Exercise times on food labels? Benefits and drawbacks found in new study – 13abc Action News

Posted: December 16, 2019 at 5:41 am

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SYLVANIA, Ohio (WTVG) - It can be hard to find the right diet for yourself, let alone stick to your New Year's resolution to work out past January. A study by UK researchers suggests that directly labeling foods with the amount of exercise needed to "burn off" calories will lead to healthier choices in the long term.

A number of things work against the study itself -- small sample size being one of them -- but there are also concerns that a focus on calories, rather than nutrients, could lead to different health issues.

Amy Good, a registered dietitian with the Toledo Center for Eating Disorders, cautions against looking at labels as a be-all-end-all guide to match calorie for calorie.

"There's this really obsessive thinking around the numbers part of it. It kind of takes away the enjoyment of food, and the enjoyment of physical activity," Good said.

Diet and exercise are important in tandem, of course, but people with eating disorders can sometimes overexert themselves to work off each meal, or limit themselves to familiar though less nutritious foods.

"Something we see here often is that people's variety of food choices becomes pretty narrow, eating just a small selection of foods," Good says. "This [re-labeling] could potentially exacerbate that."

Current labels carry some degree of information overload and can end up doing little to curb one's eating habits regardless if the exercise label idea were to be brought stateside.

"What we're seeing is that as we're putting more of this diet information out and readily available to see," Good suggests, "we're not seeing rates of obesity, diabetes or heart disease improving."

As with most things in life, balance and motivation are the keys to success here.

"We need that balance of both, being able to move your body because it feels good and you're enjoying it, rather than feeling like you're punishing yourself and have to move because you ate," Good said. "When we take care of our bodies that way, our weight will figure itself out."

For the record, the Loughborough University study suggests an average of 200 calories could be saved per day with the proposed re-labeling -- still less than your average chocolate bar. Time will tell if the idea ever makes the jump across the pond.

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Exercise times on food labels? Benefits and drawbacks found in new study - 13abc Action News

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December 16th, 2019 at 5:41 am