And the NY Times also asked its readers if menu nutritional information would affect what you ordered at restaurants?
Calorie Labels May Clarify Options, Not Actions
If you were watching calories, would you go for the chicken Caesar salad at Chili’s or the classic sirloin steak? Subway’s tuna or roast beef sandwich? A Starbucks chai or a cappuccino?
Demand for calorie labels on restaurant food is sweeping the country. New York City is ahead of the trend — a law requiring calorie counts to be posted next to prices in some restaurants went into effect July 1, though it will not be enforced until October. But some 20 other states and localities are considering measures that would require chain restaurants to provide calories or detailed nutritional information right on the menu or menu board, often next to the price and in the same size lettering.
“Do you think people will stop eating McDonald’s French fries and Big Macs?” asked Rick Sampson of the New York State Restaurant Association, which is suing New York City over its law. “It doesn’t keep me from eating a candy bar even though the calories are listed on it right in front of me.” (A Big Mac has 540 calories; a medium order of fries, 380.)
But public opinion polls suggest that consumers are overwhelmingly in favor of menu labeling. And a 2005 survey of 5,297 adults by the food services company Aramark found that 83 percent of them wanted nutritional information in restaurants.
“Often, people are trying to do the right thing and make the healthier choice, but they’re just guessing at what the best choice is — it’s not always obvious,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutritional policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the advocacy group that is leading the movement for menu labeling. “Because there’s no nutritional information, they’re not getting what they think they’re getting.”
The chicken Caesar salad at Chili’s is one of those items that might appear to be a healthier choice, but brace yourself: it contains 1,010 calories and 76 grams of fat, while the sirloin has 540 calories and 42 grams of fat (not counting side dishes).
The answer was overwhelming yes!
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