As the childhood obesity crisis worsens, UK health officials are now looking at setting targets to reduce calories in fast foods and ready meals and, while the targets will be voluntary, although officials at the government advisory body said if the industry did not respond they were prepared to legislate.
The BBC reported that foods like pizzas, burgers and ready meals would be targeted and health officials say the move is needed as people are consuming 200 to 300 calories too many each day. The targets are expected to be set by Public Health England within a year.
The calorie-reduction programme comes after the success of the decade-long drive to reduce salt content in food.
It will be modelled on the sugar-reduction programme that was included in last year’s child obesity strategy and which committed the industry to reducing the amount of sugar in certain foods by 20% by 2020.
Public Health England chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone said: “We have a serious problem – one in three leave primary school either obese or overweight. If we want to tackle this we have to look at calories. There are a number of ways it can be done – we can reduce the size of the products or change the ingredients.”
School-age children are advised to consume anywhere between 1,600 and 2,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy body weight but some popular foods are high in calories – there are 260 in a typical burger with cheese in a bun and 880 in a 10-inch takeaway pizza while a Greggs tuna mayonnaise white sub roll has 338 and there are 244 in a 400g tin of Heinz spaghetti, adds the BBC.
Diets and eating plans seems to be a failure and Caroline Cerny, of the Obesity Health Alliance, said it looked forward to seeing ‘ambitious’ targets being set to cut calories. But she said the food industry was continuing to ‘get away with bombarding children with adverts that we know encourage unhealthy food choices’.
A spokeswoman for the Food and Drink Federation said: “Singling out the role of individual ingredients and food groups does not help consumers to make good choices about their diet, lifestyle or general health.”
Instead of falling back on diets, the National Council for Hypnotherapy recommends managed weight loss which is one of hypnotherapy’s more successful areas for both adults and children.
“Rather than just reducing calories that you are likely to put on again in the longer term, hypnosis gets you in touch with the reasons why you unconsciously eat. If you are the type of person that struggles to stop after a small piece of chocolate and feels compelled to finish the packet then a hypnotherapist can help you understand why and help you create new healthy self-management techniques,” says the NCH.
“As well as stopping compulsive eating, hypnosis can increase your motivation for exercise. It can also help you reduce portion sizes so you lose weight healthily, steadily and for the long term. Losing weight with hypnosis is essentially about teaching you to feel good about yourself,” the national body adds.
“It focuses on making healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle that will remain with you for the rest of your life.”
The NCH Hypnotherapy Directory lists all currently active NCH-registered hypnotherapists across the UK (in excess of 1,800), which is your assurance of a well trained, ethical and insured hypnotherapist. Click here to access the directory and prepare for a healthier lifestyle.