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July 9th, 2010
11:53 AM ET

Have your say on menu labeling requirement

How should the government carry out new requirements for all chain restaurants (that have more than 20 locations) to display calorie information on menus?

The Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comments on the new federal law that requires calorie content and nutritional information for foods sold in restaurants and vending machines. This was part of the sweeping health care reform law that passed in March.

Health care reform also touches tanning beds, restaurant menus

The FDA has the task of establishing more specific rules that go into effect March 2011. Read more about it here.

Here's where you can go to submit your comment:

Go to Regulations.gov electronically

1. Choose “Submit a Comment” from the top task bar
2. Enter the docket number FDA-2010-N-0298 in the “Keyword” space
3. Hit “Search” button


soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. Augsbee

    Oh yeah, that is really going to make a difference when those same people worried about calorie content and nutritional information go home to drink or hit the bars, might even smoke a few cigarettes in the day or smoke some pot.

    July 9, 2010 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Justreason

      The problem with this theory is that the items you listed (i.e. drinking, cigs, pot), people are already aware of the health issues. Cigarrettes are required to have a Surgeon General warning on the package, numerous ads, commercials on the risk from the Federal Gov to non-profit org's...What's the problem with fast food restaurant's having to list the calorie intake and nutritional facts about their product? I don't see a problem with that...

      July 11, 2010 at 04:33 | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Augsbee, Augsbee how cynical we’ve become. Let them enjoy their vices and bury the misery of futility and hope something better will come.

      July 11, 2010 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
    • Augsbee

      Response To Justreason: I agree with you, exactly my point. If commercials, ads do not make a difference, stop people from drinking, doing pot, cigarettes and they are already aware of the health issues, risks that come from these uses and don't care then why would it make any difference to people to read the calorie intake & nutritional information of the food their are ordering?????? Nothing good will come of watching your calories and knowing nutritional value if you keep putting in your body Alcohol, Cigarettes and Pot. Restaurants being forced to this is just a waste of time and frankly hypocritical.
      I think it would be more beneficial if restaurants, bars, clubs had to post the calorie intake, nutritional information on Alcohol, including Beer and Wine (some people say these are not Alcohol drinks) and its health risks to the liver, driving, etc...

      July 11, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      WA State does not have this yet. However I can go to any fast food place and ask for a pamphlet on their nutrition. As for reg resterants. I have been able to go on the internet and fine the nutrition of the menu. However that is only if they are a national chain. It would be nice to have the information, so if on the spare of the moment you decide to eat out you have the information. We need to take responsibilty for our self. however on the other side of the coin. We are not stupid. We can figure things out for ourself. Let goverment worry about that oil spill, illegal aliens, people who ar trying to bomb us. ect......
      (wish there was a spell ck on here. LOL)

      July 11, 2010 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
  2. Dancingteacher77

    As a person who very much cares and CAN'T eat out because of juvenile diabetes concerns, this would be super for me. I was born with diabetes. It wasn't due to obesity, poor health care, or having a drink or two or a few cigarettes or some pot. People would be shocked to know what they are eating out in the world, and maybe having that information would allow great feedom for people like myself, but also help everyone make better choices for themselves and reduce the incidence of lifestyle diseases that are overtaking our country. So, yes, I think it will make a difference.

    July 9, 2010 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. JGex

    As someone who does care about the caloric content and portioning of food bought in restaurants, this would make it so much easier to be able to gauge how much to eat and items to just simply avoid. Having calories stated for alcoholic drinks and other drinks would be awesome as well. I just don't understand why this subject always flushes out such negativity from some people. Just posting the information for those who want it isn't hurting those who choose to ignore it.

    July 9, 2010 at 20:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Eris71

    I don't think restaurants should have to post this information. Use some common sense. If there is a ton of cheese, meat, white sauce or its fried you know its high in calories and fat. We all know what portion size we should eat.

    July 9, 2010 at 20:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • registerednuisance

      There are millions of people that really, really do NOT know. Really don't. Never taught, never had a reason to worry or think about it, now they face health problems and are shocked. You can't imagine how many patients don't realize there's too much sodium in canned soup or deli meats. People really don't know.

      July 9, 2010 at 20:56 | Report abuse |
    • suutar

      Or, from a different point of view, everyone knows... and many are incorrect. (If I correctly recall recent research, those who were raised to "always eat everything on your plate" have the worst time with this.)

