The Daily Telegraph

Canteens ‘must swap burgers for chicken to cut calories’


CANTEENS should swap bacon and cheese beefburger­s for grilled chicken alternativ­es to help workers lose weight, a study has found.

Researcher­s tweaked the menus of 19 workplaces for six months to cut portion size and replace fatty options.

Cafeterias at major distributi­on centres of a UK supermarke­t chain serving more than 350 people used tills to record how much food was bought.

The workers were largely male, with an average age of 39 and 96 per cent worked in manual, non-managerial roles. The researcher­s first targeted the unhealthie­st item in seven categories, including cold drinks and snacks, swapping them for a healthier version. After two months, the researcher­s also cut the portion sizes of four categories – main meals, sides, desserts and bakery – by 10 per cent.

Simply removing an unhealthy option and offering a less calorific alternativ­e led to a 4.8 per cent reduction in calories purchased daily.

When also reducing portion size, the amount of calories per person from the canteen fell 11.5 per cent. For the typical worker, this would be equal to eating about 50 calories fewer per day.

Dr James Reynolds from the University of Cambridge, said: “If cafeterias in workplaces, schools and universiti­es implemente­d our changes it could help reduce overconsum­ption of calories and reduce obesity.”

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