Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nutrition Facts

Here's what I think might convince a few Americans to eat more healthy food: under the label that shows how many calories a particular food has, the label could also display that amount in pounds—as in pounds that each serving will add to your butt. Basically, divide the number of calories by roughly 3500, and display that amount. That cinnamon roll? .15 pounds. Is it worth increasing your weight by .15 pounds (or counteracting .15 pounds worth of exercise) for a cinnamon roll?

Probably the biggest problem is that people aren't good at extrapolating. .15 pounds isn't, of course, a noticeable amount. But .15 pounds every day for a week is a full pound. A lot of people work really hard to lose a pound a week. I can't say that people would be able to make that jump. Maybe you could divide the number of calories by 500 instead of 3500, and say that if you ate a snack like that every day for a week you'd gain X pounds. In the case of the theoretical cinnamon roll, approximately 1. That'd be more of an in-your-face number. Eat one of these a day for a week, and you gain a pound. Would that motivate people to eat better?

Or, maybe we could, you know, develop more healthy food that doesn't taste terrible. One step at a time, I guess.

5 comments:

Louise said...

Okay...what is with everyone and the nutrition talk today? This is the second post I read today about food and eating healthy.

Travis said...

TWO posts? That's a pattern! A conspiracy!

Louise said...

Jeez...some of us don't have zounds of friends. Just look at the number you have facebook and the number I have!

Andy M said...

While this is a great idea in theory, I could go into excruciating detail about why this wouldn't work. Suffice to say we all have different calorie needs, so you wouldn't be able to give a finite number of pounds for everyone.

Maybe you could just do what the FDA does in defining the DV percentages and base it off of a 2,000-calorie diet. But I need 2,500 just to keep my body alive each day (not counting activity level, which brings me near 3k), and I imagine you don't eat a 2,000-calorie diet, either.

Our Nutrition teacher basically implied during the entire class that the pyramid and labels are poorly implemented. I can't say I disagree... People just need to start using common sense when it comes to selecting real foods over junk.

Travis said...

The idea, as I see it, is merely to give some simple perspective to the number of calories printed on the label in something that people are more familiar with—pounds on their ass. So, in that light, I'm not as concerned with the details. I bet someone who knew what they were doing could make something better out of that basic idea.