      July 9, 2010 at 22:38 | Report abuse |
    • Don

      I think not only should they have calorie counts, but also they should tell you if there's nitrates. Harvard recently did a study of thousands of studies on eating meat, and what they came up with was meat's not that really bad for, it's the nitrates in hot dogs, bacon and deli meats that are increasing a risk for cancer.

      July 10, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse |
    • Leah (TXanimal)

      People just don't know. I had personal training clients tell me that they ate a lot of cheese because it was from cows, and therefore the same as milk, so it MUST be healthy. Clients who ate all "healthy carbs" and virtually no protein in their diet and didn't understand why they couldn't gain muscle. Clients who ate fairly well-balanced meals, but drank a 2-liter of regular soda everyday and couldn't understand why their weight-loss would plateau. Clients who would skip breakfast and lunch and then have Cheetos & sweet tea for dinner, but thought since they were hardly eating any calories, they were being "healthy". I'll admit to subscribing to all of these thought processes when I was younger (despite being well-educated and having parents who encouraged healthy living). It wasn't until I got interested in bodybuilding that I actually took it upon myself to put more effort into researching nutrition.

      July 10, 2010 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
    • Audrey

      That's not entirely true. Often a food item that SEEMS like a good bet has hidden calories that a casual diner might miss. For example, you might not realize that, say, Olive Garden's Pasta Marinara has almost half the calories of its Pasta Pomodoro...in fact, given that the Pomodoro uses fresh tomatoes, you might be forgiven for thinking it has fewer calories (it's the olive oil in it that drives the calorie count up). The casual diner might also think that the salad, with all that Romain lettuce and the vinagraitte dressing is a better bet than the soup...but a serving of the Minestrone has only 100 calories, compared to more than 300 for the salad.

      It's little things such as these that can make such a difference...I'm a fairly "informed" diner, and I wouldn't know about these if I hadn't read the nutritional booklet at my local Olive Garden the last time I ate there. Knowing such facts enable folks to make informed choices.

      July 11, 2010 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
  5. mary

    People are always saying that it's a choice to eat well or poorly. I'd rather have my choices be informed. It's not always easy to tell from a menu description what hidden calories are in the dish. Post it, please.

    July 9, 2010 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nathan

      I think that this needs to be implemented so that people such as myself can make an informed decisions easily instead of having to search for an eternity to find the information which is desired because it does help in loosing and maintaining a healthy weight.

      July 10, 2010 at 02:38 | Report abuse |
  6. Willow

    This would be great. It would eventually encourage competition for fewer calories among restaurants, as most people would avoid high-calorie items.

    July 9, 2010 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kate

      I disagree Willow. I do not think it will encourage people to eat the lower calorie meals–and I do not think restaurants will change their menus.

      Look at the "diet" menus that places already have. They are few and far between even though most people should b eating them. We have the choice to eat poorly–and we do. People that eat out at restaurants will continue to eat what they shouldn't.

      July 9, 2010 at 21:43 | Report abuse |
    • dbln

      I think it will make a big difference. This is already a law in New York City and it's made me rethink what I'm about to order every time I'm out to eat. I walk into Starbucks and order a regular coffee instead of one of their concoctions. We went for half-priced appetizers at tgi fridays and i ordered soup instead because there was not a single appetizer under 1000 calories. Don't even get me started on how quickly you check yourself at Chipotle when you realize how packed those burritos are. This will most likely make people much better at understanding how many calories are really in the food they eat, as most underestimate by half.

      July 9, 2010 at 22:10 | Report abuse |
    • Verte

      Have to agree with Willow and dbin. I'm also a New Yorker and having some transparency around the calories in my food has been helpful–and shocking. My food choices have changed pretty dramatically when eating at chains because, yeah, I know there's fat and sugar in my lattes at Starbucks, but I honestly had no idea how much. We all know that food prepared outside the home will have more calories than what we make ourselves, but the magnitude can be really unexpected (I've seen a salad with over 1100 calories in it–I would have guessed 700 at most, and I'm grateful for the labeling).

      July 10, 2010 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
    • Drew

      I completely agree. Everytime I am in NYC I reconsider every item I ever order, and I consider myself somewhat informed. It's a great way to avoid consuming a day's worth of calories in one sitting.

      July 10, 2010 at 22:49 | Report abuse |
    • Kelley

      Yep. I like being able to make informed decisions about what I eat. I don't always make the healthier choice, but at least I know what I'm ordering when I choose to get something that's not good for me. It allows me more control. I definitely miss it when I leave the city.

