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Could different labeling on nutritional menu be key to weight loss?

Eating a burger? Slip on sneakers for 2.6-mile walk, if you’re following PACE recommendations

Nutritional information is printed on the wrapper of a McDonald's Egg McMuffin.
Nutritional information is printed on the wrapper of a McDonald's Egg McMuffin. (2008 Getty Images)

There are plenty of people who pick up a food product at the store and immediately turn the container around to see what the nutritional label looks like. Per serving, how many calories does it have? What about carbohydrates and fiber? What kind of numbers do the fats have?

It’s all relative, depending on what kind of food plan you might be on, or if you’re trying to cater to a specific type of workout routine.

One study recently found that instead of just listing the details that we see now, we should also be able to see the physical activity calorie equivalent, or the PACE.

PACE labels show consumers how many calories are in a food item, but they also list what kind of and how long an exercise someone would need to engage in to burn that food off.

For example, a figure provided by a study in the United States Library of Medicine shows that after eating a regular burger, one would need to walk 2.6 miles to burn off said burger.

[Click here to see an example of a PACE label.]

The values on PACE labels were pulled from an activity table for an average 160-pound adult with a guesstimated walking pace of 30 minutes per mile.

In the study, a few things worth mentioning about those who participated. The people were:

  • Mostly overweight or obese
  • 72% white
  • 72% female
  • 55% of them had “adequate” health literacy
  • 66% agreed fast-food is a splurge
  • 77% reported eating at a fast-food restaurant within a week of the study

The participants were randomly assigned to one of four generic fast-food menus: No label; calories only; calories and minutes; or calories and miles necessary to walk to burn off the calories.

The results were, those who ordered from:

  • A no-label menu ordered a median of 1,580 calories in food.
  • The calories-only menu ordered 1,200 calories in food.
  • The calories and minutes menu ordered 1,140 calories in food.
  • The calories and miles menu ordered 1,210 calories.

[Read the full study by clicking here.]

During the study, participants said PACE labeling would not only influence their food choices, but the likelihood of them engaging in physical activity.

In conclusion, researchers found that PACE labels could certainly be helpful in reducing the number of calories ordered in meals, as well as adding the benefit of encouraging exercise.

Do you have more opinions on PACE labels? We’d love to hear them in the comment section below.


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