Calories on menus

I know that eating disorders are very serious and challenging conditions, both for patients and their loved ones, and I am assured that the Government is aware of concerns about the effects of measures to reduce obesity on people with eating disorders.


It is important that we strike the right balance between enabling people to make healthier food and drink choices, while not impacting negatively on those with, or recovering from, an eating disorder. I understand that an equality assessment was undertaken for the current proposals for calorie labelling at large out-of-home businesses with 250 or more employees, including on people with eating disorders.


According to the equality assessment, while some papers report that people with eating disorders order significantly fewer calories when presented with a menu with calorie labels compared to one without them, other research found no significant change in calorie consumption among those at high risk for eating pathologies in response to posting calorie labels.


Given this mixed evidence, and the fact that nearly two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, the Government has decided that, on balance, it is important to equip people with the information to make decisions about their food intake. Nonetheless, it is important that this is implemented in a manner that reduces as much as possible the effect on people with, or recovering from, eating disorders, and I will continue to monitor these proposals as they progress.