April 19, 2007

Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

"I have a doctorate in public health, and I failed this quiz," said Dr. Harold Goldstein. "Common sense does not help ... who would think that a large chocolate shake at McDonald's has more calories than two Big Macs?"

I have been telling you for many months now restaurants need to explicitly tell you how many calories are in every item and in an entire meal.

If a Ph.D in public health can't help you figure out the number of calories in a Big Mac, what can?

Only black and white text right next to the menu item.

Reuters is reporting a poll that nobody can pass.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Picking the healthiest item on a restaurant menu is not as easy as it seems, according to a new poll that found most respondents were unable to identify the dishes lowest in calories, salt and fat.

In the poll, which was commissioned by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, 523 respondents were given a choice of four menu items from popular restaurant chains and asked to select which were lowest in fat, calories and salt.

The first question asked people to choose which Denny's dish was lowest in calories: a ham and cheddar omelet, country fried steak and eggs, three slices of French toast with syrup and margarine, or three pancakes with syrup and margarine.

The answer? Country fried steak and eggs.

The poll's other three questions asked respondents to make similar choices about menu items from Chili's, Macaroni Grill, and McDonald's.

None of the respondents answered all four questions correctly, and 68 percent failed all of them. Less than 1 percent answered three of four questions correctly, and education and income levels had no impact, the CCPHA said.

Why aren't politicians and business owners listening? (Are they spending that much time figuring out how to prevent obese people from suing them?)

It's clear that every state (because the federal government is still in a State of Denial) must pass a law dictating that restaurants need caloric information on the menu.

Get involved.

In Connecticut, Senate Bill 686 would require retail restaurants and other food establishments with 10 or more locations nationally to list nutrition information for all standard menu items. On printed menus, this information shall include total number of calories, saturated plus trans fat, carbohydrates, and sodium per serving. Nutrition information on menu boards may be limited to total number of calories per serving, provided additional information shall be made available to customers in writing upon request.

Check out this list and get your state moving in the right direction.

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