Thursday 7 April 2016


The Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health has recently said that food labels in Britain should state how long it would take to burn off that particular food or drink in order to fight the increasing obesity epidemic. Her explanation came on the back of a poll where over 50% of people said that they found food labels confusing and if they could see things spelled out more clearly it would affect their choices (I’m still not convinced of this, but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt).

With obesity rates climbing at an alarming level (by 2025 40% of the population will be obese according to statistics), I’m all for doing whatever we can to combat this frightening health epidemic; be it educating the masses, writing things on labels, or putting up large neon signs in the supermarket that say ‘IF you eat this you will regret it!’ I will however admit that I still find it baffling that people are so unaware of how their food choices affect them. This poll went on to highlight that not only do people not really understand what it takes to burn off a candy bar, but that they have very little idea when it comes to portion control. In essence, when they scoff down a giant Indian takeaway four nights a week and then put on weight they are baffled they do not look like Giselle. Okay fine, I’m being a tad harsh, but the way I see it, it’s always been very simple math. What we take in, vs. what we burn off - give or take. If you eat too much and move too little you’re going to get fatter. And furthermore (for those of you that are still confused), if think your 35-year-old body can ingest copious amounts of Snickers bars like your 18-year-old body, you’re going to have problems squeezing into those skinny jeans.

Recently we went to a restaurant where calories were on the menu beside every single dish. And trust me, it was sobering at best and made you reconsider what you ordered, or at least gasp in amazement at the tables that didn’t give a hoot and ordered half the menu anyway. Whereas I don’t always want to live by the site of a calorie count and believe a certain amount of indulgence is necessary, it is interesting how a calorie labeled menu influences your choices. Suddenly the taramasalata isn’t such a must when you can opt for hummus instead. Like anything in life, it’s about choice and the choice is up to you, scary as that sounds.

The bigger issue at play, in my opinion, is that we are not only a short cut culture – wanting things easy and fast – but we simply don’t want to have to work that hard to stay in shape. People that look athletic and fit are, well, athletic and fit. They exercise and choose what goes into their body with careful precision. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to live like a church mouse and eat crackers that taste like carpet (although funny enough, being Californian, I’ve always liked crackers that taste like cardboard), but you do have to choose your moments and grasp the concept of moderation.

My advice to anyone that cares enough about their body and what goes into it is try it for a week, total up the calorie count of what you eat without taking anything out and see how much you are eating (and drinking!). Then try not to pass out from shock. Then in the next few weeks make small substitutions for things you can simply live without out. Not to mention, it is a big world out there in the food department and often humans get stuck on a myopic gastronomical path. Branch out, try something new and for god sakes, MOVE. You might surprise yourself and actually enjoy it.

Copyright © 2014 Anthea Anka - Delighted And Disturbed