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Effects of physical activity calorie equivalent food labelling to reduce food selection and consumption: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies
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  • Published on:
    PACE - Not the Nation's Quick Fix

    Dear Editor,

    Much has been published in the news as of late about the effects of physical activity calorie equivalent (PACE) food labelling in order to reduce the nation’s calorie consumption. These labels aim to identify how many minutes of physical activity are required to burn off the calories in a particular food item. A systematic review and meta-analysis, by researchers at Loughborough University, found that food labelling may reduce the number of calories consumed compared with food that was not labelled or other types of food labelling (1).
    This was supported by the UK Royal Society for Public Health which had already advocated for PACE to replace the current labelling system (2). Overall, it found this technique could lead to a reduction of 100 calories per day combined with an increase in physical activity.

    Many nutritionists have been quick to criticise, stating that it loses sight of the fact that food goes beyond calories and is fundamental for social aspects of life (3). Additionally, the nutritional content of food might be neglected. For example, it might be easier to “burn off” a chocolate bar than something with much more nutritious such as nut butters or a banana. This could result in people picking the easier but not necessarily the “healthier option.” Digestion is complex and although foods such as nuts and oats might be high in calories, their content results in slower processing and digestion. This allows people to feel fuller fo...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.