Calorie Counting at Chain Restaurants

April 9, 2010 by  
Filed under health

Future visits to The Cheesecake Factory (and other major restaurants) may be quite a difference experience soon. Inside the new health reform legislation is language that will require calorie labeling on (chain) restaurant menus, menu boards, vending machines, and drive-through displays. The legislation applies to those chains with twenty or more outlets, and requires them to provide additional nutrition information upon request.

Some states have already passed similar legislation, but this new federal standard will supersede the varied local and state requirements. Interestingly enough, the National Restaurant Association dropped its longstanding objection to menu labeling last year and supported the recently passed legislation by Congress.

Margo G. Wootan, the director of nutritional policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, believes that this new piece of legislation is a huge victory for consumers and “one of dozens of things we will need to do to reduce rate of obesity and diet-related disease in this country. With the health reform legislation passed, Congress is giving Americans easy access to the most critical piece of nutritional information they need when eating out.”

I envision myself pouring over the published calories and having my menu decision influenced by this information. Do you think it will make a difference to you? Is ignorance really bliss? Or will this new law make for some new discoveries?

Either way, it will be quite interesting to see if this action helps transform portion size, offerings, and the American diet.


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2 Responses to “Calorie Counting at Chain Restaurants”
  1. Marilyn says:

    Finally! Do you know how hard it is to get nutrition info for certain restaurants!!?? I like to plan ahead and know what I am eating in terms of nutritional value. Some meals turn out being very deceiving (look healthier than they are) and I won’t get into how even some of the simplest appetizers can provide my entire days calorie intake requirement!! I can’t wait to be able to have more access to nutritional information for the meals I’ll be ordering at restaurants. I wonder if they will have two menus-one with, one without the info. I know a lot of people that don’t care and don’t even want to see that type of data. We shall see how this turns out but I am definitely in favor of having this data made readily available!

  2. BrightJock says:

    What a welcome change! I remember trying to get nutrition information from McDonald’s—yes, McDonald’s!—at a downtown restaurant ten years ago. They acted like they had no idea what I was talking about.
    Part of the problem we’re experiencing in this country regarding obesity is definitely a lack of information. And this step will definitely be a huge step forward in rectifying that.

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