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Archive for Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fat chance

Why do Americans need calorie listings to clutter up their restaurant menus?

April 30, 2008

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Increasing numbers of Americans are becoming more calorie-conscious as they consider the mushrooming epidemic of obesity in our country. Better diets, less intake and more exercise are definitely in order for most of us, and programs that can steer people down such paths are worthy of acceptance and practice.

The big trouble is, for the most part, that nutrition, activity and just flat-out fatness are like the weather. As Mark Twain noted, it's something people talk about a lot but don't really do anything to alter.

Understandably, there are a lot of efforts to make people more weight- and health-conscious, but there is the constant danger of going overboard. That understood, it is not surprising the New York Restaurant Association has asked a federal appeals court to block implementation of a new city requirement that some chain restaurants post calorie figures on menus.

A federal judge has refused to stop the health regulation from taking effect. He said the city requirement will help the city achieve its goal of reducing obesity. However, he did delay enforcement of the requirement so the association can appeal. Fines are not due to be imposed for noncompliance until at least June 6. That does not allow much time, and it would appear the overkill measure will stand. How needless.

The fact is, many outlets in the food business already list calories, fat and sugar content and salt levels in places where customers can clearly see them, if not directly on a printed menu. How can places such as McDonald's, Burger King and the like post calories on wall displays without having added confusion and, how do such displays help the large number of drive-through customers?

Why impose a law that forces restaurants to go to the considerable expense to display calorie-et-al counts? This is another example of Big Brother's devotion to dealing with cosmetic factors while failing to tackle the real problem.

Plain and simple: We eat too much, don't get out and about enough and are constantly gaining "poise," avoirdupois, that is. What in the world will printing calories on menus or on wall displays do to change that for the better? People know if they are too portly and they know what to do about changing that - if they will.

We can only hope restaurant associations continue to oppose calorie-laden menus and that governmental officials give people credit for having the capacity for making up their own minds about how much they eat, even if it's harmful.

Comments

gr 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't think restaurants are "fighting to hide their nutrition information". RagingBear says it's pretty easy for anyone to figure out. I say, eating at a restaurant is a treat. Treats are not healthy and should be only imbibed rarely. I think it has been common knowledge that you don't go to restaurants to eat healthy. A no brainer there."Often food items that seem healthy and are marketed that way are not."Exactly. If you are concerned about your health, don't eat out."my company just launched a new service called 'Wellternatives' "Ahhhh. Nothing about "hiding" or if restaurants should be needlessly hassled, but merely an advertising plug. No wonder YOU think it's a great idea.By the way, if you are hosting with 1&1, you may want to read their reviews.

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wellsphere 5 years, 11 months ago

I think it's a great idea restaurants are being asked to post info. It's amazing how hard restaurant chains are fighting to hide their nutrition information. It's hard to eat well when eating out, especially when you have dietary needs or want to watch your calorie intake. Often food items that seem healthy and are marketed that way are not. For this reason, my company just launched a new service called 'Wellternatives' that lets people find nutrition info for thousands of chain restaurants - right from their cell phone or on the web. It also makes recommendations for a healthier alternative to your favorite restaurant meals, hence the name:Wellternatives. Would love to hear what you think of it! Sara

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gr 5 years, 11 months ago

Maybe I should have said I don't agree with the study."If you live longer, then you cost the health system more."So, if we kill everyone off, it will costs less. Something's wrong with that idea. But, could explain why poison is allowed to be put in our water system and directly injected into our bodies."Dutch researchers found the health costs of thin and healthy people in adulthood are more expensive than those of either fat people or smokers."If they were "healthy", they wouldn't have health costs."and obese people lived about 80 years."That is where the 4 years is coming from and I would disagree obese people live to 80. I don't know, but I don't recall seeing any. I have seen several die in their 40s and 50s.I'd say it would be interesting to look into the study as to what constitutes "obese" (1 pound overweight?) and what constitutes "healthy". Also, the "obese" state of those who summarized it?"He said government projections about obesity costs are frequently based on guesswork, political agendas, and changing science."Hmmm..... I wonder if that could that apply to other governement "projections"?

