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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Qatar revives idea of compelling eateries to show food calorie contents

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A US fast food outlet displays the calories in its meals.
A US fast food outlet displays the calories in its meals.

Authorities are revisiting the idea of requiring all eating establishments in Qatar to required to display the ingredients and calorific content of their meals, in a bid to improve the nation’s health.

Speaking yesterday on National Sport Day, Public Health Minister Abdullah bin Khaled Al Qahtani said that changes to the law were being studied so consumers would have the nutritional value and calorie content of food sold at restaurants, the Peninsula reports.

He added that the ministry was also working with the Supreme Education Council (SEC) to ensure that school canteens only sell healthy food, aimed at trying to stem the growing problem of childhood obesity in the country.

This is not the first time that authorities have talked about giving consumers more information, to help them make healthier meal choices when eating out.

Previous plans

Nearly three years ago, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) said it was set to order all fast food outlets to list their ingredients and calorie value on their menus or on a chart on a wall.

A comedic take at ordering fast food.
A comedic take at ordering fast food.

This request was issued after Central Municipal Council members called for disclosure of such information, and was expected to have come into force by mid-2012. However, the proposal never came to fruition.

Over the past several years, parts of the US and UK, as well as several others countries, have required particularly fast-food and snack outlets to display calorie information.

Qatar is under increasing pressure to take steps to tackle the obesity and health crisis facing its population, as more than three-quarters of its adult population are considered overweight or obese, according to an international study led by the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle published last year.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s diabetes rate is one of the highest in the world, as nearly a quarter of residents here live with the disease, which can increase the risk of health complications such as kidney disease and blindness, as well as shortened lifespans, according to the International Diabetes Association.

Thoughts?

38 COMMENTS

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Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  Deepak Babu

Most of the DN articles are about Qatar Mulling something, and end with “Thoughts?”…

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago

I dare say that is because many forum members demonstrate critical and analytical thought through their postings. Ask for ‘thoughts’ from a number of people in the streets of Qatar will be met with deafening silence. 🙁

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago

I think they are well aware of the meaning of those 2 words and haven’t misused it. I don’t see the relevance of you linking those definitions to this article.

Student
Student
6 years ago

Done with laws being revisited, proposed, consider, looked over, and most importantly “mulled”. Newsworthy: law being implemented and enforced.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

Interesting idea, but this is already required in a number of countries, such as the US, and I don’t see the evidence for it having a significant impact.

Other actions, such as banning transfats, making smoking incredibly inconvenient and expensive, increasing physical activities in schools, etc. have been shown to have a meaningful impact.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

So true, it’s shown worldover that you cannot expect majority consumers to lead a healthy lifestyles on their own behest, so you have to take it back to the source.

Food producers, on the most part, will do whatever they can to cut costs regardless of the impact, so regulation needs to be in place to FORCE change to the food chain.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

Funny how they don’t try to deal with the root of some of the problems due to powerful lobbyists. If the US gov’t didn’t subsidize things like corn so heavily and subsidized other healthy crops it might help. The US now has what they call “food deserts” where some neighborhoods don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables unless they take two buses to get to a proper supermarket (if they find the time between their two jobs). In the states the public is becoming more aware yet the companies are becoming more sneaky (and sometimes immoral). If you havent seen it youtube the weight watchers 2015 superbowl commercial it captures the junkfood addiction perfectly.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

Please don’t, let me eat my burger in blissful ignorance

MarkDoha
MarkDoha
6 years ago

This is a good start, desperately needed, but it needs to go hand-in-hand with education. There’s poor levels of awareness around nutrition. I’ve been involved in a number of studies and there’s a disconnect between food, food groups, calories, recommended daily intake and exercise. As part of the Action on Diabetes, Maersk Desert Challenge I once had to consecutively run the distance to burn the same calories a burger, chocolate bar and then an apple. I’m not saying that everyone should do that, but the very direct connection and sense of perspective that gave me was very powerful.

sadam
sadam
6 years ago

Hey! How about making Fresh Fruit Juice default choice for drinks! just incase you idiots ran out of ideas.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  sadam

The calorie display would be a good tool for you. Try to compare the calories on a glass of fresh juice to a diet coke and you will be in for a rude surprise.

Bo
Bo
6 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu

Agree with the calories, but the substitute additives don’t offer much health benefits.
Although you’re reducing the waistlines with the suggestion, they’ll be no smiling – not with your teetch having fallen out…

Handy tip though – if you got a particularly dirty sink – diet coke and normal coke work a treat to remove the tough grime

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  Bo

http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/tooth.asp

The whole teeth thing is an urban myth. Interesting part is the last bit, where Orange or Lemon Juice will dissolve your tooth faster than Coke will.

