Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Medical | By

FDA requiring restaurants to post calorie counts

FDA requiring restaurants to post calorie counts

Large national chains tend to be more accurate since they're more standardized, but calorie counts can still vary from store to store.

"And it's just as important that you and your family have access to this information when eating out, as you do at home when you are able to look at calorie counts on food packages".

"Surveys show consumers overwhelmingly want this information", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote in his blog.

Gottlieb said the calorie rule, which can carry criminal penalties, features a 171-word definition of menu, and may or may not apply to beer, is "pro market and pro consumer".

Many restaurants have already been moving forward with complying with these new rules since the issue was raised 11 years ago.

"The strongest data evaluating purchases at typical fast-food restaurants like McDonald's and Burger King suggests labels do not alter consumer purchases", researchers said.

On Monday, a federal rule went into effect requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards, along with information on fat and sodium levels.

"That may sound like a small amount", Gottlieb added. It comes out to less than a cookie a day, he points out. "It's interesting that Trump's [Food and Drug Administration] is supporting this, and it begs the question, 'Why now?' - especially under an administration that is beholden to corporations", she said.

Drewnowski said consumers often make food decisions based on tastes and affordability.

The interesting thing about calorie counts is that, while they undoubtedly offer more transparency around the foods we choose to eat, there's not a lot of evidence to show they affect people's purchasing decisions.

The law, meant to get Americans to eat healthier, applies to chains with at least 20 stores.

Congress's inability to enact sensible laws is concerning enough, but more worrisome is that nobody who voted for Obamacare considered how the rule might work in the real world when they buried it in the Affordable Care Act. Kids had created black markets for salt in lunchrooms due to unpalatable choices under the healthy eating standards. Research into similar efforts indicates that instead of helping people eat fewer calories, it could actually have the opposite effect.

Maybe you never suspected that that "diet" six-inch tuna sandwich clocks in at 470 calories - more in some cases than same-sized sandwiches with meat in them.

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