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Calorie Count Transparency in Restaurants

Posted Aug 11 2008 9:10pm

New York City now mandates calorie labeling in restaurants.  YEAH!  The regulation is required by larger chains such as McDonald’s (my pre-op favorite), Burger King, Wendy’s and Starbucks.

The media has covered that revealing the calorie information prominently to patrons is causing a huge awareness and backlash.  Customers can easily see how many calories are in their favorite foods and beverages they regularly consume.  Restaurants that are required to comply with this mandatory regulation will be fined if they are do not comply.  The health community eagerly awaits the compilation of data as to how these new regulations are impacting food and beverages choices that we make.  Additional studies will be made as to the overall dietary, caloric intake and body weight are also effected.

Similar regulations will go into effect in many other cites and town later this year.  I completely support these regulations.  I believe it will go a long way to making a difference in the obesity epidemic in our country.

Pre-operatively, I ate McDonald’s for probably two meals most days of the week.  Of course, I drove through because I was too ashamed of how much food I ordered and there was only one person in the car!  I went as far as to act as if my order were for myself and someone else waiting at home.  Would it have given me pause if I’d seen how many calories were in my normal meal of a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder With Cheese, Large Fry, Diet Soda (I was saving calories, right), and Apple or Cherry Pie and a Carmel Sundae with extra nuts (for protein, right)?  It possibly would have made me think twice.  I am good at math and adding up those calorie values for only one meal would have at least brought awareness of the numbers of what I was consuming.  With junk food consumption, ignorance is NOT bliss.  Of course, I knew I was eating way too many calories.  But seeing the hard, cold calorie content would have at least made me think twice.

I hope it doesn’t sound as though I’m blaming Micky D’s for my morbid obesity.  Nope, I take fully responsibility for my food choices.  If the calorie counts were right there available and in my face, I would have definitely added up my meal(s) and I believe it would have caused me to pause.  What I would have done with that pause, I will never know for sure.  With these new mandatory regulations, I definitely know that it would cause me to make a u-turn and escape the calorie and unhealthy trappings of Micky D’s.

Just as checking price tags on items in stores that we want to purchase and what is contained in the fabrics of clothing we buy, why not food?  Are those steamed vegetables truly steamed vegetables or sopped in butter and drained before brought out to the table?   We ask ourselves if a potential purchase is worth the price, this new regulation also allows us to ask ourselves if that Big Mac is really worth 600+ calories.

Whether with education or in disclosure of calorie and food labeling - Knowledge is Power!

Believe In Yourself,

Cathy, CLC

Certified Life Coach, Weight Loss Surgery Coach

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