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Surprising Science

Calorie Counts not Most Effective Junk Food Deterrent

Telling people how much exercise they’d need to do to burn up the calories in junk food is a much more effective deterrent than telling them the calorie count, researchers have found.

What’s the Latest Development?

Printing a ‘physical activity equivalent’ on unhealthy drinks and food could dramatically reduce their popularity, according to researchers in the American Journal of Public Health. Teenagers shown the warnings on soda cans-which stated an hour’s run would be needed to burn up the calories-were half as likely to drink them.

What’s the Big Idea?

Due to the health problems linked to consumption of junk food, it is critical to explore the most effective strategies for presenting caloric information to consumers, for instance on fast food restaurant menu boards. Health expert Dr Sarah Bleich says people generally underestimate how many calories are in junk food and soda drinks.

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