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If you knew that the blueberry muffin you had this morning contained 438 calories, would you have thought twice before choosing it to go with your coffee? If calories had been shown on the menu might it have influenced the pizza or pasta you selected for dinner last night?

When Michael Bloomberg was mayor of New York City, he led the way with policies to enforce calorie labelling on menus. Many states followed suit, and this year the labelling will finally become mandatory across the USA for chains with more than 20 outlets. In the UK, around 70% of high street coffee shops, quick-serve restaurants and other chains now label the calorie content of their products too, albeit on a voluntary basis.

It’s easy to support nutritional labelling as a consumer right, to allow people who want this information to make informed choices about what they eat. But it’s been less clear whether labelling actually leads to a reduction in the calories we eat.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, written by Susan Jebb, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, and Theresa Marteau, Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of Cambridge. 

Oxford is a subscribing member of The ConversationFind out how you can write for The Conversation.

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