This law is great - I think...
At least my first reaction was that it's great. But I don't eat out often - maybe once or twice a month. So can't I just eat what I want to eat and be left alone? Sure, but most people eat out several times a week and may be unintentionally clueless as to what they are putting in their bodies. And even if I only eat out once or twice a month, I suppose knowing the calorie or fat content won't do me any harm. Information certainly can't hurt us.
New York City chain delis, cafes and restaurants have to tell you how many calories are in every cookie, muffin or sit down meal you order - or face large fines. The eateries required to do this must have 15 nationally placed outlets to make the labeling mandatory. Of course, any cafe can do it but most choose not to. Who is going to order their favorite dish when they see that it contains 1500 calories?
So places like Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, TGI Fridays and other well-known chains are now required by law to show the calorie count of those cookies or bagels you sneak with your morning coffee. And most people are horrified - 500 calorie cookies and 600 calorie muffins are causing them to scale back on what they are eating - which is the intention of the law. But the restaurants aren't happy. They are currently fighting the law but will face fines up to $2000 by this coming Friday in NYC if they refuse to comply.
According to this MSNBC story, written by health writer Roni Caryn Rabin,
"Putting the brakes on thoughtlessly inhaling calories is exactly the effect New York City health officials hoped the law would have. They say calorie labels could reduce the number of obese New Yorkers by 150,000 over the next five years, and prevent 30,000 cases of diabetes.
New York is not the only city pushing calorie labels. New laws in Seattle and California’s Santa Clara and San Francisco are scheduled to go into effect later this year, including some more stringent than New York’s, requiring restaurants to post information about sodium, carbs, fats and cholesterol in addition to calories. "
Everyone knows their daily doughnut isn't a great idea but we tend to think of salads as good choices. This new law will change a lot of that as
"...many New Yorkers are finding that even the foods they thought were lower calorie really aren’t. Vicki Freedman, who lives in Manhattan, watches her weight and always tries to choose a light option when eating out. But the 26 year old just discovered that the Friday’s pecan-crusted chicken salad, served with mandarin oranges, dried cranberries and celery, has 1,360 calories.
“That surprised me the most because they market it as a healthy option,” she said. “It’s like false advertising. You think it’s better than the burger and the fries. It’s misleading.” (The cheeseburger served with fries is, indeed, 1,290 calories.)
Not every consumer is happy with this law. Many prefer blissful ignorance! One customer was very unhappy at her menu showing her exactly what she was eating -
"At T.G.I. Friday’s, one of the few sit-down chain restaurants to have already added calorie counts to menus, a group of young women gasped as they studied the menu, barely able to find a meal under 1,000 calories, never mind an appetizer or dessert. Both Stephanie Fowler and Lindsay Green asked about the suddenly popular Classic Sirloin — at 290 calories, it was one of the lowest calorie items on the menu — but learned the restaurant ran out by the time the dinner rush started"
“I’m so upset,” [Fowler] said, noting some entrees — like the Jack Daniels ribs and shrimp dinner — contain almost 2,000 calories, and the desserts were more of the same (the brownie obsession is 1,500 calories). “I wish they wouldn’t have done this.”
But then Fowler noticed that the waiter had handed her friend an old menu, which didn’t have calorie counts on it.
“You got a menu without anything on it?” she asked her friend. “Can I have yours?” "
Now that's denial!
Tell Us -
Do you feel like the women above - is all this too much information? Or do you like this law and would you like to see it in your town? Would it change what you choose from the menu?
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