A Conversation for Ask h2g2

What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 1

SashaQ - happysad

From April 2022, it is now the law in the UK that restaurant chains with more than 250 employees have to print calorie counts on menus, with the message 'Adults need around 2000 kcal a day'.

http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/calorie-labelling-in-the-out-of-home-sector/calorie-labelling-in-the-out-of-home-sector-implementation-guidance

My family and I are fortunate to be able to eat out quite regularly. I had seen some calorie information on menus before April, and found it OK, as there was a range of choice, but I have to admit I've been struggling more recently. Maybe because we mostly eat out on Sundays - the traditional 'Sunday Roast' I saw this week was calculated as 2,100kcal, so it was a bit of a meltdown moment, even though I actually ordered something else that was closer to 600kcal...

I am glad of this help http://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/get-information-and-support/get-help-for-myself/advice-for-eating-out-with-calorie-labelling

Have you seen this sort of calorie labelling? Do you think it will help at population-level to reduce childhood obesity rates as per the Government's intention? Do you think it would have impact on you as an individual?


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 2

Deb

It's interesting to see this post as I started calorie counting on Monday - although I do need to lose several stone for health and fitnes, my main goal doing this is to gauge the "value" of food and learn how to eat normal food after years of eating unlimited amounts of lean protein, carbs, fruit & veg on slimming world whilst never eating an avocado as half of one was as many "syns" as 1½ curly wurlies!

Yesterday I ate out and was glad to see the calories on the menu so I could record my meal properly. My choice was only affected in as much as I was dithering between two choices so went for the one with the fewer calores. I still had what I wanted, it was a meal out after all and should be a nice treat, but I made the more sensible choice for me. It was slightly shocking to realise my choice was over 1,100 calories - if we'd had starters & puddings as well, it would've been easy to consume upwards of 3,000 in that one meal. That's quite ridiculous really if you eat out regularly.

However I do think seeing the information on the menu is going to cause issues with people recovering from eating disorders, or those obsessing about what they're eating. So it's probably a double edged sword. I doubt it will solve the childhood obesity problem, because we live in a very different world. Children eat a lot of processed food and spend a lot more time being sedentary with their tech.

Deb smiley - cheerup


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 3

Bald Bloke

I am another who needs to lose some (quite a lot) of my waistline.

I'm in favour of having calories listed, doesn't stop me having a big dinner out, just means I know I need to walk an extra load of miles to get it back off.

I would say it has reduced the amount of side dishes and puddings I have had.

[BB]


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 4

SashaQ - happysad

Thanks both - glad the information has been helpful to you smiley - ok

Yes, it is a bit of an issue for me, as I had anorexia for a few years, and now class myself as 'in recovery' - when I'm stressed or anxious the sensation of hunger is comforting. I still count calories once or twice each day, just to make sure I have eaten enough - seeing meals on a menu that are more than the total amount I eat in a day does make me feel quite anxious.

That's shocking about the avocado, Deb - one thing I did have to learn in my recovery was that fat is not automatically the enemy, as some is good in a balanced diet. I wish you all the best with 'normal food' smiley - goodluck

I do agree that childhood obesity is a more complex problem than this solution can solve, but I'm glad that the solution is broadly helpful.


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 5

Baron Grim

We've had calorie listings at some restaurants, like fast food joints, for quite some time.

They're really easy to ignore.


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 6

Still Incognitas, Still Chairthingy, Still lurking, Still invisible, unnoticeable, missable, unseen, just haunting h2g2

smiley - rofl


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 7

paulh. Trump's behavior is unpresidented

We've had those for a long time


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 8

Bluebottle

I don't eat out very often and to be honest I don't think it'll make a huge difference. Most restaurants I've gone to have been voluntarily doing this for a decade or so, so now that they're legally obliged to do something they were generally doing anyway isn't that much of a change. I'm more likely to pay attention to the £ number smiley - 2cents. Last time I went to a restaurant I thought 'how can they charge that for a small slice of smiley - cake - you can buy at least two whole cakes for that'

That said, I would be more interested in who it is who looks at something and comes up with ridiculous portion sizes. Seriously, who is it who looks at a pack of two fishfingers and then labels the box 'feeds 5,000'?!?!?

<BB<


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 9

paulh. Trump's behavior is unpresidented

God only knows. The same with those two loaves that feed a multitude


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 10

Baron Grim

The folks that run my local pub go on cruises every year (disregarding these pandemic years) and one of their favorite destinations is the island of San Pedro, Belize. On that island is a beach bar called The Purple Parrot. They have a signature drink called a Purple Parrot that my friends reverse engineered. It's basically a piña colada with a shot of Bailey's added to it. It really makes a difference. They make theirs with vanilla ice cream, piña colada mix, rum, Baileys, often the bartender Alec will drizzle maraschino cherry juice down the inside of the glass to make it more colorful.

One day we estimated the calorie count for one Purple Parrot.

