Would You Like a Calorie Count with those Fries?

Did you know that the new health care reform bill includes a little provision that requires chain restaurants to visibly post calorie counts?  Sometime next year we will no longer be able to eat our burger and fries without knowing the potential damage to our diet.  No longer can we hide our heads in the fast-food sand.

Personally, I think this is a great idea.  When I am eating healthy, I usually avoid these restaurants, but on my recent road trip vacation I stopped at several.  And I was shocked the other night to discover a salad option had twice as many calories as the sub sandwich I was avoiding.  Knowing the nutritional information would help me make the healthiest eating decision, if that is my goal in the moment.  And if I want to indulge and ignore the facts, I can.

What do you think about this new law?



Filed under food, restaurant/social eating

29 responses to “Would You Like a Calorie Count with those Fries?

  1. I think it is a fantastic idea, and I would strongly support it if it ever came to Australia
    .-= Hear Mum Roar´s last blog ..Learning through everyday play =-.

  2. I think it’s a great idea as well!

    The only thing I really have an issue with is that the majority of the people that typically eat at a fast food restaurant on a regular basis are low-income folks. I’m NOT making any judgment here, trust me as we right now are on the lower income scale as well, isn’t most of America these days? But back to my point, lower income folk eat there on a regular basis because it’s cheap, and sadly, what they can afford to eat. Now if we could get a filling, healthier meal for the exact same price somewhere else, I’m sure they’d give it a try. Especially now, considering these new provisions for the chain restaurants.

    Just like someone I know just recently asked “Why is it that you can go to a grocery store and buy one bag of chips and get 2 bags free, but you NEVER see any of the same deals with, say, broccoli??

    I wish I knew what the answer to that dilemma was. I think it leaves everyone scratching their heads. 😦
    .-= Ren Michele´s last blog ..2005 Trip to Puerto Rico =-.

    • Karen

      I want those deals on veggies too! You make an interesting observation about income; I had not thought about that or realized that.

  3. As a dieter, I really like it. Knowing what the calorie counts are for certain food items doesn’t deter me from eating at a particular restaurant per say, but it does help me make better food choices. I do hope people start to make better choices because of it.

    As a libertarian I don’t like the idea of gov’t forcing regulations on private industry. 😉
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..All about what’s next =-.

    • Karen

      Usually I agree about that government thing. And I am sure the restaurants will be less than pleased. And, there are tons of exceptions to who has to participate. But selfishly, I like this big brother imposition.

  4. Tina

    I think the idea is a grand one but I fear there will be hidden numbers that will totally hurt everyone in the long run.

    If the numbers posted in the establishments are true #’s then it will help me from having to research options before I leave the house…

    Having to research meals before I leave the house is depressing to me and I usually end up not going out or going and just eating whatever…. so seing cals posted would be a good thing as long as they are true to the count.

  5. I really have mixed feeling about it. One thing I don’t like it that I don’t think the workers at fast food places or chain restaurants are too concerned with that in their rush to get out the order. My point being…it’s not really measured. There was some study a few years back and they found that calorie counts were not right at all. The concern then is that “dieters” are eating whatever it is thinking…oh I’m fine since this fits into my calorie range….where in fact it may not be.

    The good side to it…is that it would at least give you a ballpark estimate, so you can decide if you really want to eat whatever it is.

    I wanted to tell you to that your posts are still a day behind in my email 😦 I know that has got to be driving you crazy…
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Sign Me Up!!! =-.

    • Karen

      Lisa – I just included a link in the previous comment about a post I did that talked about that very thing. I found it amazing that the counts could be so off.

      Thanks for telling me about those delayed posts. My husband told me his was not coming on time. I have no idea what to do with this darn subscriptions stuff. (Hands tearing hair out.)

  6. I like it too. This is a thought provoking post. Thanks for starting the conversation.
    .-= JourneyBeyondSurvival´s last blog ..No More Bacon Impromptu Guest Post =-.

  7. I don’t see anything wrong with providing the “average” calorie count for food items for consumers. I know for me finding out that fish and chips had 80+ grams of fat convinced me to stop ordering it, long before I changed over to completely healthy way of eating. Will it change the behavior of the entire country?

