Calories on menus - do you think it's a good or a bad thing?

The UK Gov announced yesterday new rules requiring calorie information to be displayed on menus and food labels for larger businesses, as part of their plans to ‘tackle obesity’.

We think it’s a pretty interesting move. What do you guys think of it? Do you think it will be helpful?

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I think on the surface it’s a great idea. You can go into a pizza restaurant or Indian restaurant and eat your whole days calories in one sitting without even realising it.

I think many people have no idea of the calorific values of the food they eat. Trouble is they’ll probably just carry on regardless. Quite a few chains have been implementing this for years and I don’t see much improvement to the nation’s health.

On a personal level I think it’s useful.


its increasingly common place here (not in fast foods ‘restaurants’) and yeah, most people seem to appreciate it in helping them make choices.

this is very true - theres a local vegan place close to my condo (part of a chain) and even there, some of the meals are alarmingly high calories.

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Make it show £/100kcal too, would be interesting if it would lead to some changes in society. Snack foods would become nonexistent probably.


I think it’s a good thing.
Like Hunzas said, you can go to a restaurant and have no idea of the calorie load of the food you eat. It will be good information.
It wouldn’t change anything for me, if I’m eating out I’m not going to be looking at the calories I’m eating. That’s a healthy way for me as if I’m watching the calories for that meal I’m, I’m not eating out.

I’m curious on the accuracy. A large chain can work out nutritional info as they make most of the ingredients in bulk but how does a small independent restaurant accurately do this? I’ve tied to consider working out calories when cooking on the fly and it’s too hard. Will a small restaurant get it right or will it be a broad guess?

Can you though, I’ll happily eat a lot on a meal out, but I know that I’m far fuller than a normal meal at home. It’s very clear I’ve eaten more.

Anyway, it’s an interesting move, well natured and seems logical, but it’s only going to be useful in so much as whether people actually pay attention to it.

It’s similar purpose to the sugar tax I suppose, which did lead to consumption of sugar in soft drinks dropping, but that appears to be largely due to manufacturers switching from sugar to artificial sweeteners - and artificial sweeteners of course are quite well linked with weight gain.

I wonder if it’s likely that we’re just going to see portion sizes reduce with smaller fries at McD’s, or less cheese on pizza - that kind of thing.

They probably don’t need to. It only applies to businesses with more than 250 employees so an absolute ton of businesses won’t be affected by this.

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It doesn’t (yet) apply to small independent restaurants. Only those employing 250+ people

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oops too slow on the fastest fingers first button.

Totally useful. I can’t believe there’s a discussion on its being bad by the media because it’s “not solving the obesity crisis”

It’s a tool - use it, or don’t and if it goes a little way to providing education it will assist solutions for the crisis.


You may know you are fuller. Have you just eaten 3000 calories though? A few beers, a starter, mains and dessert. I never eat 3 courses at home so I’m going to feel fuller. No idea how many calories in my dough balls, cheese heavy pizza and creamy dessert.

Funnily enough McDonald’s has quite a few of the lower calorie options when compared to places like Pizza chains and Wagamamas

Aye good point. Exact amounts definitely not.

I can see myself in a competition with my family to see who can eat the most calories in two courses. I’m most likely to be the winner of course (also the bill payer so the loser)

Thanks for the clarification on the type of establishment

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Why are we talking about this? Are they planning to make a Huel restaurant?? I can see it in Tring town centre

Vegan food is always thought to be a healthy option…quite often it’s far from it. There are a lot of junk food vegans.

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Good point. I guess it’s going to be as everywhere: supply and demand. If people choose the meals with less calories more often then the restaurants will change the sizes (hopefully also lowering the price). Btw I still can remember the times when the food you bought had absolutely no information labeled. Now there is not only information about the ingredients but sometimes also about the nutritional value (kind of a flag system). But - and it’s a really big BUT - all that information didn’t help with the obesity problem at all. It helps people who are willing to take care of their health and who can afford it! But as long as processed food with low nutritional value is that much cheaper than fresh and healthy meals it all stays the same. Of course it’s always good to give people the means at hand so that they are able to make better choices. But it must not take away the responsibility of the food industry!

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This is absolutely it.

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So interesting to hear all your thoughts!

I lean towards @kassandra’s view point. I’m not really a fan of adding calories to menus. Obesity isn’t due to a lack of knowledge, it’s due to a lack of accessibility. McDonald’s have had calorie information on their menus for years and it hasn’t done much.

Also you’ve got issues for those with, or recovering from, eating disorders.

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Isn’t that one of Huel’s major selling points?

If people are looking for it.

Being aware of the number of calories you’re eating or consciously tracking is different to being shown the calories for one meal you eat that day, assuming you take in that information and it influences your choice.

I don’t have access to the data, but I would hazard a guess that well over 50% of the customer base uses Huel as a way of calculating calorie intake for the Huel based meals of the day. That may also make them think of other meal calorific values.

I don’t see that as a bad thing. we have a problem at the moment when we have an obesity crisis but at the same time nutritionally poor food choices are the mainstream.

Many people don’t know how to cook with fresh ingredients any more.

Interestingly we have a food bank in my town, yet all it appears to do is allow the local supermarkets to offload out of date over-processed white bread. There is often very little other food there than French sticks.

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