Have you walked off your pizza?

دوره: انگلیسی شش دقیقه ای / درس 141

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Have you walked off your pizza?

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Is food labelling clear enough to help us make healthy choices? Alice and Neil discuss chocolate chip muffins along with some other tasty vocabulary

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Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript.

Alice Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Alice…

Neil And I’m Neil.

Alice What are you eating, Neil?

Neil It’s a chocolate chip muffin.

Alice How many calories do you think it contains?

Neil I have no idea.

Alice Check the packet.

Neil It’s hard to find the calorie content amongst all the other information here. Ah, here we go: 450.

Alice That’s a lot! Are you sure you should be eating that?

Neil Why not? I expect I cycled off quite a few calories on the way to work.

Alice Well, that depends on the length of your journey and how much energy you expended - or used up. Now, on today’s show we’re talking about food and the exercise it takes to burn off calories. And I have a question for you, Neil: How long would you have to walk to burn off the calories in a quarter of a large pizza? Is it… a) 33 minutes? b) 53 minutes? c) 83 minutes?

Neil I’ll go for a) 33 minutes. That sounds quite enough considering if you ate the whole pizza it would mean walking for 132 minutes to burn off - or use - the calories. And that’s over two hours!

Alice Well, we’ll find out later on whether you got the answer right or not, Neil. But be warned - people are bad at estimating how many calories there are in food. Now, the Royal Society for Public Health here in the UK is concerned that people don’t read the information on food packaging because the text is so dense - it means, tightly packed.

Neil Well, I never look at food labelling when I’m shopping for food. How about you, Alice?

Alice Well, personally, I like to make an informed choice about what I put in my body, Neil! And informed means based on an understanding of the facts. So I spend a lot of time reading the packaging. And I think the current traffic lights are a great idea.

Neil Traffic lights? What are you talking about?

Alice It’s where food content is colour-coded red, orange or green - like traffic lights - depending on its percentage of fat, sugar, and salt. So you can see at a glance which pizza on the supermarket shelf is better for you. This helps the consumer to make an informed choice.

Neil To see at a glance means to understand something immediately. Well, my informed choice is based on which pizza has the most pepperoni on it. I had no idea food companies were putting traffic lights on their food packaging!

Alice Yes, and that’s not all, Neil. There are now plans to put an icon - or simple picture - of someone running plus the time it would take to burn off the calories contained in a particular food item on the front of packaging. Let’s hear what some consumers on the streets of London thought about this idea.

INSERT People in London
MAN: I would think twice about buying crisps if I have to run 19 minutes just to burn the calories I ate. WOMAN: I’d either consider working out those 19 minutes or not eating the crisps at all.

Alice Two people who would think twice about whether to buy crisps if they knew how long it would take to burn off the calories.

Neil And think twice means to think carefully about doing something before you do it. But, to be honest, I want freedom to do what I feel like. Even if they put a label on the food I think I’d exercise if I wanted to exercise, but I think I’d still have a packet of crisps if I wanted a packet of crisps.

Alice That’s fine so long as you are clear about how active you need to be to eat what you do and not put on weight.

Neil But a healthy diet isn’t just about calories is it? I wouldn’t need to cycle to work to burn off a diet cola, but drinking a fresh orange juice would be a healthier choice - even though it contains more calories.

Alice Well, that’s a good point. Let’s listen now to Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive at the Royal Society for Public Health, talking about why she thinks the new labelling is necessary.

INSERT Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive, Royal Society for Public Health We’ve got 60% of the UK population either overweight or obese. We have a very, very urgent problem. We have a growing population, literally, and we need to have a lot of tools in our toolbox, a lot of new strategies, I think, in order to support people to make good choices.

Neil Shirley Cramer of the Royal Society of Public Health. So, she says we need lots of tools - or strategies -to help tackle obesity in the UK. And linking energy content in food to physical activity is just one tool in the toolbox, so to speak.

Alice Indeed. Now, I think it’s time for the answer to today’s quiz question, Neil. I asked you: How long would you have to walk to burn off the calories in a quarter of a large pizza? Is it… a) 33 minutes? b) 53 minutes? Or c) 83 minutes?

Neil And I said a) 33 minutes.

Alice And you underestimated, I’m afraid, Neil! The answer is c) 83 minutes. This figures comes from Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health. Writing in the British Medical Journal, she argues that food should be labelled with the equivalent exercise needed to burn off its calories. This would give consumers an immediate link between food’s energy content and physical activity that might help to reduce obesity.

Neil Note, Alice, that I’ve put my muffin to one side. You’ve convinced me to eat more healthily and I’ll be eating a green salad for lunch.

Alice I’ll believe that when I see it, Neil. OK, here are the words we learned today: expended burn off dense informed see at a glance icon think twice tool

Neil Well, that’s the end of this edition of 6 Minute English. Join us again soon. Meanwhile visit our website bbclearningenglish.com, where you’ll find guides to grammar, exercises videos and articles to read and improve your English.

Both Bye!

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