Activity calorie food labelling

 Proposals from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) are to put 'activity equivalent' food labels that show how much activity would be needed to burn off the calories in that food.

People surveyed by RSPH were three times more likely to indicate they would undertake physical activity after viewing 'activity equivalent' calorie labels than after viewing the current 'traffic light' nutritional labels alone.  

Nicole's response:

Studies have shown that it's energy balanced healthy eating combined with activity that provides the best results for weight, but more importantly for health. 

The current government guidelines in the UK are to have  a minimum of 150minutes a week of heart rate raising activity, along with 2 days of strength building activity for the core muscle groups. That works out at 30mins on 5 days and two days of weight resistance. However  studies have shown results for double this - an hour a day five days a week and 2 days muscle strengthening. 

Labelling with activity equivalents needed to burn the calories in that food package aims to tie the two together. 

Through obsessive Focus on details of calories  is not the aim.  

It may be motivational to use this for the treat foods like a 400 calorie cake bake and full fat latte from a coffee shop coming to over 700kcal  may make you think twice when you think that's over two hours of walking or an hour and a half jog. 

Activity is much more than weight maintenance. There are deeper fast acting effects acting from the moment you start that means even if you don't see the results on weight there is much more going on, with just a few here on this list below...

  • Body tone and shape
  • Muscle strength and posture,  improving endurance to daily tasks. 
  • Builds bone  - fracture risk reduce 
  • Energy levels increased
  • Mood improved
  • Heart health
  • Hormone balance and insulin sensitivity improved. 

Many patients I see get despondent when they increase activity but see no results on weight. Remember muscle weighs more than fat, so body tone and shape are improved despite what the scales show. 

I have seen a patient recently who came in with a weight gain but he showed me a body scan he had done, showing he had gained a stone in muscle with a major reduction in body fat - and he felt so well. 

Do something every day. Anything you enjoy that gets you up and moving. 

Rough guide to calories burned in one hour for a 70kg person - higher or lower levels burned depending on your weight. 

  • Dancing ballroom 200kcal
  • Brisk walk 3.5mph – 300kcal
  • Aerobics – low impact – 400kcal
  • Cycling 12mph – 500kcal
  • Running 5mph 600kcal

Swimming fast – 700kcal