Also, the article is about calories, so yes, Diet Soda or even regular Soda will be lower calorie option than most Fresh Juices. Of course, the best option would be water, but diet soda’s are a decent in between cheat option that wont hurt people who need to lose weight.

Bo
Bo
6 years ago
Reply to  sadam

Fresh juice is a terrible choice – speak to a nutritionist – the sugar content is not good. Water or sugar-free squash/cordial would be a better “default”. Then making a choice to drink juice, fizzy pop, coffee.

Heisenberg
Heisenberg
6 years ago

What a useless idea.
When I want to eat a burger I don’t think about calories, I think about my graving.
I eat now , I regret later.

Shabzed
Shabzed
6 years ago
Reply to  Heisenberg

An idea useless to you may be useful to many others.

Heisenberg
Heisenberg
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabzed

I agree, but this is my opinion.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

On a long enough time line we are all dead, probably the biggest contribution to leading a long and healthy life is being happy and all things in moderation.

The government should stay out of my business and I’ll lead my life as I see fit

JR77
JR77
6 years ago

No one knows what the number of calories actually means…but everyone knows what number of minutes you have to run to burn those calories (or that burger) means…it was tested and proven much bigger impact 🙂

Bo
Bo
6 years ago
Reply to  JR77

I think its a good idea but i don’t believe it will ever be implemented.

Calories are a constant measure and dependent on the item of food.

Running is variable and dependent on each individual. What is you general metabolism like? How old are you? Are you male or female? How tall and heavy are you? How fast are you running? etc.

That’s why i think better education is required to help people understand about health, exercise and how the different things we eat impact our bodies. When people can understand food and exercise on their own bodies then they can interpret themselves that if a glass of orange juice contains 112 calories and 9g of sugar then they should do 15 minutes at the gym and not have that last donut nobody else wants in the office.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
6 years ago

While in hospital in Doha I was given terrible sugary uht drinks with 5% real juice, fried spring rolls, white sweet fluffy bread, salty fatty meats and mushy over boiled vegetables. What surprised me was that the medical service I received in Hamad was fantastic but there was no link between nutritious, healthy food being medicine for your body, even in a hospital.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

Go to the diabetes clinic in HMC and right outside the entrance is a vending machine stuffed with complete inappropriate snacks ….

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

Maybe because it’s a vending machine?

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Althani

Lol .. Seems like it wasn’t that obvious to Michael

Rodd
Rodd
6 years ago

How will the display of calories impact on those of us who sit in the car and honk horn or send driver to collect the food?

Reem M
Reem M
6 years ago
Reply to  Rodd

the menu will show in the driveway but it still helps though even if not for everyone taking small steps is the key to solving the problem

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  Rodd

I don’t think it’s required for that demographic :p

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

“Upsize Sir?”, “With cheese?”, “Onion rings?” I sometimes wonder if the people serving at fast food outlets are colluding with a certain Mr Lou Cypher.

Blue
Blue
6 years ago

Whew!!! Last month they were contemplating increasing the price of fast food – would skew the full Big Mac index.

Calorie info is fine however awareness sessions are required in educating the public on them.

Now I’d like to be ‘Podgy’ :-/

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago

Difficult to see the board from the car………………………….

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

All packaged food have the calories on it. I don’t think that has helped deter people From eating them. Plus most people don’t know the significance of eating 300 calories unless they have experienced how much excersise they have to do to lose the 300 calories.

The other issue is that health is not just about weightloss, not all calories are equal. Calorie counting without proper knowledge can lead to focusing on the wrong thing, unhealthy weightloss. Some people might start eating one meal a day, a 500 calorie burger and lose weight when they should be cutting out sugar and junk.

MN
MN
6 years ago

Calorie counts on fast-food menus are like warning labels on cigarette packs… Useless.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  MN

They are NOT useless. They take from you the chance to SUE the manufacturer. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about protecting you, it’s about protecting the producer from being sued in court if, as a result of consuming his goods, you suffer an illness or disability. Sue yourself from now on.

MarkDoha
MarkDoha
6 years ago

From memory it was an approximation – average adult, running at 6mph will burn 550 calories per hour. Bigmac is 750Kcal, chocolate bar 350Kcal, apple 50kcal, so distance would need to be just over 12 miles run in 2 hours.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  MarkDoha

Yeah, that sounds about right. Education like that on nutrition on a widespread scale would definitely be an eye opener for many and accompanying that along with the food calorie contents might help the few who are actually determined to help themselves.

Coco
Coco
6 years ago

Just force them to add a video of “How things are made” (i.e. burgers, nuggets, etc.). If people still choose to eat it after that…let’s just call it (un)natural selection 🙂

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