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Is requiring posting calories of menu items going to help reduce obesity?

1234689

Replies

  • debrakgoogins
    debrakgoogins Posts: 2,034 Member
    I have looked at the calorie count of something I was going to order then chose something else with a lower count but I am paying attention to my calories. Salads are a good example. At Applebee's, the salads have outrageous amounts of calories compared to other items on the menu. I don't think the average person would notice or care. It is only helpful if you are concerned about calories.
  • cheryldumais
    cheryldumais Posts: 1,907 Member
    I'm more curious to see if restaurants will start trying to making healthier food to get a better "score". On the other hand it really depends on those preparing the food to follow the right recipe. They are really just estimates anyway. I think what we eat out is only part of the problem as many have stated but as someone watching what I eat I look forward to seeing more calorie counts available.
  • JBanx256
    JBanx256 Posts: 1,468 Member
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4209007/

    Statistically, the influence of labeling calories is "weak" or "inconsistent" at best. "The review ultimately...concluded that calorie labeling was not an effective way to reduce calories purchased or consumed"

    There are also multiple studies out there regarding "vicarious goal fulfillment" where simply having healthier options on the menu causes people to actually order less-healthy options.
  • Kalex1975
    Kalex1975 Posts: 427 Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    That said places that list their calories are probably be more likely to get people who are counting calories as customers. Personally speaking when I was calorie counting I appreciated places that listed calories and was more likely to choose to eat there.

    This is definitely true in my case. I avoid places that do not have nutritional information available.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 8,847 Member
    I dont think it will solve the obesity crisis - anyone who thinks a simple measure will solve a complex problem is very naive - but I do think small steps like this will help.
    Giving people information is always good.
  • L1zardQueen
    L1zardQueen Posts: 8,754 Member
    showjack70 wrote: »
    The obesity epidemic is not a calorie math problem, so labels will do next to nothing in regards to solving the crisis.

    Please explain.
  • tbright1965
    tbright1965 Posts: 852 Member
    showjack70 wrote: »
    The obesity epidemic is not a calorie math problem, so labels will do next to nothing in regards to solving the crisis.

    I can see this in a general sense from watching human behavior.

    Even without doing math, most of us know that primarily eating fast food and sitting around watching TV isn't good for us. We know that smoking isn't good for us, or drinking to excess, or taking certain drugs and so on.

    So knowledge by itself, be it how many calories, or that something is good or bad for us isn't enough.

    People choose to ignore that information and do what feels good, or what they've always done.

    So while I agree math is a big part of it, you also have to want to do the math. Putting the information out there only helps those who want to use it. Those who are unwilling to use it will see little to no benefit.
  • showjack70
    showjack70 Posts: 57 Member
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    showjack70 wrote: »
    The obesity epidemic is not a calorie math problem, so labels will do next to nothing in regards to solving the crisis.

    What type of problem is the obesity epidemic, if not down to the fact that people take in more energy (calories) than they expend?

    I agree with the above that posting the information is not a complete solution, but awareness of calories is one of the single biggest factors for my success in losing weight and keeping it off for a few years now.

    Part of the problem is consuming too many calories. I was not saying otherwise. Apologies for the ambiguity in my prior reply.

    What I meant to convey is that overeating (and thus obesity) is not going to be solved by calorie awareness or calculating calories (i.e. calorie math) or even tracking calories somewhere like MFP. People that are obese know they eat too many calories. The vast majority of people know the basics of decent nutrition. Yet here we are in the middle of an obesity epidemic.
  • HoneyBadger302
    HoneyBadger302 Posts: 1,966 Member
    I'm sure it's been said, but no, this information will do nothing to stall the weight epidemic.

    That does NOT make it a bad thing, and personally, is something I would definitely push for.

    Anyone who IS watching their weight and/or aware of calories and what their body needs, will likely value this information. It can most certainly help lower the overall "weight" of this country.

    Anyone who doesn't care about it to begin with, still won't care. If you're obese, and haven't/aren't bothering to watch your weight, you probably don't know what you actually need in daily calories anyways, making the information pretty meaningless to those people.
  • tbright1965
    tbright1965 Posts: 852 Member
    Everything in moderation, sure. No argument.

    But for those who don't practice moderation, are they more likely to over consume calories eating Big Macs or Kale?

