Ever wondered how many calories were in your favourite restaurant’s ‘healthy’ salads?

We told you a few months ago that local restaurants could soon be made to reveal the nutritional value of their dishes – and it looks like the initiative is still moving forward.

The Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Municipality are working together on a policy to make it compulsory for restaurants to write the calorie content next to each dish in the menu, an official has confirmed.

The move is designed to help diners make healthier choices, in a country where obesity is on the rise.

“The move will help promote the concept of mindful eating and will deter people from frequently opting for high calorie meals,” Dr Waffa Ayesh, director of clinical nutrition at DHA, told The National this week.

“Globally obesity rates are growing while dependence on outside eating has increased from an occasional weekend meal to eating out on a more frequent basis.

“More information is better than less or no information.”

According to the World Health Organisation, around 66 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women in the UAE are classified as either overweight or obese. 

There’s no word yet, however, on when the initiative will be rolled out, or if every restaurant in the city (even the finest dining ones) will have to comply. Ayesh did reveal that the plan will be rolled out in phases, and that similar policies across the world have seen successful outcomes.

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“We are working on developing a policy whereby majority of the restaurants will be required to write the calorie count along with the listed price. This will empower people to make a choice,” Dr Manal Taryam, CEO of Public Healthcare Services, told Khaleej Times last year.

“There should be a strategy and it should be handled by the government.”

As well as the UAE’s shocking obesity statistics, a staggering 10 per cent of the world’s diabetics come from the Gulf region, which stems from obesity.


Would calorie markings on menu help control the obesity crisis? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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Images: Getty