New Activity Labelling

Forgive me if this has been covered already. What do people think of having how much activity a food's calorie content amounts to, on the packaging?

In the media, the examples given were mostly in terms of running, but I think the amount of slow walking would bring home to people how much easier it is not to eat junk than to 'burn it off' after. What it doesn't highlight is that junk food can be toxic, affecting hormones for example; more than adipose tissue deep.


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21 Replies

  • Very few people run so walking would make much more sense or maybe even steps as a lot of people do try to do this.

    As we know you can't exercise off a bad diet, but I guess if it gets people moving who wouldn't have done so before, it is better than nothing.

    Will be interesting to see if it makes a difference.

  • Walking is an activity that is accessible to most. This would be a realistic eye opener for adults of all ages ,and a kick start for the numerous unfit children.

  • I can't say that I am convinced we have that many unfit children around, I think that is another area where government are interfering.

  • It takes so much activity to burn a tiny amount so calorie control is the only answer to weight loss 

  • Yes, it would be interesting, 😊 I can have a really active day and it's only a few hundred calories burnt! 

  • Only a few hundred calories burnt can make quite a difference to some people, and its not just about weight,  there are other health benefits to being more active,  physical and mental .

  • Might make people's eyes open up, as most of us don't run. 

  • I agree and I myself do not run at all !. But the orginal suggestion here was to highlight Walking Calories . A year ago I successfully lost all my excess weight by eating less + walking more. Walking has also reduced my blood pressure, strengthened a once-painful knee  , and greatly lifted my mood . I am 63, mostly I wear a pedometer and have maintained a BMI of 23 since april 2015.

  • That's really good to hear elliebath 😊  To lose and maintain that is my goal 😊

  • You can do it too Anna !!  I still eat and drink as  I fancy, I still have wine and chocolate but in manageable amounts. Being able to walk 5 miles without aches and pains ( and in size 12 leggings!) has made me feel ten years younger. Good luck on your journey too 😊

  • Concerned 

    Week 11of the NHS Choices arrived this morning, with a list of how many calories are burnt by various forms of exercise 😊 Apparently it takes an hour and half to burn off a Snickers bar!! Eeeeek!! 

  • An hour and a half of walking is that?

  • Sorry, yes, 84 minutes walking 😊

  • A really interesting idea, if only us sensible people were running the country!  

    There are statistically more chubby tots.  Ask any health visitor, GP, teacher or school nurse.  And as childhood lays down the foundation for future health, it is really significant for their and our future.  There are now kids with type 2 diabetes.  It used to be called age onset diabetes.  As we all get it at some point, if we live long enough.  Now there are tinies with it.  I'm glad to know though that Mrs Booboo's neighbourhood is more healthy than the norm.  Maybe they can teach the rest of us something.  

    I know that the actual exercise doesn't burn as many kcal as we hope at the time, but if it boosts our metabolic rates, we might be burning at a higher level than previously for the next 24 hours, if the physiologists are getting it right.  Also we know that muscle burns more than fat, so swopping one for the other is a step in the right direction.  And while we're running on that treadmill, it is really difficult to get the chips into the mouth!  So it takes us away from food for a while, unless we follow it with a treat or use a high sugar/energy drink instead of water.  We should be winning with more exercise.  And any minute now I will stop typing on this iPad, get out of bed and start a more energetic day!  

    Happy Saturday, everyone.  

  • Would sensible people look at what the population has been eating over the last thirty-five years to see what changes have been concurrent with the quadrupling of the incidence of diabetes, or strive to do MORE of what is being done already in terms of health promotion?

    Only if we follow a Western diet is diabetes an inevitable consequence of age.

  • Hi, Concerned, I will have to have another chat with the in house diabetes expert I could well have misremembered.  I do that a lot these days.  There was a thread started a couple of days ago called Epiphany about changes in diet that I think you would enjoy reading. 

  • Yes that was it, Concerned

    About your comment,  I did check with the biologists I live with and they both agreed that if we could live long enough (well past current expectancies), we would start to display the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.   They also gave me a list of other almost inevitable conditions that come with age, which I found quite depressing, so I won't share!  No point in worrying before we have to.  

    Though I have to say, as a contrary point of view, that my Dad's Sister, was well into her nineties and only really showed any sign of ageing within her last 3 years.  Before that she was leaping around her neighbourhood, bouncing up and down the hills at speeds that challenged me (40 years younger), sunbathing in the garden, and helping to keep her allotment going, as well as looking after herself and any visitors who came by.  Because, for most of her adult life, she and my Uncle had eaten loads of seasonal veg from their 2 allotments, and spent lots of their leisure time in the fresh air, up mountains and so on, they maintained a high level of fitness and activity until very close to their end.  Needless to say, they were enviously slim all their lives. 

    Just out of interest, whose diets have you identified as avoiding some of the effects of ageing?  I have read about aged  Italians, with their healthy Mediterranean diets and lifestyles.  And every so often researchers come up with various traditional groups whose diets and activities are held up to us as examples we should copy.  Peasants in several areas in South America, Eastern Europe, East Asia etc and lots of yogurt eaters come to mind.  The factors identified as significant can often be difficult to translate into this 21st century Western culture.  I am happy to share in your expertise, if it means that my later years are more active and enjoyable.  