    I thought my point was obvious. But yes, there is always the college professor who lost weight eating mostly snack cakes because he was in a calorie deficit.

    But the difference between him and the other 99.44% of people (made up number) is that he was adding up the calories and going for, IIRC, 2000 calories/day.

    So if you are not going to do the math, then you should probably be choosing your food from a set of choices that make it hard to overconsume.

    Fast food and even restaurant salads (Thinking of that Real Men of Genius commercial celebrating the inventor of the Taco Salad right about now) make it easy to consume more calories than you need.
    MikePTY wrote: »
    showjack70 wrote: »
    The obesity epidemic is not a calorie math problem, so labels will do next to nothing in regards to solving the crisis.

    I can see this in a general sense from watching human behavior.

    Even without doing math, most of us know that primarily eating fast food and sitting around watching TV isn't good for us. We know that smoking isn't good for us, or drinking to excess, or taking certain drugs and so on.

    So knowledge by itself, be it how many calories, or that something is good or bad for us isn't enough.

    People choose to ignore that information and do what feels good, or what they've always done.

    So while I agree math is a big part of it, you also have to want to do the math. Putting the information out there only helps those who want to use it. Those who are unwilling to use it will see little to no benefit.

    The thing is for that first part you mentioned, "eating fast food", it's not really true. We've been trained to think that fast food is the worst food out there for you, and while it's certainly not "health food", for a weight gain perspective, that isn't true. A salad or pasta dish at a family style restaurants can have far more calories than a Big Mac and medium fries. Most people don't know that, and calorie counts on menus can help at least a few of them realize it.

  • showjack70
    showjack70 Posts: 57 Member
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    showjack70 wrote: »
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    showjack70 wrote: »
    The obesity epidemic is not a calorie math problem, so labels will do next to nothing in regards to solving the crisis.

    What type of problem is the obesity epidemic, if not down to the fact that people take in more energy (calories) than they expend?

    I agree with the above that posting the information is not a complete solution, but awareness of calories is one of the single biggest factors for my success in losing weight and keeping it off for a few years now.

    Part of the problem is consuming too many calories. I was not saying otherwise. Apologies for the ambiguity in my prior reply.

    What I meant to convey is that overeating (and thus obesity) is not going to be solved by calorie awareness or calculating calories (i.e. calorie math) or even tracking calories somewhere like MFP. People that are obese know they eat too many calories. The vast majority of people know the basics of decent nutrition. Yet here we are in the middle of an obesity epidemic.

    We get countless people on these boards who have no idea that calories in calories out is the basic energy equation and think that somehow insulin or eating a particular type of food (carbs, sugar, etc) is what makes them overweight, not that they eat too many calories in general.

    I agree that calorie awareness is not a magic bullet for the obesity epidemic - however, tracking calories absolutely can be a solution for individuals, just look at the success stories in these forums at how many people finally were able to overcome a lifetime of yo yo dieting and weight struggles by understanding and accepting that a calorie deficit is what's required for weight loss and after the weight is gone, a focus on eating to your maintenance calories is what's required for long term success.

    Losing weight is simple. It isn't easy. But in order to make it easier, we should offer every possible tool that could help people be successful.

    I stumbled upon MFP exactly this way. I went out for an over the top dinner with my husband. Afterwards we were trying to guess at how many calories we had just eaten. I started googling, found my way to the MFP database totally by accident, after verifying that the meal probably had upwards of 2000 calories each, I decided to set up an account and start logging my food. That was around 2,100 days of consecutive logging ago, I lost the weight I set out to lose and have kept it off for multiple years.

    So I absolutely believe that calorie awareness, even if a person isn't a diligent calorie counter right now, can be the spark that helps someone wake up to the realization that whether you "count" them or not, your body counts them.

    I appreciate your thoughts and your story. Congratulations on your weight loss success! That is tremendous. The stats for keeping the weight off long term (5+ years) are quite depressing. Something like 5% of people are able to do it. And you have done it!

    Logging for life makes me cringe... Especially since we dine out a lot. I am curious why you still log. Surely you know the calories/macros of a meal at a glance by now? I would assume you have decent to strong eating habits and nutritional knowledge at this point? What if you are hungrier than usual in a given day? Do you still hold yourself to allotted calories?