Debate: Are fat receipts a good idea?

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Supermarkets may soon list the fat content of your groceries on your bill

YES

SIMON GELLER

Editor, `Men's Health'

It's a great idea - the more information you can give consumers the better. Men, in particular, aren't that clued up when it comes to reading labels and I suspect that because this is a gimmicky idea, it might encourage them to actually read the information. If men are more aware of what is good and what is bad for them they will think about what benefits they are getting from the food they eat. At Men's Health we won't tell our readers not to drink beer, but if we run an article on it, we will point out which beers have fewer calories.

NO

SUSIE ORBACH

Author, `Fat is a Feminist Issue'

These receipts might be produced to provide nutritional information, but the people who read them will use them as reassurance that they are being good, or batter themselves for being bad. This whole idea side-steps the issue of how we relate to our appetites and the effects our industrially- based agriculture has on our diet. People need to know how to interpret this information. Fatty foods aren't bad unless taken in excess. Obesity is a social phenomenon - people eat compulsively as an outlet for other problems. Banning dieting would be more beneficial.

NO

JO BRAND

Comedian

Fat receipts are a good idea for people who are obsessed with what they eat. They'll probably all be jumping up and down going yippee, but not me. This is yet another way of encouraging the obsessed to become more obsessed. Normal people won't read them, unless they're in prison with nothing better to do. People know that chips are bad for them and fruit is good. What we need is encouragement to do more exercise. Cities need to be less threatening so women aren't afraid to go for a run.

NO

ANTHONY WORRALL THOMPSON

TV Chef, BBC `Food and Drink'

I would hate to see fat receipts - they would take all the pleasure out of food. I'm more keen to stop false labelling of food - products that claim to be 85 per cent fat free, when 5 per cent is a pretty high fat content. If the government really wants to combat obesity it needs to start with kids. They eat far too many chips and processed foods which are high in sugar and salts. We are a nation of slobs and the truth is if we were more active, we could eat more fat. Everything in moderation is my motto, with a little in excess.

YES

CLAIRE CROWTHER

`Slimming World'

I think this is a good idea and will encourage people to look at what they are eating - especially the optimistic buyers, people who think they know what sensible nutritional levels are and believe they eat properly. For them it's a good reality check to see that rather than getting a healthy 30 per cent of their calories from fat, they are actually getting 50 per cent. You've got nowhere to hide with a till receipt. But just providing this information without interpretation could be pretty depressing. You have to teach people what it means.

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