Calories on Menus

On March 23rd, 2011, one year after President Obama included calorie labeling on menus as part of the federal healthcare overhaul, the FDA is to reveal the federal regulations for labeling menus with nutritional information. Keep your eyes peeled at local restaurants and vending machines to see how this plays out.

There was some skepticism at first as to whether or not this proposal would impact the growing obesity rate. Would consumers understand what this information means and would they use it to make healthier choices? Research looking at states who previously implemented similar laws and have taken the matter into their own hands is conflicting. There are some outcomes that indicate a reduction in calories when information is available (mainly a shift in reducing calories by reducing portion size by choosing a smaller dessert or entree), however, the impact is not as big as we hoped.
What may help consumers choose healthier options? What would you like to see when eating out that would help you choose your calories wisely? Please share ideas and tell us if you would pay attention to the calories posted (of course you would, you listened during lectures!)
For a more in depth discussion of the new law, read this article HERE.
Krista Haynes, R.D.