thank you fda – menus with calories

Last week the New York Times reported that the FDA has implemented a new policy for the food places that Americans eat at. By next November, menus need to include calories – some already do.

There is some debate as to whether this will influence people’s eating habits. On one side, there is a small amount of research that indicates educated people will and do make behavior changes, but, on the other side of the debate, social researchers are quick to point out that most of the general population won’t know how to use the information.

I say, hooray for giving us all a choice! Around the Chicagoland area, restaurants are already experimenting, and so far I’ve noticed, none have gone out of business.

          Craving Panera but on a diet? Check out this article.       In the mood for Chinese takeout but don't want all of the calories?  Check out this menu for dinner all under 500 calories!    Starbucks Drinks Under 200 Calories

Personally, the more information I can get about the food I eat, the happier I am.

As consumers we have the power to effect change. As more and more people switch from “I want the biggest portion of food possible for the least amount of money” to ” I want the most clean, transparent and nutrient dense food for my money”, the food industry will respond. How do I know this? Because they already are.

No one is saying get rid of the 2000 calorie milk shake from Cold Stone, or the 640 calorie white hot chocolate at Starbucks, just let people know what the calorie cost is. We can do the math and budget the calories for ourselves. Really.

Even upscale restaurants are coming around. At Seasons 52 in Oakbrook, Illinois, cooking with seasonal foods is what they are all about. Their meals are decadently fresh, full of regional nutrients and come with calorie information printed right on the menu. Most meals are under 475 calories – not bad for a nutrient dense, once in awhile, hedonistic repast on a special occasion. From their website, additional nutrition information is available for every dish. A person can manage their sugar, salt and fat intake to make a choice based on individual dietary needs.

I can’t help but say…I feel so empowered!

-J.P.Sartre
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