FDA restaurant calorie labeling

menucaloriesThe Walk Talk Nutrition RD team discusses FDA restaurant calorie labeling

The FDA has finalized (finally!) the long awaited regulations on restaurant calorie labeling.  Why is this happening?  The kindly nannies Food Police government bureaucrats think that if everyone sees the calorie content of restaurant food, they’ll stop ordering higher calorie food and everyone will lose weight.

The rules apply to restaurants and food retailers with 20 or more locations, selling essentially the same food.  Here’s a list of food products subject to these rules:

  • Meals from sit-down restaurants
  • Foods purchased at drive-through windows
  • Take-out food, such as pizza
  • Foods, such as made-to-order sandwiches, ordered from a menu or menu board at a grocery store or delicatessen
  • Foods you serve yourself from a salad or hot food bar
  • Muffins at a bakery or coffee shop
  • Popcorn purchased at a movie theater or amusement park
  • A scoop of ice cream, milk shake or sundae from an ice cream store
  • Hot dogs or frozen drinks prepared on site in a convenience or warehouse store
  • Certain alcoholic beverages

What do we think about this?  We discuss the pros and cons in the podcast.  In short:

Donna thinks it’s nannyism run amok, and won’t accomplish anything because people will tune out the menu clutter, and few people understand the calorie numbers anyway.  It would have been better to let emerging technology, such as phone apps, to personalize calorie counts and other health parameters.

Kathy is happy that calorie counts will be available for people who want that information.  She thinks some health-oriented restaurants could make the regulations work in their favor, to highlight lower calorie and healthier menu choices.

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