4000+ calories. smiley - wowsmiley - pggbsmiley - wow


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 11

paulh. Trump's behavior is unpresidented

That's a lot of calories to burn off


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 12

Baron Grim

Especially after your third one! smiley - pggbsmiley - pggbsmiley - pggb


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 13

Otto Fisch ("Just like the Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion, 1973")


For me personally, I think it's great. I used to be very overweight, then wasn't, then lockdown, now I'm just a little overweight. I'm back running now, training for my 8th marathon.

I find it really helpful when I'm not sure whether to have X or Y, and if it turns out that X is a lot lower in calories, that's helpful to know. What's been a bit of a shock is just how many calories are in some starters/sides.

Sometimes I do get a bit of decision paralysis.. perhaps everything feels like too many calories, or I'm unsure how to factor in calories into my food choices. But that usually passes.

But as others have said, it can be difficult or triggering for people who have (or are recovering from) eating disorders, so having calorie-number-free menus available on request (by anyone, with no reason needed) seems like a sensible accommodation.

Calories on restaurant menus isn't the solution to obesity problems, but that's because no one intervention or change is or can be. If it was that simple, we'd have done it by now. But it seems like a sensible step in the right direction.


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 14

SashaQ - happysad

"If it was that simple, we'd have done it by now." - yes indeed... Glad the information is useful to you as well smiley - ok

Yes, I'd noticed some restaurants adding calorie information voluntarily, and it was fine then... I think it must be that since April I have been to places that weren't doing that voluntarily, so they hadn't thought about portion sizes, etc, and hence they ended up with meals that are more than I eat in a day... Yes, it shocked me that many starters/sides are around 500kcal, which is what I have for my dinner at home...

On the one hand, the calorie information is kind of useful to me, as it does give an indication of the size of the dish, so I can choose something that won't 'overface' me, but on the other hand it is tempting to ask for a menu without the information on to avoid the initial shock and anxiety of seeing calories for meals that are more than I eat in a day...

Also true about random portion sizes on prepacked food - fish fingers are exemplars indeed. I buy packs of 10, but the portion size is 4... I guess that is an attempt to encourage people to buy two packs, but luckily I can eat 5 fish fingers in one meal because the traffic light labels say it is OK.


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 15

paulh. Trump's behavior is unpresidented

I have sometimes found myself poring over ingredients and calorie counts, until I forget what I was really looking for


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 16

Bluebottle

In the house we have 1kg boxes of cereal by a well-known international cereal company. One of which are flakes of corn and apparently a 1kg box contains 32 portions, while their crunchy nutted version of the same contains only 24 portions, though the boxes are the same size and the flakes themselves are about the same size, just different flavours.
A little while ago I collected tokens printed on both boxes to send off for free cereal bowls, which are a standard bowl size and came with different logos on. These bowls, when filled flat to the top with the flakes in question, can be filled almost 7 times from a 1kg box – regardless of which flavour cereal it is filled with. So considering that their own branded bowls show each box contains 7 portions, how can they justify putting '24 portions' and '32 portions' on the outside?

<BB<


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 17

SashaQ - happysad

Yes, cereals are another exemplar of strange portion sizes indeed - according to the supermarket website, the 1kg box of crunchy nut cornflakes is 33 x 30g portions, but that doesn't help when it potentially leaves 10g left over! 720g of cornflakes at 24 x 30g portions is better, but does depend on each bowlful being exactly 30g...

Difficult with bowl sizes, too - I can imagine 30g would look quite paltry in those free bowls given that the full-to-the-brim capacity is 141g... Makes it very easy to think you were eating one portion but were actually eating 3 portions...

I do find it easier to have things that have been measured into portions already, like variety packs of cereal (only 17g of cornflakes in those, but 30g of coco pops...), but I haven't ever weighed my breakfast bowl. If I get a 100g pack of crisps, fruit or nuts, where the pack contains 5 portions, it does tend to take me more than 5 days to eat it all...


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 18

Bluebottle

We always used to mix and match two of those variety packs each day as one just wasn't enough.

Or Weetabix. Nice and easy straight forward portion sizes there - take two every morning. Though again despite the week clearly having seven days, Weetabix packs comes in multiples of 12, so six days' worth, just to be annoying when planning your week's shopping.

<BB<


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 19

SashaQ - happysad

"despite the week clearly having seven days, Weetabix packs comes in multiples of 12" smiley - laughsmiley - facepalm


What are your thoughts on the new calorie labels in UK restaurants?

Post 20

Phoenician Trader

Diet coke in Australia is sold in 375ml cans. In years past, to meet it's "less than 1 calorie" tag line, they defined a serving as 350mls (I can't remember the exact size).

Few people ever opened a can and drank only the one serving.

In fairness, this doesn't appear to be the case today. Also, the formula was defined in the US where the serving size was/is 355ml (10oz) and that may be where the advertising tag came from too.

Obviously I would prefer not to be fair...

smiley - lighthouse


Key: Complain about this post