Restaurants to Reveal Nutritional Information
Restaurants to Reveal Nutritional Information

The Food Standards Agency is calling for all restaurants and fast food outlets to carry nutritional information on their menus in line with the Government’s Healthy Food Code of Good Practice. Weight Loss Resources’ guest writer, Cara Frost-Sharratt brings us the lowdown.

Restaurants to Reveal Nutritional Information

By WLR Guest Writer, Cara Frost-Sharratt

Restaurants, cafes and pubs may soon have to display nutritional information on their menus, if plans by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) go ahead.

The Government is keen for eateries to embrace healthy eating guidelines by offering consumers a greater level of information. It ties in with the Government’s Healthy Food Code of Good Practice, the purpose of which is to help people make more informed choices when they dine out.

With so many people having a number of meals outside of their home during an average week, the FSA feels this is the next natural step to take in the ongoing battle against obesity in this country.

The FSA is currently in talks with more than 50 of the UK’s largest caterers and wants to sign up outlets that will provide a testing ground for the new initiative.

At first, this will be noting the calorie content of the food on their menus. However, it is hoped that the level of information will increase and will be made available in the form of a nutrition leaflet at each outlet.

Diners could be checking out the calorie content of their favourite dish from this summer, if plans go ahead as expected.

WLR says . . .

Being aware of the nutritional information of your meals is an essential part of any weight loss programme and this initiative will undoubtedly help to put the brakes on some of those blow-out meals. The old proverb ‘what you don’t know won’t hurt you’ certainly rings true in cafes and restaurants around the country every time food is ordered.

By stating the calorie content alongside the dish, you will automatically instill a sense of guilt or surprise into many people.

It is often the simplest sounding meal or sandwich that turns out to be loaded up with hidden calories and this will certainly alert diners. By seeing the calorie counts of different meal options displayed together, consumers will be able to decide for themselves if they wish to play it safe or go ahead and splurge.

Anyone on a weight loss programme will be able to accept that dinner invite with a little more confidence, as they will be able to easily identify meals that won’t blow the calorie count.

Of course, the downside is that eating out is generally a treat: it’s an occasion to look forward to and enjoy with family or friends.

It could be argued that a list of the calories on the menu isn’t exactly conducive to a carefree night out. Many people are aware of the principles of healthy eating and don’t necessarily want to be reminded that they should be consuming fewer calories when they’re enjoying a meal in a restaurant.

It is likely that opinion will be strongly divided but, like the smoking ban and congestion charge, once it has become established, it will simply be the norm.

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