      July 11, 2010 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
  7. tmp

    I support this idea. People who want to make nutritional choices should have to information to do so. Will it make us healthier? For many various reasons, probably not. Poor eating habits start at home and restaurants cannot dictate someones lifestyle. They like all businesses fulfill consumer needs and wants. So if we want healthier menus we need to order healthier food – and be willing to pay the higher price which is not an option for an alarming number of people. Stats on food insecurity in the USA are clearly spelled out on the Share Our Strength website.

    July 9, 2010 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kate

    The problem is that there is tons of hidden calories, fat and sodium in food prepared at restaurants. And since you don't see people making the food, you can't know for sure how they are preparing it.

    Even salads (which should be healthy) are over loaded with calories and fat.

    I don't feel that the info should be posted–but it should be available for consumers to view.

    July 9, 2010 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • asrael

      Isn't that what posting means...?

      July 10, 2010 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
  9. Kate

    The biggest problem is that people have forgotten the motto "everything in moderation." Eating out once a week isn't going to make you fat-even if you eat the worst food possible. It's those that eat 4-6 times a week that have the issue.

    July 9, 2010 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shawna

      Eating out once a week CAN make you fat. Consider a burger and a shake at "steak and shake". 1500 calories, and we're not even talking about an appetizer, drink or fries yet . A reasonable dinner for a woman is more like 500 calories. So that's an extra 1000 calories a week , which will gain you 10 pounds in a year. It doesn't take much.

      July 10, 2010 at 07:30 | Report abuse |
    • Kat

      I agree Kate, once in a while has no effect. The people who support this already have some awareness of the salt and fat that are typical in restaurant food. It could be that the rest don't care anyway. When I go out to eat it is for flavor and a splurge so although aware that the food isn't as healthy as my normal diet, I'll eat it happily (and take home leftovers). If people don't already know how terrible french fries are for you, the label probably won't make any difference.

      July 10, 2010 at 08:36 | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      A lot of people need to eat out more frequently than once a week. I don't have a car, so if I have to be downtown in the evening, it's not really feasible for me to go home after work just to eat, then to head back. I would – and do – read the nutritional information provided by restaurants. I get the info online and figure out what I'm going to eat ahead of time, as well, when that information is available.

      July 10, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • Forit

      Even if you eat half of your 1,400 appetizer that's 700 calories and who knew an appetizer sized meal contained that much!! It is definitely an eye opener, and a much needed one at that!

      July 10, 2010 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
    • TruthAndJustice

      Actually, for the average sedentary person, even once a week is too much unless you're eating the healthiest thing on the menu. An average value meal will run you 1000 calories or more, which can amount to 7 lbs a year at just once a week. Some of the worst items on the menu can cause you to put on as much as 20 lbs a year. The reason for this is that fat has 225% more calories for the same mass, so you feel less full which makes it so much easier to over eat.

      Fast Food also uses ingredients with low nutritional value, such as bleached flour, and way too many preservatives. Homemade bread grows mold after a few days, store bought after a week or two, but after over a year a McDonald's bun will still have no mold on it. All those preservatives are not good for your digestive system.

      Fast food is expensive, fatty, and extremely lacking in nutritional value. You'd better have a really good excuse for ever eating it.

      July 11, 2010 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
  10. Jenna

    This is already in place in California and I'm very much in support of it even though I don't really think it will get many people to change. I'm an avid calorie watcher and it simply makes it easier for me to have the information readily available. I would like to see restaurants cut down their portion sizes or at least offer half (or quarter in some cases) portion sizes. People do not realize how little they are actually supposed to eat, I should know – I've dropped 80 lbs and have kept it off for 8 months so far.

    July 9, 2010 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Abby

    This is for the people who think using a hair dryer in the bathtub is a good idea and wonder why the coffee they are ingesting is hot. We should be focusing on the cause of the problem & not the symptom: Our education system is failing. Not just on the academic side but on the parental level as well.

    July 9, 2010 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jane

      Abby, having the information *IS* part of education. How can we be educated about what we are ingesting, if we don't know that corn syrup, msg, etc., is in the food we're eating? The whole point of this law is EDUCATE us!

