Nowadays, it is essential to have a sound knowledge about the quality of food that is available for consumption. The information helps people in selecting the right types of food that are suited to their constitution. It helps people to lead a healthy lifestyle. When people become aware of the calorific value of food, they eat healthily and lead life with great energy and vigor. People often visit places like cafes, hotels, supermarkets, etc. Some go out to eat and are bound to make specific choices after glancing at the menu cards. They become health conscious and limit the number of servings. Having prior knowledge of the calorie value of consumable products will make the selection of food an easy and enjoyable task.
Knowledge Of Calorie Count Will Affect Choices On A Menu
Of late, there has been a growing concern about health-related issues. Researchers have found that one of the factors that determine the status of one’s health is food. This vital factor provides the body with all the proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates that it requires. Many people are not fully aware of the calorific value of the foods they intake. They prefer to satisfy their hunger and do not realize the importance of knowing the nutrients present in food substances. A series of laboratory studies conducted by Kozup and his colleagues demonstrated that many consumers have very little knowledge of the high levels of calories, fat, and saturated fat found in many popular, less healthful restaurant items (Kozup, Creyer, & Burton 2003). This may result in adverse health effects like obesity, cardiovascular complications, and frequent susceptibility to diseases which could otherwise be avoided by printing the calorific details on the food packings. When the nutritive value of each food is mentioned in menus or labels, people will get details about the amount of calories that each food item contains and decide about what to purchase and what to avoid. In a study in a cafeteria setting, signs indicating the calorie content of available foods significantly decreased the number of calories that people ordered (Milich, Anderson, & Mills 1976).
In some hotels, there are menus that contain the amount of calories per serving of a food item. People read the contents of menus and decide what is best suited for them. The type of order is thus dependant on the amount of minerals, proteins or vitamins that people require. The amount of carbohydrate intake is also monitored. The U.C. Center for Weight and Health conservatively calculates that, on an annual basis, menu labeling could reduce the average adult fast-food patron’s yearly consumption by 9,302 calories, preventing the equivalent of 2.7 pounds
of weight gain per person annually (Center for Weight and Health 2009). The procedure of printing nutrients that are present in foodstuffs will give a scientific approach to the health of individuals. To a large extent, it helps to prevent the onset and aggravation of disease conditions. For those who are engaged in food sales in the hospitality industry, especially in cafes and restaurants it is suggested that dishes that are perceived to be healthy should be presented and that menus should provide advice on the calorie and fat content of menu dishes (O’Mahony, & Hall 2007). There are certain individuals who are advised by dieticians and health experts to limit their intake of high calorie and certain junk foods. When nutrition information was displayed for entrée items in a restaurant setting, lower fat, lower calorie entrées were chosen more often and higher fat, higher calorie entrées were chosen less often (Cranage et al., 2004). When people go out to eat, they refer to low-calorie items that are listed in the menu. They either opt for a low-calorie food or may be encouraged to consume stuffs that help to build bones and muscles in the body. So, their decisions are dependent on the type of labels that are available to them. LC labeling appears to have been both informative and motivational (Dubbert, Johnson, Schlundt, & Montague 1984).
Whenever information with respect to calories is provided to the customers, they think twice before eating foodstuffs that are readily available. They tend to opt for salads, fruits and vegetables and try to avoid fat-rich foods like chocolates, ice-creams, meat and desserts. 5542 observations of undergraduates during lunch time found that providing calorie information was associated with reductions in consumption of red meat, carbohydrates, and regular dairy products (Cinciripini 1984). The economy in pricing will decide the demand for an item. As people buy food almost on a daily basis, the price factor will affect the type and quantity purchased. Usually
people tend to purchase foodstuffs that are inexpensive, rich in proteins and easily digestible. Their aim is to maintain optimum health along with minimizing the costs incurred on the procurement. The labels found on food products provide the price as well as the calorific values. Practically, when a person wants a food product, he goes to a store and is most likely to inspect the labeling and packing before buying it. He assesses the total nutrient content in the food that he will eat eventually. He will not favor foods that cause ill effects on health or those which can be harmful when consumed in high proportions. He will not buy it for the sake of his own well being. The same case is applicable to people who walk in to a restaurant. Consumers’ purchase intentions for the less healthful items were significantly diminished by the provision of nutrition information (Burton, Creyer, Kees, & Huggins 2006).
Apart from nutrition, the amount of calorie consumption will affect the weight and overall well being of a person. Foods that contain oil and sugar will increase carbohydrate level in the body. This leads to weight gain and may cause obesity. Researches have shown that females in particular tend to be very conscious about their weight than males. They are concerned about their bearing and general upkeep. This is attributable to the immense importance given by women towards looking slim and attractive at all times. Results showed that females were more likely than males to use the nutrition information labels to make food choices (Conklin, Lambert, & Cranage 2005).
To conclude, both men and women are helped by the information about food products that are needed for sustenance. People who are well aware of their eating habits tend to have lesser problems with health. They prefer high intake of proteins, fibers and vitamins in their diets. This will help to reduce diseases and stress and increases strength and longevity. Having a
thorough knowledge about calorie content will prevent various diseases and ailments and increases the overall tone and efficiency of the body. People will have selective food habits in that they will avoid excessive eating and consumption of unhealthy stuffs. There is bound to be a thorough check on the consumption of sweets, fats and other oily stuffs. Ultimately this paves way for proper care and maintenance of good health and provides a panacea for illnesses and health disorders.
Burton, S., Creyer, E.H., Kees, J., & Huggins, K. (2006). “Attacking the Obesity Epidemic: The Potential Health Benefits of Providing Nutrition Information in Restaurants.” American Journal of Public Health, 96, 1669-1675.
Center for Weight and Health, University of California, Berkeley and California Center for Public Health Advocacy. (2009). Potential Impact of Menu Labeling of Fast Foods in California. Retrieved July 6, 2009, from http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/menulabeling.html.
Cinciripini, P.M. (1984). “Changing Food Selections in a Public Cafeteria: An Applied Behavior Analysis.” Behavior Modification, 8, 520-539.
Conklin, M.T., Lambert, C.U., & Cranage, D.A. (2005). “Nutrition Information at Point of Selection Could Benefit College Students.” Topics in Clinical Nutrition, 20, 90-96.
Cranage, D.A., et al. (2004). “Effect of Nutrition Information on Perceptions of Food Quality, Consumption Behavior, and Purchase Intentions” Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 7(1), 43-61.
Dubbert, P. M., Johnson, W. G., Schlundt D. G., & Montague N. W. (1984). Journal Of Applied Behavioral Analysis, 17(1), 90. The influence of caloric information on cafeteria food choices. Retrieved July 6, 2009, from http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pagerender.fcgi?artid=1307920&pageindex=5#page
Kozup, K.C., Creyer, E.H., Burton, S. (2003). “Making Healthful Food Choices: The Influence of Health Claims and Nutrition Information on Consumers’ Evaluations of Packaged Food Products and Restaurant Menu Items.” Journal of Marketing, 67, 19-34.
Milich. R., Anderson, J., Mills, M. (1976). “Effects of Visual Presentation of Caloric Values on Food Buying by Normal and Obese Persons.” Perceptual and Motor Skills, 42, 155-162.
O’Mahony, B., Hall, J. (2007). The Influence of Perceived Body Image, Vanity and Personal Values on Food Consumption and Related Behaviour. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 1(14), 68. Retrieved July 6, 2009, from http://www.atypon- link.com/AAP/doi/pdf/10.1375/jhtm.14.1.57?cookieSet=1