Monday, 21 January 2013
Calories, calories everywhere – not a kilojoule to spare.
For those looking to gross themselves out with pictures and stories of high caloric food, there are an increasing number of postings. This one for the Centre for Science in the Public Interest is bound to make your stomach turn CSPI xtreme foods.
Hidden is a message that is well worth more attention within Canada, the US and other countries. Clearly identify caloric content of foods that are prepared for consumption.
Menu based calorie (or kilojoule) listing was mandated in New York City in 2008. The evaluations of the effectiveness of such an intervention have been at best mixed, with some slight suggestion of value. Huffington Post article
McDonald’s has now indicated it will voluntarily list caloric content on its menus . A laudable corporate initiative which probably should be applauded. The evidence does not support that individual decisions will be affected by such menu changes, but what is lacking is good information on whether long term decision processes are changed.
When caloric content (or kilojoules) are included routinely, perhaps we can hope for two changes. First, a corporate minded shift to reduce overall content that might be identified in such extreme content foods, and second, increased public knowledge about food consumption on which to make better decisions.
So while McDonald’s efforts aren’t likely to attract more consumers, perhaps they will once again lead an industry change that this time has the potential for social benefit.