      July 10, 2010 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
    • Ava

      Abby, I agree. It does seem that much of the people who support the calorie posting don't quite understand the root of the problem. Our society has lost the ability to make healthy lifestyle decisions without reading a label. If our children were taught better nutrition and health education at school and at home, people would know how to identify and adhere to healthier eating and lifestyle habits without the numbers. Not to mention food labeling is deceiving and one has to wonder how accurate is the food label and preparation anyways. It is much better to develop a greater instinct or sense for healthier eating and living so that one can make those healthier food choices whether eating out or cooking at home (not from a box with labeling) or traveling in a country where there is no food labeling available. We as a society need to take personal responsibility to practice healthier eating habits rather than handing that responsibility to restaurants that will subsequently increase the menu prices and give smaller portions when we could have bought the original larger portion for the lower price but share the order or taken part of it home for another meal or not order the extra appetizers. I would rather see the money being spent on labeling used to fund better educational programs at schools to teach our children healthier lifestyle habits that includes eating better, more physical exercise, and practicing greater personal responsibility and self discipline. After all without the education, none of the labeling and numbers will mean much to an ignorant diner.

      July 12, 2010 at 00:43 | Report abuse |
  12. Becca

    The government needs to address the nation's eating habits on a deeper level, rather than just putting a bandaid on the problem via restaurants.

    Also, consider those who are fighting hard to see food as something more than just a number – anyone struggling with an eating disorder. As a recovering anorexic, I find it hard to order in a restaurant when I estimate how many calories are in items; I find it nearly impossible if I have the numbers in front of me. It's a battle, and this will not help anyone fighting it.

    July 9, 2010 at 23:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tmp

      Sorry to hear of your struggle. I do share your concern. I work in food service sales as a health care specialist. The fastest growing category in my market is clinics specializing in eating disorders. The primary cause: when mothers banter about "good food" vs "bad food" and practice restrictive calorie diets in front of their daughters, what to them is making a "healthy choice" quickly becomes an obsessive/compulsive habit to a child. So sad. (Boys are having increasing problems as well – but the primary cause their is coaches.)

      July 10, 2010 at 08:57 | Report abuse |
  13. Leigh408

    Oh I think this is a wonderful thing. Restaurants go out of their way to make it hard for you to find this info now. I think calories, fat, carbs, sodium and sugars SHOULD be on all items on menus of all types. I do believe it will help people that are interested become more aware of what they are eating and make some better choices. Oh and relying on common sense doesn't cut it... remember when everyone thought salads were perfectly healthy? Wasn't too long ago, now we see some salads in restaurants carry a FULL days worth of calories for an adult average height male!

    However, I think that the public should be more educated on what is healthy and what isn't. Most people out there haven't a clue as to how many calories is healthy daily. A lot are either way over eating or way under eating. The nutritional info in plain sight coupled with public awareness education is what is needed.

    Being fat is killing people.. bottom line.

    July 10, 2010 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Carl

    Unnecessary laws. First of all, it shouldn't be that hard to estimate if you think you should eat something or not. It's not like you need to know the exact calorie amount.

    July 10, 2010 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kimbiqua

      You'd be surprised! Especially salt and fat contents.

      July 10, 2010 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
  15. Stephanie

    I wish they would require this at all restaurants. I log everything I eat. Many local, independently owned restaurants do not list their nutritional info on the menus or their websites and the waitstaff look at you like you are crazy if you dare ask. Guess I should be eating at home or chains, eh? If people looked up at a board or saw nutritional information staring them in the face from the menu before they ordered, I think it would scare them into eating better (at least for that meal.....)

    July 10, 2010 at 00:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Harold

      Sure, this would be nice if the government completely takes care of the process of finding nutritional info on dishes. Small business do not readily have the resources to just find out the nutritional information of their dishes. You must not realize that its a lot of work to run a small business and not many small businesses have the resources to do this. If you are willing to spend tax money on supplying these small businesses with the resources then sure, that would work and be helpful for everyone.

      July 10, 2010 at 04:06 | Report abuse |
  16. overeater

    There should be a law that makes everyone wear a t-shirt that has their weight on it too.

    July 10, 2010 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Christopher

    memoryendures.blogspot.com

    July 10, 2010 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Jeanne

    It is easier to make healty selections if you know what the calories are for menu items. Please post.

    July 10, 2010 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Clayton

    I personally care about my health and can't wait to see this calorie information up there. At restaurants there are foods that do seem healthy, and you find out later that a couple of ingredients drove up the calories or what have you. This information may also get more restaurants to try and lower those amounts for people who are more conscience of what they're eating. They may also start offering more menus geared towards healthy eating. This is a step in the right direction to help get people to see what's in their food.

    For those people who don't care, cool, this isn't going to affect you. Keep on keepin on with your heart disease and obesity.

