of the battle against obesity.

2 in 3 Australian adults and 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese, and the new labels could confront these people by putting a figure on how many minutes they need to exercise.

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It could deter people from selecting snack foods and chocolates altogether. Another example is if you ate a Tim Tam, you would need to walk for 24 minutes to burn it off.

Associate professor Owen Carter is leading the project, which was awarded an almost $80,000 grant by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

‘The average Australian gets about a third of his or her kilojoules from snacks throughout the day but doesn’t do nearly enough exercise to burn this off,’ Dr Carter wrote in the report, submitted in partnership with Brennen Mills and Steve Pratt, reports the Daily Mail Australia.

Focus groups also found that Australians have trouble deciphering the current labels, which outline the amount of energy, fats, sugars and sodium in a single serve of a product.

The research was conducted in order to find other better ways to show nutritional information, based on the facts people seek when they make food choices.

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The researchers will be submitting their proposal to government and government regulation bodies soon.


Tell us, would these labels help you? Could it fight obesity?