    Research has been done on this very issue (giving consumers calorie info in restaurants) and the findings are +/-. While adults do tend to cut back at those establishments, some studies show they make up for their consumption at other times. A recent study looking at this issue with parents of kids showed that given a McDonald’s menu with calorie info, parents selected lower calorie choices for their children. Consumers have indicated a desire to know the nutritional content of food in dining establishments. Revenue of restaurants has not been effected by in any study that looked at this outcome.

    Bottom line – this cannot hurt; knowledge is power; Americans are stupid about food; better, affordable choices should be made available.
    .-= Sskar´s last blog ..Easter’s On Its Way ♪♫ =-.

    • Karen

      I had not seen that research; interesting. I am going to guess that most people who walk in the fast food door do so because they want the unhealthy stuff, not to find healthy options.

  8. Here in Canada we do have nutritional info available at these types of restaurants, but not necessarily in a “visible” location. Usually it’s a pamphlet or something. But a lot of them do have a poster on the wall with the info. I’ve NEVER actually seen anyone look at it though!!!(although I rarely ever eat at fast food places anymore.) People say they want to know the nutritional breakdown of these foods, but usually the people that eat at fast food restaurants are the ones that don’t really want to know. For example, the McDonalds here in Canada several years ago started a line of food items that were “light”, due to consumer demand. But shortly after they discontinued it because nobody ever ordered them!!!

    • Karen

      Yes – this has to be posted front and center. But no one has to look! I agree with you, many don’t want to know. They know enough. Funny that McD’s tried that with no success.

  9. I like the idea. I’ve cut out fast food almost entirely this year (I think I had chicken nuggets once and a milkshake another time; haven’t been to one otherwise), but it would be nice to access that type of information easily when I’m on the go!
    .-= Weightlessly´s last blog ..A loss =-.

  10. When we made the rare trip to McDs I would always get two regular sized hamburgers. That came to 500 calories so wasn’t too bad. Well calorie wise it wasn’t too bad. Nutrition wise it was.
    .-= Daphne´s last blog ..Get Growing in April =-.

    • Karen

      And the reality is that calorie-wise a small fry isn’t that bad either:) And Egg McMuffins are not bad at all! So how nice to know that a salad might actually have twice the calories as the burger.

  11. sunnydaze

    I think the new law is great – those that want to know can look – those who don’t can ignore. At least there will be an option.

  12. I wonder, will it work? What percentage of people who eat at fast food restaurant care about calories or fat or sodium? I don’t know the answer at all. I know that when I was eating fast food I really didn’t care and didn’t want to know. I always intuitively knew it was “bad food” but was blindly eating it. I would not have even LOOKED at the nutritional information. I am hoping there is a change in the mind set of the country and that we all are starting to pay more attention to what we put in our mouths. I am all for it, I just don’t know what the impact will be.
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Bathing in the Wild =-.

    • Karen

      I will admit that most of the time when I ate fast food I gave little thought to the nutritional value. As I am sure is the case with many other diners. I agree that the overall impact is questionable. Didn’t New York already implement something like this? I wonder if anyone has looked at the effectiveness there.

      BTW – I think it will be more more places than we think, more restaurants than what is traditionally fast food. Still to be seen.

  13. Sunnydaze makes a really good point…the option to know is so valuable.
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Bathing in the Wild =-.

  14. I live in a very conservative area and all I hear is what a crock of you know what this health care reform is. I for one like the idea and think it’s a great start. I also like that fast food places need to do this. 🙂
    .-= Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog ..A black toe nail loss & I’m leaving for D.C. tomorrow! =-.

    • Karen

      I try not to talk about politics and am usually pretty apolitical. But I am not able to qualify for individual medical coverage because companies think I am too high a risk… so I am all for some reform.

  15. I think that is great!! People are in denial! Overweight people especially. We endulge in these type to get instant satisfaction but it’s doing damage instantly too. Just like the Biggest Loser, they are finally out in front of the world weighing themselves….leaving them vulnerable. NO longer can they be in denial!
    .-= Jen-JensFitnessTips.com´s last blog ..Tip #74: Yoga Crane =-.

    • Karen

      That is an interesting observation about BL. This is my first season watching and I will absolutely be blogging about it one day… I have a lot to say about that show. But I never thought about the contestants being vulnerable.

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