    July 10, 2010 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. SlimmingInSeattle

    I can tell you from personal experience that when King county Washington (Seattle area) started requiring nutritional information be available, and calories be posted, it really helped me inform my dietary decision making. Being informed is merely the first step in helping to reshape your dietary decision making paradigms. If you're already in the habit of making questionable choices it can be difficult to change. Looking up at a menu and realizing that super-duper something has more calories than you should have in an entire day... well, that can get your attention. If that alone makes you start taking notice and asking questions then you are really on to something. I started paying attention in April 2009, when I was 68 pounds heavier than I am today. Trust me, posting the calories and having access to the complete nutritional information is a HUGE help.

    July 10, 2010 at 04:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jose Fernandez

      I'm also from the Seattle area and I have to agree, having the calorie information at hand really helps you make correct decisions. The best story I have is from my wife. She wanted something for breakfast. She saw that the chain's muffins were over 400 calories and even one cookie was 250, so she walked out without buying anything.

      Food providers have been loading products with hidden salt, sugar, and fat, and it's about damn time we start to make them accountable for what they're doing.

      July 11, 2010 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
  21. Lowcarber

    I would like all the info. on what I'm eating, for so many health reasons. Just being a diabetic requires that you have more info. then the give you on any of your fast food. All because they really rather you didn't know.
    I would really love to see more low carb foods offered....not just salads. People that travel would love that more options.
    Any other low carbers out there that would like to comment and be heard .....please speak up!

    July 10, 2010 at 06:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Dianne

    People who care about what they eat know that eating out can be difficult at best. By providing labels on prepared foods at least brings nutritional values to the table, literally. The problem is to get more people to care by shock value if nothing else.

    Back in 1998, I decided to STOP eating out in places that serve fatty foods with big servings...especially fast food places. I did ask at for calorie lists but got blank stares. McDonalds did provide information on request...and was I shocked that 1 big mac could have such a huge calorie count. That was it for me. I am prediabetic and need to be careful.

    For many years I trusted that foods were okay no matter where I went. I also needed to watch my spending due to schooling etc, so I ate what I could afford and fast foods were affordable. I did not like nor have the time to really learn to cook with whole foods.... the concept was just not there...and I was not overweight so why worry.

    Weight problem or not, we all need to pay attention if we do not want to sacrifice health down the road. I am a real believer that we are what we eat and wished that I had been informed years ago...but it is never too late.

    Wake up America.... our kids are suffering the consequences. Kids trust too easily and do not have the knowledge to sway them towards healthier eating. At this point in time, I am not simply carlorie shopping but need to see labelling of fats, sodium, sugars etc. I am not trusting my health to anyone but myself. I buy better food and balance what I eat.

    Unfortunately, the government must get involved. Hopefully with more education about foods, better food guides as to how much fat, carbs and protein are needed on a daily basis will enlighten enough people who can spread the word about what to eat. I feel lighter, have more energy and my prediabetes is still prediabetes for well 20 years now. I do not want to take drugs to conteract the effects of bad eating.... to me, this is a death sentence.

    My wish is that once people understand food compositions, they will demand the government to quit its initiative to rethink GMO foods. I would love to see people in an uproar over some disgusting food growing and manufacturing processes.
    I use stevia for a sweetener – has no calories and does not spike blood sugars. I am hoping that the large manufacturers do not get involved with stevia and make it a sugar replacement that includes anything to do with derivatives from corn.

    I eat only whole grains and try to ensure that ingredients are wholesome and rely on food labelling. I am off of beef due to sick cows being fed products that are not good for them and in turn not good for us (corn product derivatives). I am aware of tricky labelling (enriched whole wheat is not whole grain). I am not a health nut...I simply want to feel good for the rest of my life.

    I am happy to see more shows on tv that address our nation of poor eating.... Dr Oz provides basic overall information that is well thought out and interesting. I learned about stevia from watching his show. He discusses food labelling as being critical to being proactive for our own health. Bravo to shows like his to educate a large audience. This is how I learned about stevia for sugar replacement, canola oil for cooking, olive oil for uncooked foods and how to read ingredients on labels. His show airs frequently and for those who do not watch tv, the information is on his website.

    July 10, 2010 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. tracy goldstein

    It is long overdue. We have a right to know not just the calorie content, but total fat and fiber per serving. I also think they need to include if there is any Red dye 40, and yelllow 5 and 6. Carcinogenic is what I read about those. Not to mention but I will anyway, Hydrogenated oils and mono and diglycerides. Bad, Bad, Bad for the arteries. Preservatives not needed as many foods have them and many of the same type of food do not. They put it in for shelf life. Let's see..shelf life of a twinkie....forever.

