A simple change of direction can make restaurant calorie labels more effective

Calorie Counts on Menus Are Now Mandatory

The calorie count rule applies to chains with 20 or more locations that sell prepared food similar to what is sold at a restaurant, including grocery stores and movie theaters.

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, back in 2010, the federal calorie posting mandate was born. Meanwhile, researchers examining menu labeling in Seattle, which went into effect in 2009, found that the percentage of restaurant goers who noticed and utilized calorie labeling in their food choices tripled.

However, it's likely you won't notice any difference in some major fast-food chains like McDonald's or Starbucks.

But rather than scrapping calorie counts on restaurant menus altogether, we need to find ways to make this information more effective.

"The Beer Institute and our members believe providing complete information about calories and other dietary information for each drink will better enable consumers to make an informed choice should they choose to include an alcohol beverage with a meal", the group said in a statement.

"At a time when more than a third of USA adults are obese and more people are trying to make healthier lifestyle decisions, we know making informed choices about our diets has the potential to save and improve lives", Gottlieb said.

He added that some restaurants simply can't afford to change its menus.

Perhaps you'll be surprised at some of the numbers alongside other menu items, whether they are higher or lower than you thought.

It's possible that the ruling was ushered in as a pre-emptive measure against even more detailed label requirements that are being negotiated in North American Free Trade Agreement talks, Kaczmarski said.

Adam Drewnowski, director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition, said the law is not going to solve obesity problems, adding that it's a socio-economic problem.

Pulcifer says many customers have enjoyed having the nutritional information on menus. It could also inspire some businesses to change their menus and provide healthier options. She noted that increased transparency has become necessary now that eating out is a regular habit for consumers and not an occasional treat.

"I just eat what I want to eat", said one 30-something man, who declined to give his name, as he ate a bagel (300 or so calories) with peanut butter spread (250 calories).

Showing total calories in food can make consumers more conscious of their health.

And that 50 or so calories per meal?

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