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



  • ilfaith
    ilfaith Posts: 16,770 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.)
  • VeryKatie
    VeryKatie Posts: 5,949 Member
    edited August 2019
    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.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,968 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.
  • Tedebearduff
    Tedebearduff Posts: 1,155 Member

    This is already in Canada all restaurants have to post their calories for everything. It's relevant IMO and helps when making choices.
  • ElfBodGoals
    ElfBodGoals Posts: 33 Member
    I honestly wish any restaurant with more than one location would be required to at least reveal the caloric value for their food. I'm more likely to eat somewhere if they're straightforward about that, and I don't think it hurts to have that little window for people to see what they're putting in their body.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,968 Member
    I asked the waiter at an Indian restaurant how many calories were in the dinner I ordered once. He went into the kitchen, then came back to say 500. For paneer tika masala with rice, naan, and chai.
  • L1zardQueen
    L1zardQueen Posts: 8,754 Member
    500 is a nice round number :p
  • vanityy99
    vanityy99 Posts: 2,583 Member

    This is already in Canada all restaurants have to post their calories for everything. It's relevant IMO and helps when making choices.

    I hate numbers. I wish they didn’t start that *kitten* here.
  • bb_twins
    bb_twins Posts: 11 Member
    Only for those individuals who are wanting to use it to lose weight. -those who are actively trying AND know what to do with the caloric information.
  • cbstewart88
    cbstewart88 Posts: 453 Member
    I can't speak for other people, but for me - it is helpful. It helps me to make choices and has been eye-opening on many occasions. Sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised that an item has far fewer calories than I thought. And more often than not - it goes the other way. I was getting a coffee the other day. They had some delicious-looking cookies at the register. I was tempted and looked at the calorie count. 450 calories!! That is a meal for me. So I thought: I can have a cookie for my entire lunch or not. At that particular time I choose not.

    As with anything - it is a personal choice how and even if to use information...of any kind.

  • Melwillbehealthy
    Melwillbehealthy Posts: 892 Member


    This is already in Canada all restaurants have to post their calories for everything. It's relevant IMO and helps when making choices. [/quote]

    I’m not sure about that. It’s only posted in a few chain restaurants where I live. Most of the restaurants here are privately owned and run, and don’t have nutritional guides. I’d love it if they did. I find it very useful when they do, and will often choose “Timmy’s”, because it takes the stress out of calorie counting. Some days I just want someone else to do the math.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,682 Member
    It is helpful for people who are actively trying to lose or maintain their weight and have some idea of comparative calorie values and daily needs. People who don't care about losing or maintaining weight will just ignore the numbers. I've talked about it with my husband. He is utterly indifferent to nutrition and calories. He eats what he likes and doesn't worry about the result. Since he doesn't like vegetables, he won't eat them even though he 'knows' that they are good for him. He just doesn't care. Since I do all the cooking, his weight is mostly stable. When we go out, I tend to get the lower calorie foods or at least bypass the higher calorie ones. He doesn't care and doesn't even read the calorie label.

    It has made going out to dinner less fun. No more 800 calorie desserts. No more 1/2 lb. hamburgers with three kinds of cheese. No more 1600 calorie breakfasts. At least for me.
  • teresa19622015
    teresa19622015 Posts: 34 Member
    Having labels that say x calories per 100g is useless. I wouldn’t have 100g of Bovril. I don’t know what 100g of crisps looks like. If it’s a single serving pack just say what that serving is.
    On menus I would find it very helpful. Im eating out tomorrow and I’m wondering how to calculate the meal. Though I’m not convinced these calorie counts will be accurate unless the chef weighs out all the portions each time, but a guide would help. And even at McDonalds - on the really odd time I go I can fit it into my daily allowance if I know how many calories!
  • Jackie_Paper
    Jackie_Paper Posts: 183 Member
    Seeing the numbers there on the board has definitely made my change my mind about what I was about to order, many times.
  • Analog_Kid
    Analog_Kid Posts: 976 Member
    Requiring the posting of calories of menu items is not going to help reduce obesity. We live in a 'feel good' world. The craving to feel good is too strong for most people. And, of course, anything that makes us 'feel bad' is always someone else's fault.