    July 10, 2010 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sanjosemike

      Tracy, did you know you can bury a Twinkie for 20 years, dig it up and still eat it?

      The reason is that it is not food, but completely preservatives. sanjosemike

      July 10, 2010 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
  24. sanjosemike

    Amsericans are getting huge. I've seen some teens at a local high school who weigh over 280lbs. They don't get exercise (video games, tv, rock music plugged into their ears, etc.). And in most cases they eat far too much fast food. This is going to cause an epidemic of Type II diabetes, which is expensive to treat. And, now that we have healthcare reform, all of us are going to have to pay for it. What was a "private" problem now becomes YOUR problem. We have already seen signs that Obamacare is going to bankrupt our economy. This kind of thing makes it worse. sanjosemike

    July 10, 2010 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Augsbee

    Let's be true to ourselves, people will order drinks and the food from that same menu that lists calorie count and nutritional information. If you really care about calorie count and nutritional information than you would be staying away from drinking, smoking, smoking pot. How many calories do you think are in 2 drinks????? how much sugar in drinks?????? sodium????
    Stop fooling yourselves. I bet most men & women won't give up their Beer less alone a glass of red wine while soaking in a tub.

    July 10, 2010 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. jillmarie

    I like it. Maybe people will make better eating choices. I always have, and I've always been thin. Time to reduce obesity.

    July 10, 2010 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. kimbiqua

    I love this! Just saw the nutritional info on our McDonald's food wrappers. Once you become aware of the info and know how to interpret it, the information is very valuable. If you are just becoming aware, the info is hard to understand, interpret and apply to adjusting your eating habits. But just because not everyone is helped, it is still a great step towards increasing our population's eating intelligence. One step at a time. I think it's a great move and I certainly will use it whenever it is available to help guide my decisions for eating, whether for that meal or to adjust what I eat for the rest of my day.

    July 10, 2010 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Sandy

    The emphasis on fast food restaurants is absurd. Yes, the food is bad for you, but anyone who thinks they eat more calories in a fast food meal than a night at the Olive Garden or virtually any other restaurant is in fantasy land. Challenge yourself to go to your favorite chain restaurant web site and look up nutrition information, and you will be shocked at the totals.

    I think all chain restaurants should put this information on menus, too. Only then can informed choices be made.

    July 10, 2010 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Inkt1

    What is with all these comments saying that smoking pot is relavent in regulating caloric intake? Are you referring to "the munchies"? Last I checked the pot itself is ZERO calories. And people who mindlessly give in to the munchies are the same people that NEVER watch their caloric intake. Pot has nothing to do with the caloric value of restaurant foods...

    Oh, and I think it should be mandatory for me to know what I am puting into my body so I may make an informed decision.

    July 10, 2010 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Inkt1

      And there are better methods of delivery for pot...like vaporizing so you really have not a leg to stand on when you say it causes lung damage...

      July 10, 2010 at 12:58 | Report abuse |
    • Augsbee

      Thank you, you just proved my point that people need to make an informed decision where it really matters by realizing that Pot might not have calories but it hurts you more than a Cheeseburger, Pizza, French Fries, Sprite, Coke, etc... since Pot reduces Cerebral Blood Flow; affects your memory, coordination, increases the risk of Stroke since it raises the speed of your heart and what about the increase risk of Lung infection and it weakens your muscles and it impairs your driving skills. All these risks scan be overlooked by the fact that it has no calories???? Beer and Wine also impact your health and do have calories and sugar. Forcing restaurants to post food information is hypocritical. So much fuss over food and everyone ignores everything else they do or intake such as pills that harms their health.

      July 10, 2010 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • Inkt1

      What I typed here did nothing to prove your point...this forum is to discuss restaurants diplaying the caloric value of their foods. And there are conflicting studies that make everything you've said here about pot debateable. If you disagree with that, well you're just uninformed. Read up!! HAHA!! What we put into our bodies is a CHOICE. What you want to do to and for yourself is none of my business and vice versa. I do think that displaying the caloric content of foods that one serves should be mandatory so that the consumer may make an informed decision. If that means they choose not to care and eat themselves to death that should be their perrogative.

      Every man and woman is an entity of their own. Where one person's right start is where mine should stop. If I choose to drink myself to oblivion in the privacy of my own home that is my choice. The moment you get behind the wheel is when you endanger the rights of others.

