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Calorie Listings On Menus Don’t Necessarily Lead To Better Choices Without Education

Posted Oct 07 2009 12:00am

A law put into effect last year in New York requires fast food restaurants to put list the calorie counts of their meals. The mandate to list calories was suggested to help customers make better choices and lower the prevalence of obesity. However after more than one year of study, it hasn’t improved the choices obese patrons make at fast food restaurants at all. As a result of the law, researchers studied people eating at Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s and Wendy’s mostly in lower-income neighborhoods with high obesity rates and found that about 50% of the customers noticed the calorie information. When surveyed, twenty-eight percent said the calorie postings influenced what they ordered and 90 percent of those people said they made healthier food choices as a result. However, the researchers analyzed the customers’ receipts and found they ordered slightly more calories than the typical customer did before the law took effect in July 2008 actually perpetuating the obesity trend.

What this shows is that more education in nutrition is needed and just posting numbers on a menu is useless to many because they don’t understand the correlation of calories to weight. There are 3500 calories in a pound which means to lose one pound you need to decrease your intake by 3500 calories. Your weight is influenced not only by the calories you take in but by the activity/exercise and calories you burn. The more calories you take in without burning off, the more your weight increases. The next time you are in a restaurant, be mindful of the calorie counts, every food item and calorie you take in effects your health.

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