Opinion: Don’t let the food police spoil Christmas

PUBLISHED: 15:02 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:02 17 December 2019

Steve Allen does not want to do maths when reading a food label.

Steve Allen does not want to do maths when reading a food label.


We are in the sweet spot. The stress of the election is over, the worry of food shortages can’t kick in till next year even if they are real, so now we have Christmas. It’s time to eat, drink and be merry.

But wait! There's a news story that could ruin that.

A new study says that food labels shouldn't just include information about calories, salt, sugar and random E-numbers; they should tell us how much exercise is needed to burn off that item of food.

I am all for better labelling. I hate it when you have to do maths. They tell you that a box of five serves eight and a third of a pack is 157 calories. Do I look like Rachel Riley? And if I did would I be worrying about what I eat?

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Some of those boxes that tell you what half a pack contains. Come on, tell us the whole pack. We both know what I'm doing as soon as I get in the house.

This new plan isn't about trying to put us off food, it's about trying to increase the amount of activity we do. For example, a bag of crisps is 171 calories. The label would say you need to do 16 minutes of running or 31 minutes of walking.

Could they work out how long I'd have to walk for after I ran for a minute and got stitch? You know, practical advice.

I think it boils down to this: if you saw that a packet of crisps were worth 31 minutes of walking would you not eat them, would you make sure you walk for 31 minutes or would you feel bad about not walking and cheer yourself up by eating some more crisps?

Either way, enjoy Christmas.

- Steve N Allen's new book Lasted Yet Another Year is out now on Amazon from 99p.

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