Not everyone is in agreement that seeing 510 calories next to your favorite latte listed on the menu would turn you off from ordering it.
John Lehndorff asks in the Rocky Mountain News: "Faced with a sign at Carl's Jr. reminding you that a Guacamole Bacon Six Dollar Burger contains 1,140 calories, would you order a salad instead? No, I didn't think so. You'd get the burger because you came to get a burger."
Lehndorff is writing about the recent decision by the New York City Board of Health to force chain restaurants in the city to post calorie information next to menu items. The effort is intended to help consumers make more informed, health-conscious decisions.
The reporter goes on to say that he believes he is responsible for what he chooses to put in his mouth: "I deserve all the blame for where I choose to dine and for how much I weigh. To fault Burger King would indicate that I am too stupid to either know or care."
It remains to be seen whether New Yorkers will ignore the nutrition information presented to them and continue to indulge in high-calorie fast-food fare, or reduce their burger-and-fries intake because of the shocking numbers. But restaurants with 14 or more chains nationally will have to comply. Lehndorff sees a few problems, however, with the mandate.
He points out that there is calorie information on tubs of ice cream, but that hasn't stopped people from plowing through pints at home. He says that most fast food is purchased through drive-thru windows which would mean drive-thru menus would have to be block-long, lit-up, environmentally unfriendly eye sores. And he points out the challenge in listing every burger combination available on a single menu.
While he was a fan of the smoking ban in restaurants because it prevented his family from inhaling second-hand smoke, "There's no such thing as second-hand fat."
True, but the calorie information might gently nudge some of us who needlessly choose fast-food restaurants for convenience to eat more frequently at home.
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