As part of Barry O’s health care reform bill passed last year, chain restaurants will soon be required to post in-store calorie counts for all non-alcoholic items on their menu – a step in the right direction, in my opinion.
This should, hopefully, push the big chains into some offering up some healthier options. I mean, it’s going to be a bit of a turn-off if you glance down the menu and all the dishes are pushing 1,000 calories. Restaurants are going to want some low numbers mixed in, and that’s a good thing for anyone who’s interested in the occasional meal that’s not drenched in butter and grease.
Similar laws are already enforced in certain states, but this proposed legislation would make the labeling law nation-wide.
There’s a few exceptions to the proposed rules – alcoholic beverages are exempt and restaurants with less than 20 locations aren’t required to do anything. It’s okay, though, baby steps are better than no steps.
There’s also some grey area on what constitutes a “restaurant.” It appears that the decision will be based on whether or not food sales are the primary reason for business.
Convenience stores and grocery stores are in, movies theaters and bowling alleys are out. Lightbulb-baked 7-Eleven taquitos are in, large popcorn in the limited-edition Harry Potter bag is out.
This article elaborates on the issue more, and points out that a large popcorn and large soda from a movie theater, aside from costing you more than the movie itself, is likely to run over 2,000 calories – more than the FDA suggests an adult should consume in an entire day.
But let’s be honest, the kind of people who order a large popcorn and soda for themselves probably aren’t the same people who care about calorie intake. And that’s not meant as a slight to anyone, but a person without a TV probably doesn’t care what’s going on with American Idol.
Personally, posted calorie counts probably won’t change what I order, but it will satisfy some curiosities and provide fodder for debate. Knowledge is power, as they say, and this is no different.
On a somewhat unrelated side note, most have probably heard that Subway recently passed McDonald’s in total number of restaurants (despite still being well behind in overall sales). But did you know that there are more 7-Elevens in the world than either Subway or McD’s, and by quite a margin? That’s a lot of taquitos.