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 11 months ago

Hey, that was easier to find than I thought. Many sites carried news of the study.This isn't the place where I read it, but the first page sounds the same. There is a full story, but I don't have time to check it right now.http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourview/2008/02/smokers_the_obese_cheaper_to_t.html

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 11 months ago

lol.The study didn't say "only live 4 yrs longer".They used '4 years on average".I ought to go find that again, because it's really good.

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gr 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't know if I agree with you that in general thinner people live only 4 years longer and have a host of other diseases costing more. But, there may be something to be said to the obese people who eat poorly until a wakeup call, and then choose to lose weight. Later, their earlier choices catch up with them and while live longer (and I would say more than just 4 years), they may experience some of the results of choices.Do you think there is, or should be a push to get people to be obese to help solve the social security experiment?

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 11 months ago

gr..actually they done a study on the lifetime medical issue.The study found that the overweight as you say do die earlier, on average 4 years before smokers, and in researching the overall medical expenses, they use less in a lifetime.The smokers die on average four years later, having smoking related health problems that cost more in a lifetime.The thin group that lives on average four years longer, are the people who get Alzheimer's,dementia,serious bone issues,etc., and usually require long term care, resulting in total medical expenditures that can far exceed the other two groups.It costs more to live longer. Obesity may well be the thing that saves the system. If more boomer's are obese, they won't be in the system as long.

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gr 5 years, 11 months ago

"We can know how many calories in roughly a cup of rice, we know roughly how many calories are in a piece of chicken."Guess we don't need a calorie count afterall. Glad you could figure it out yourself, bear. "The nice thing about Fatties is that they usually die before they run up a big medical bill that the rest of the public have to pay for."Yep. No one could say they knew an obese person over 80. Probably not over 60.Unfortunately, they do run up big medical bills in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Then they moan it's genetics and if only there were calorie counts on menus and then they want the rest of us to pay for their poor choices -- as they engulf another pie (not piece).

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Harderfaster 5 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 11 months ago

Remember when they created special sauce and it was good?Then after so many years, it was just boring, yucky.

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idarastar 5 years, 11 months ago

Why do Americans need calorie listings to clutter up their restaurant menus?Or is the questionWhy do Americans need restaurant menus to clutter up their daily calories?Learn how to cook. Better yet, don't learn how to cook. The standard american diet is death in itself. The best way to get calories is from fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans. You can't find any simple menus with basic ingredients the way they are grown naturally.McDonalds is not food. It is a food product. Caloric information won't help the average american that is addicted to the taste of the "special sauce." Numbers mean nothing to them.

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Ragingbear 5 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps an estimated calorie count? We can know how many calories in roughly a cup of rice, we know roughly how many calories are in a piece of chicken. I would just like an educated estimate to let us know.I also agree about sugar and carbs, but then you end up with issues like displaying fat, and ingredients as well. I don't want a full RDA listing next to all my stuff on a menu.

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offtotheright 5 years, 11 months ago

Fat people don't care. Why else would they be eating at fatdonalds! I hope the commissioners in Lawrence don't read this .... just one more 'rule' for businesses!

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gr 5 years, 11 months ago

"There have been several times I have gone into a restaurant and tried to find out how many calories it was (I was doing well, lost a ton of weight that summer), only to discover nothing."Bear, you should be able to relate to the following: If you don't like a restaurant not posting calories - DON'T eat there!

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Andini 5 years, 11 months ago

How 'bout a red hook ale...right now!

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vpete69 5 years, 11 months ago

Just making a point Rammy. It is utterly IMPOSSIBLE for any restaurant other than chain fast food to post nutritional information. The product varies too much from day to day. Unless you want a label like this:Veal Florentine Nutritional InformationServing Size: 8 oz.Calories: Somewhere between 720 to 1250Total Fat: Somewhere between 34g to 52

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rammy 5 years, 11 months ago

ok, chef, thanks for the rambling post........