      July 10, 2010 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
  30. InSupport

    Everything in grocery stores has to have nutritional information on it – why should restaurants be any different?

    July 10, 2010 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tmp

      Because manufacturers and large chains can nutritionally certify their formula's through their food science and/or product development departments. Nutrition certification for independant restaurants involves sending out recipes to independent certification companies ($$) who must make a minimum # of portions, a minimum # of times and analysis the results (time). Even once you have nutrition certification on a recipe at the restaurant level those results can vary by as much as 18% depending upon the person cooking that day. Most restaurant owners are unwilling to drive up menu costs to cover such unreliable results.

      July 11, 2010 at 21:59 | Report abuse |
  31. lk

    Panera already has this where I live and I love it. One salad has 180 calories and another has 750. I wouldn't have known the 750 one was that much. I was shocked the other was so low. One panini has 500 calories while another one has 1200.. So I could have under 700 calories total or as much as 1950!! As someone who eats under 1500 calories per day this is a huge impact. Of course I know that meat and cheese has more calories than lettuce but the differences between items in the same category was amazing. I can't wait until all have this info posted. Right now I have to google it and try to remember all the different calories counts places.

    July 10, 2010 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alex

      I love eating at Panera when I eat out. The menu board makes it so clear what fits and does not fit into my life... and what treats are best shared with a friend. Plus, it is one of the few places to offer non-friend kids food.

      July 11, 2010 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
  32. Leah (TXanimal)

    Great idea. Except most people probably don't know what it means or how to use that information.

    Just based on personal experience, most people don't have a clue about portion sizes, caloric needs or what a carbohydrate is.

    Off-the-cuff example: I order some spinach dip as an appetizer, and the menu says PER SERVING (2Tbsp): 50 cal, 4g fat, 2g carbs, 1g protein, 200mg sodium. Awesome. Now, how do I know how much 2Tbsp is? And am I really going to only eat that much if they put down 1 1/2 CUPS of the stuff in front of me?

    The only positive impact I see is that, as lk pointed out above, if more and more people are horrified by a salad that has 750 calories, maybe it will force restaurants to alter their menus and offer fewer high-calorie options.

    July 10, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Kim

    Some restaurants are already positing the info on their menus – and I have to say I was shocked to see the nutritional data on what I though was healthy food! It was crazy. I think it's great to at least have the data available for those of us who are new to strict diets – especially for health reasons like diabetes.

    July 10, 2010 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Michelle

    Chain restaurants, fast food restaurants in particular, should be required to price food by the calorie. If McDonald's were to charge a penny/calorie a large fry would be $5, a big mac would be $5.40 and a large coke would be $3.10. I bet people would eat less and eat better if a meal at McDonalds cost $13.40. Especially if they knew that meant they were consuming 1340 calories. McDonald's makes their nutrition info readily available but not many people take the time to look. If the price was equal to the calorie count of the product there would be no need to inquire. The consumer would know upfront what they were consuming.

    July 10, 2010 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Jenna

    I think the calories should be posted. I've battled being overweight almost my entire life and recently I've made a lot of changes and have dropped 13 pounds in 2 months. I rarely eat out, but when I do I like to know what's in there. Simple switches can make a big difference in the long run.

    July 10, 2010 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. rellasmom

    I understand the need for this information, but when the prices go up 15% to pay for the research and printing of new menus for each store every 6 months, it won't matter. No one will be able to afford to eat out anymore. I guess the problem will be solved.

    July 10, 2010 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. ThrowMeaBone

    Great idea! More information about what you're putting into your body is always good. Some people may not pay attention but that's ok. People still smoke even though they know it's going to eventually kill them. Those folks who have a death wish are going to ignore most anything. But for the vast majority of the rest of us who do care about calorie counts, we can be better informed. Knowing the calorie counts of a typical meal at a restaurant would definitely help me decide whether I would eat there or not. The days of "pigging out" are long gone, folks. We now know better.

    July 10, 2010 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Smc

    I've lost over 30 pounds in the past year. I read/record the nutritional info of the foods I eat daily (I just track calories, fat and fiber) so I rely on this information. I don't want them to ban any foods. For instance, I don't eat McDonald's fries very often, but I occasionally allow myself that indulgence and wouldn't miss it for the world. I just plan for that little splurge and cut back somewhere else that day. I do it because it works. I like to know what I'm buying and then make my own choices. I think I have a right to know what I'm eating. It helps me make good choices.

