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

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  • ilfaithilfaith Posts: 16,381Member Member Posts: 16,381Member Member
    For me, knowing the calorie content certainly has an impact on what I will order from a restaurant menu.

    Years ago, my favorite thing to get at Starbucks was their lemon pound cake. Then they started posting nutrition information and I learned a slice had 490 calories...which is a significant percentage of what I can (or should) eat in a day. While I have ordered a slice of the lemon loaf since (it is still delicious after all), it has only been when I have had a couple of my kids around to share it.

    When I eat at a chain restaurant like Cheesecake Factory, which does print calorie counts on its menu, I am horrified by the numbers. There are entrees that contain more calories than I ordinarily consume in a day. Being short, and no-longer-young, and preferring to maintain a weight at the lower end of what is "healthy" I don't have much margin of error. I generally order off their "light" menu, ("light" being relative). But I must be in the minority, because I see most other patrons happily munching away on their thousand calorie entrees, preceded by appetizers, accompanied by sodas and frothy cocktails, and of course, followed by cheesecake for dessert. I don't judge...perhaps some of them have Michael Phelps level training regimens, and need the calories. But I suspect the majority just don't care. I don't deny anyone a splurge meal, and obviously, other people's diets are none of my business.

    So while I think printing calorie contents on menus is a fantastic idea, I don't know if is going to have much impact on the obesity epidemic. While it will benefit those who are already trying to take control of their health, I think more people are just looking to get more bang for their buck in terms of enormous portions and flavorful food laden with salt, sugar, and fat. (My biggest issue with restaurant meals is salt. I tend to be sensitive to sodium and more often than not, if I eat in a restaurant, my fingers will swell to the point where I cannot get my rings off, and the number on the scale will be up a few pounds in the morning.)
  • GrizzledSquirrelGrizzledSquirrel Posts: 25Member Member Posts: 25Member Member
    I don’t know. However, I always underestimate the knowledge many people have re: the basic calorific content of individual foods, let alone dishes. For example:

    “I used olive oil to roast my veg. That’s part of a mediterranean diet. You don’t get overweight on a mediterranean diet” (1tbl of olive oil = 120 calories)

    “Avocados are really good for you - I just had one for a snack smashed on some wholewheat toast” (430 calories - i.e. c. 2 x mars bar)

    “I ordered a salad rather than a burger - I’ll lose weight, right?” (Burger = 500 cals, Caesar Salad = 1200 calories)

    “Smoothies are full of nutrients and great for recovery. I whizzed up milk, banana, berries and a spoonful of protein powder - it was delicious” (Smoothie = 450 cals, cycling for 30 mins at the gym burned 300 calories).

    Now, don’t get me wrong - I don’t suggest that people should choose mars bars and burgers - and reject nutrient rich, wholesome foods merely due to their calorie content BUT with all the “advice” out there on how to lose weight, it is easy to think you are making the right choices for weight loss when you’re only considering half the story.

    Having calories clearly visible on ALL foods - especially on menus (when you’re making direct comparisons and choices) not only helps with an immediate decision, but also helps to educate on where calories are found in food. This raises awareness in general which can only be a good thing, no?

    And by the way - I am speaking as somebody who has learnt the hard way countless times before becoming highly aware - e.g. what do you mean, a single date contains 70 calories? I mean, dates are “natural” and have no added sugar, right? I bought a pack of them instead of some sweets to chomp in front of the TV because I am being “good”. How can they possibly make me fat?

    *sigh*
  • VeryKatieVeryKatie Posts: 5,432Member Member Posts: 5,432Member Member
    It would help me as long as its correct and not understated like most restaurants. If it helps me it might help some. But for anyone who doesnt want to lise weight or keep it in mind it probably wont. Its still needs the reader to care or it wont work. And it has to be presented as the entire dish. Not the dish without sides and sauces or for 100 g.
    edited August 13
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 8,948Member Member Posts: 8,948Member Member
    kpsyche wrote: »
    it could also potentially open the door for lawsuits - someone misreads the posted calorie count and gains weight...and therefore its the restaurants fault (oh wait - didn't that happen with Chipotle)

    Couldn't that work the other way as well? "I assumed that the chicken burger was low in calories and you didn't tell me otherwise and I ended up fat.. wahhhh... you now owe me $1 million for pain and suffering"

    It's rare that you can sue somebody and win because you made a bad assumption. What you're describing isn't a winning case, I don't think you could find a lawyer to represent you unless you paid by the hour.
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