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Chorley restaurant offers ‘calorie-free menus’ as part of rule change

By on May 21, 2022 0

A LANCASHIRE restaurant is bucking the trend and offering customers ‘calorie-free menus’ after new legislation was introduced earlier this year.

Since April, calorie information must now appear on the menus of any restaurant with more than 250 employees as part of a government campaign to tackle obesity in the UK.

A public health crisis, almost two-thirds of adults in the UK are currently overweight or obese, which can lead to further health problems and pressure on the NHS for an easily preventable problem. Childhood obesity is also of concern.

Affecting cafes, restaurants and takeaways, the new laws mean calorie and nutrition information must be displayed on all non-prepackaged food and non-alcoholic beverages prepared for customers.

However, Calico Lounge, in Union Street, Chorley, offers customers the option of perusing a calorie-free menu.

Some fear that the calories in menus have a negative impact on people with eating disorders.

Taking to Facebook, Calico Lounge wrote: ‘We understand how the recent rule change to menus now including calories may affect the dining experience of some loungers.

“We wanted to let you know that we can offer you calorie-free menus if you prefer!

“Please ask one of our team members, who will be happy to provide you with this alternative.”

Addressing the Lancashire Telegrapha spokesperson said the decision was made to make the menus as “accessible as possible to all customers”.

They said: “Since the display of calories became a new rule, we wanted to give people the option of not seeing them, to make our menus as accessible as possible to all customers.”

Since posting to its Facebook page, the restaurant has received a mixed reaction.

One customer said: “I prefer to see how many calories but I guess ignorance is bliss for some.”

“An eating disorder is not ‘happiness’,” someone replied to this comment.

Some mental health activists have opposed the calorie count legislation, fearing it will perpetuate a growing number of people developing eating disorders.

According to the charity BEAT, around 1.25 million people in the UK suffer from eating disorders, with calorie counting being a prominent symptom of these conditions.

Pauline Cox, Functional Nutritionist for Wiley’s Finest Sustainable Fish Oils, said, “Having a calorie count on a menu sends the wrong message to the general public.”

Johanna Bolinder, nutritionist and head of health and sustainability at Spoon Guru, says the new decision will allow consumers to make more informed choices.

She said: “Consumers can now make informed choices and get more information about the foods they choose to eat.

“Whether or not this policy will have a significant impact on reducing calories in the UK diet is still uncertain, as much of consumers’ food choice still needs elements of self-regulation, this continues to be supported by educating consumers about healthier choices.”

Simply put, weight gain is caused when people eat more calories than their body needs (a calorie surplus), with the excess calories being stored as body fat.

To lose weight, people must be in a calorie deficit – eating fewer calories than their body needs, with nutrition being by far the most important factor in weight control.