It is no rocket science but we all know that obesity is racing to become an exploding epidemic. Obesity and overweight, the evil twins, are predecessors to a wide range of health problems including heart disease, joint ache, and diabetes type 2. It is only wise to stay on the preventative side or, in the other case, work to bring the soaring weight digits down. To the end, one step that has potential to help us limit our food intake to the optimal is displaying the calorie count on the menus.
Research has been constantly backing this move of public display of calorie info in the food menus. Just recently, a meta-analysis of multiple studies has confirmed that such a step is, in fact, beneficial, not only in helping us to cut down the calories but inclining the retailers to limit the calories in the dishes.
Whether its guilt or consciousness that makes us bring the calories down or there is some other logic behind it, the good news is that it works. In a hectic life, such a positive revelation is more like a ray of hope in the obesity spectrum.
In this regard, the lead researcher of this study, Natalina Zlatevska, from the UTS Business School’s Marketing Discipline Group opines, “With more and more food dollars spent on meals purchased outside the home, anything we can do to educate consumers and make them a bit more aware of their choices is a good start.”
For its meta-analysis, this research project collated 186 studies on the effect of display of calorie information on the menus on the consumers plus 41 more studies on the impact on retailers. It was conducted by Dr. Nico Neumann from Melbourne Business School, Dr. Natalina Zlatevska from the University of Technology Sydney, and Professor Chris Dubelaar from Deakin University.
The results are amazing and provide an evidence enriched back to the 2010 Affordable Care Act that is to be implemented in the US in May 2018. Such a labeling law is already seeing a lot of resistance from the food industry and there are apprehensions of delays and attempts to sweep it under the rug.
Circling back to the study, the precise results revealed that by displaying the calorie information on food items in the menu, a reduction of 27 calories per meal can be expected. At the same, that decline can be expected at 15 calories per menu item on part of the food retailers.
For all those who occasionally dine out, this does not significantly account for much. However, for all the folks who regularly like to munch at the fast food restaurants and dine out faithfully, this can make a good difference.
Concerning the results, Zlatevska says, “In the same way that corporate or financial disclosure changes behavior, here we see the disclosure effect changing the food environment.” She also adds, “We know that retailers are adjusting so there is the possibility of a combined effect. That is where I think bigger change will probably happen. All these incremental changes add up, it is cumulative.”
The implications are greater for women who can expect to take down the calorie consumption by 60 calories per meal and for overweight individuals. The latter can welcome a reduction of about 83 calories in every meal according to the research.
Since overweight and obesity are bubbling concerns with far-reading consequences in every walk of life, it is only great that such a research helps us to take another significant step toward a healthier lifestyle.