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Buggie7 5 years, 11 months ago

I agree with your last sentence there Raging Bear and its not only calories I believe the sugar and carb amounts need to be on there too. There are diabetics that go out to eat and just becuase you are overweight or diabetic or have other health issues does not mean that you cant go out and enjoy a family gathering at a restaruant without gaining or going into some shock because of hidden carbs and sugars.I think its a great idea and to those who posted earlier about if you dont use it then dont. I agree. However, you arent the only diners out there.You can also get chicken at places that you would normally think ok grilled chicken this should be good for me and they are right it is good for them but the sugary marinade they dont tell you on it is worth about 300 calories.

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vpete69 5 years, 11 months ago

The ONLY restaurants where this MIGHT be okay....fast food chain restaurants. Their food is prepared the same way, with the same crap product every time. There are no variables that change.Any other restaurant should not be subject to this. Do you know how long it takes to get nutritional information on a food product? Does anyone know what is involved? You have to send it into a lab and it takes about a month. At normal restaurants, the preparation of identical items vary drastically from one order to the next. The cook may have used one tablespoon of butter and 4 oz of cream in the first order. But in the second order the cook may have gotten busy, used oil instead of butter, and used 5 oz of cream. Then tomorrow's dairy shipment brought in Robert's brand cream with a 42% fat content instead of 40% (normal occurrence). I have been working in kitchens for 10 years. While item components are made the same (or VERY similar), there is not a single cook anywhere who measures ingredients and components on the line, and not a single day or order where the product remains constant. It may look and taste the same, but its not the same. Its a fact. How is a restaurant supposed to provide nutritional information on their menu items when there are so many changing variables? And are they supposed to start creating their 'specials' 6 weeks in advance so they have time to submit it to the lab and get the nutrition info?Use your heads people

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Ragingbear 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't think it's too much to ask. There have been several times I have gone into a restaurant and tried to find out how many calories it was (I was doing well, lost a ton of weight that summer), only to discover nothing. I've even used online resources for places like Spangles and such, to no avail. Sometimes people on a diet want to be able to break away from the norm and get a nice meal from a restaurant without blowing their diet severely.

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gr 5 years, 11 months ago

"NO taxes for obese old ladies!"Just wondering if anyone knows of old people who are obese. Not just overweight, but any obese who are over 80?"even those who are concerned with their health will choose to dine at a restaurant."True. But that doesn't mean they care about calories.Just like people who are concerned about their debt will still buy things they don't need - and most would not be concerned about item quality.

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vpete69 5 years, 11 months ago

Believing that eating at McDonald's wont make you fat is like believing that smoking wont affect your health. A perfect example of the government taking over another area of our lives that they think we're too stupid to handle ourselves. And based on a couple comments above....we are.

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Confrontation 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't see the harm in this. Sure, it takes up some space on menus. However, there are times when even those who are concerned with their health will choose to dine at a restaurant. For those who don't care, they'll ignore the calorie count. For those who do care, they can read the info.

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Kat Christian 5 years, 11 months ago

Another fad that will either get out of control or amount to nothing but fooling people to think they are cutting calories. I think restaurants will give false information. It will become a gimmick like many other things.

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 11 months ago

NO taxes for obese old ladies!They suffered to be awarded with every ounce of that weight, and they should be applauded.Like that African tribe that force feeds young girls so they will be fat for marriage.

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gr 5 years, 11 months ago

"of a new city requirement that some chain restaurants post calorie figures on menus."I'm confused why people, who would give a care about calories, are going to restaurants, much less chain restaurants."What in the world will printing calories on menus or on wall displays do to change that for the better? People know if they are too portly and they know what to do about changing that - if they will."Exactly!"He said the city requirement will help the city achieve its goal of reducing obesity."Who's goal? Is this the city enforcing it's beliefs on others? What about the "civil rights" of choosing to be obese!How about enforced weighings and those over a certain amount pay a tax?

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