    July 10, 2010 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. LBCGrrrl

    Information is important when it comes to food choices- I, admittedly, have a phone app that helps me to determine what's "safe" to eat when eating out and sometimes the calorie/fat content of some dishes are so insanely off the charts it can be a little daunting, especially when the goal is to lose weight. Do I think that requiring restaurants to post the nutritional info of items on their menu will help the war on obesity? Maybe a little, but the real issue is lifestyle and America's reluctance to abide by a healthy one- that includes not only sane eating choices but also regular exercise (meaning at least 4-5x week). As a nation, we seem to have time for every other indulgence but we can't find the time to run the stairs for 30 minutes or at least walk to the store instead of driving once in a while. Basic nutrition education is necessary (it's not just about fast food) – because a lot of people just don't know the basics – as well as daily physical activity.

    July 10, 2010 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. ses2

    Our government is not the nanny. The real nannies are Ronald Mac Donald, Burger King, Nickelodeon and other advertisers who use us to buy whatever it is they have to sell. They are the ones who tell us what to wear, what to eat and what to think. Don't forge,t though, that we are the customers, it is our money that keeps these businesses running . As such we have a right to know what is in the products we are buying.

    July 10, 2010 at 20:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. jimdoesit

    I'm not on any particular diet and i have no diet restricting ailments, I just want to know what I'm eating. We have the technology lets use it.

    July 10, 2010 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. FlyRed77

    I have to agree that they need to post those calories. Most of had no idea that we were eating THAT MANY calories. We know more now and try to make daily menu choices on that knowledge, but it's not enough to only have the information available on a few web sites. In today's extremely busy world, eating out is part of family life. It is not going to go away.

    Restaurants, particularily fast food, load up the calories to keep you coming back, to win the taste test so you won't eat at the chain across the street. We learned, as toddlers, to love the taste of fat, the taste of grease, the taste of obesity. We have to start teaching our youth how to make tasteful and healthy choices. We need information in order to do it.

    July 10, 2010 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Amanda

    I do not how anyone would argue about easy access to understanding how many calories you take in. I believe there is no harm that could come from this law ( excpet maybe people would stop eating fast food causing many restaurants to go out of business, which is my opinion would be doing us all a favor) Most people have no idea how many calories and sodium is in fast food.

    July 10, 2010 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Denim

    Yeah, we get crap like this, but single-payer universal healthcare, which would be a real feature, is scuttled.

    July 11, 2010 at 02:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. PORCUPINE

    FREEDOM OF CHOICE IS WONDERFUL IS'NT IT.
    YOU ARE FREE TO STUFF YOURSELF OR YOUR CHILDREN WITH ALL THE JUNK FOOD YOU WANT IF YOU SO DESIRE.
    DONT BLAME THE FAST FOOD INDUSTRY, THEY DID NOT FORCE IT UPON YOU. YOU CHOSE FAST FOOD OVER A HEALTHY WELL PREPAIRED HOME MADE MEAL, BUT OF COURSE THIS WOULD IMPEDE ON YOUR LIFESTYLE. IT WOULD BE UNAMERICAN TO MISS THE SOAPS, THE TALK SHOWS, HAPPY HOUR AND ALL THE OTHER MEANINGLESS TYPE OF SHOWS ON TV. THERE IS AN OLD SAYING. "STUPID PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BREED" BUT THEY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO MAKE CHOICES EITHER. YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW. YOU DONT SOW CARROT SEEDS AND EXPECT TO REAP TURNIPS.

    July 11, 2010 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Jill

    I live in New York where it is required and honestly,the calorie postings work for me. I find myself searching through menus for the lowest calorie options. Just staring at the 1200 on the wall is enough to keep me from eating something.

    July 11, 2010 at 06:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Jill

    And PS, as far as I can tell, in Manhattan, McDonalds is not losing any business, especially uptown

    July 11, 2010 at 06:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Chris

    Anything to make fat people feel worse about themselves is a plus in my eyes. It's disgusting how many calories they can consume on a reg basis.

    July 11, 2010 at 07:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Norman

    It's so easy to pass this on to the government to fix especially at a time when people are so hypercritical of the government's involvement in our daily lives. The food industry is in the business of selling food. Period. They're not going to retool their industry overnight.

    July 11, 2010 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Terry from West Texas

    Our food is bad for us. Our food is not prepared for us by cooks, it is prepared by food chemists using ingredients that are unfamiliar to us. Food factories are quite willing to prepare unhealthy food and their marketing agencies show us pictures of healthy crops and happy cows to sell it.

    July 11, 2010 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
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