    It is lovely to share ideas with others who are passionately interested in nutrition and its impact on health.  A real bonus of this forum.  So thanks for engaging with me.  


  • I have a book that attempted to do just what you describe; they looked at different countries to find what illnesses they had a low rate of, then looked at what was unusual about the diet/lifestyle to see what might explain why?

    As you correctly identified, such observational/epidemiological studies are fraught with inaccuracies, not least because of study bias/preconceived ideas.

    I remember reading of the Okinawa Study, where Westerners supposedly went to see how Okinawans had so many healthful centenarians. Home-grown vegetables and little processed food made up a great deal of the diet. Of course there were other factors like keeping active, having a sense of purpose and social networks. However, the story goes that an interviewee disclosed they considered pork as a health food. The interviewer then commenced to tell them the dangers of saturated fats... 

    Whether this is true, it does demonstrate a point, that people tend to have an agenda whether they are conscious of it or not.

    A doctor from Macclesfield proclaimed it's not just what you eat, but the way that you eat it. He relates it to the time taken to eat meals, and the relaxed manner, with France a prime example. Definitely some truth in this; I've written about Hans Selye and the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) in other posts, and essentially how stress affects hormones, affects other hormones. If you consider how this relates to lowering Gi as we discussed earlier, we have the beginnings of principles for longevity - minimise hormonal disruption.

    This is backed up by another doctor, from the US, who cites the effectiveness in very low calorie diets (VLCD) in slowing ageing. He hypothesises that our ancestry relied on carbohydrate at the beginning of life, because until mitochondria evolved oxygen was toxic to life. Carbohydrate is the only fuel that can be used in the absence of oxygen. Therefore, carbohydrate is integral to reproduction. This has to be kept in check by multi-celled organisms; uncontrolled proliferation is known as cancer. He further theorises therefore that most of the benefit from VLCD comes from the suppression of hormones that it affords. The maintenance and repair mechanisms are tuned up, keeping the body in waiting for when food becomes available again to allow reproduction.

    The implications of this are that fat has little effect on hormones, protein has to be moderated because excess is easily turned to glucose, and carbohydrate has to be limited. 

    We've been given an alternative hypothesis for years of course, that carbohydrate is the safe option to saturated fat.

  • I have been thinking a lot about this over the weekend Concerned  😊

    We went out for dinner last night and I was able to check the nutrient figures beforehand. Although I don't trust them completely, I certainly thought carefully about how I ate because of  the thought all the minutes hard exercise I would have to do afterwards to burn it off!! 

    Quite scary that a starter main and dessert with couple of pints could quite easily be over 3000 calories! Ok perhaps for my bricklaying son but Waaaaay over what I should consume. (Probably couldn't actually eat that much but you get the idea) And that's just the calories alone, without looking at fat/carbs etc 😊 

    So thank you for raising this subject. Some interesting comments. 😊


  • Hi Concerned and Anna61

    It is trying to put the interesting research into practice where it can get tricky.  Mr Flytrap and I already follow most of the guidelines and have for years.  We are also committed enough to try lower kcal diets, and limited fasting.  Although I can't see us keeping these up once our weights are well within our healthy BMI range.  Currently we eat fish often, tofu among other vegetarian options like pulses, small amounts of lower fat meats, and eggs. All on plates that are packed with a variety of vegetables.  We make and eat a lot of yogurt, although we are currently experimenting with whole milk versions instead of our usual zero fat ones.  We love most dairy products and are learning to eat the high kcal ones in smaller amounts.  We always had a high pickle intake but are now looking at the fermented cabbage ones, first suaurkraut now kimchi.  In fact we are off to check our local Korean shop later today, having failed Friday to find some in our usual Asian supermarket.  

    We have certainly failed the exercise recommendations recently, because of ill health, but are in the process of doing more around the house and garden and upping our daily walk's steps.  So just got to get more olive oil and maybe a little wine back into our meals and we should be good to go for a decade!   I certainly don't want to live for ever.  (Remember Gulliver's Travels and the Struldbrugs!)  But I do want most of my future years to be healthy enough for fun.  

    I am wondering, Anna, if our eating out culture will reach the stage of ordering off the menu, but not necessarily their suggested meals?  Mind you, with the amount of "ready meal" type cooking done in a lot of our catering firms, it will drive the staff mad for us to assume that the components can be separated and swopped.  Although as I become braver, I am doing a lot more customizing than I used to be comfortable with.  Even getting to the point of sending plates back for correction, which I would never have done in my younger days.  But what I would like to see is much better kids' meals on offer, with people who are looking for a smaller meal option allowed to order them.  I do that in IKEA's cafe, and the burger chains, but not tried it anywhere else yet.  But I will try it elsewhere and report back.  They are happy with us adding options, they ought to be happy in us taking them away, and adjusting the bill accordingly, just a bit, now and then!  

    Happy Monday, to you both, 


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