I recently got a notification on my Boots Advantage Card app, as you do. But this one was something that stood out to me. The notification was a promotion of their meal deals, which if promoted correctly would be something you’d expect and appreciate.
However, recently the British Government has decided to try and tackle the obesity crisis (I say with “air quotes”) with an advertising campaign promoting calorie counting. Now, it isn’t bad enough that the Government is promoting diet culture, but they are promoting something which is extremely harmful.
The campaign promotes a 400-600-600 system for calories. 400 for breakfast, 600 for lunch and then a final 600 for dinner. I’m not even going to go into the rant that is the look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max campaign. I digress.
This calorie counting system promotes an unhealthy relationship with food, and can be the lead into strict dieting and disordered eating for some. I understand as a culture and a country there may be some issues with obesity, but surely to ease the strain on the NHS you would like to encourage something slightly healthier that wouldn’t leave people on the other end of the spectrum?
This “one-size-fits-all” calorie counting campaign will not suit everyone. Everybody is different, and everyone processes calories, sugar, starch, salt, etc. differently. Instead of promoting calorie counting, why not promote a healthy amount of exercise, encourage eating your 5 a day, or even swapping that fizzy drink for a bottle of juice or water?
The campaign not only encourages calorie counting, but for a lot of people this would be running on a calorie loss. In order to lose weight, I understand some people have to eat less than the recommended daily amount, but this is a whole 400 calories less than the original recommended intake we see on the back of crisp packets.
Boots, and the British Government (because at the end of the day, it’s those in charge who are, well, in charge), I ask you, why are you encouraging disordered eating? Surely you see the strain on the NHS? Disordered eating will only take the strain away from doctors fighting obesity, and place it on mental health units when calorie counting gets taken that one step too far.
Think about your campaigns, and what you’re encouraging.