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Restaurant nutrition labeling: the death of deep-fried Oreos?

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As one who is now counting carbs and calories with some diligence, I appreciate Joanne Kenen’s article on how the health care reform legislation requires chain restaurants to post nutrition info. Excerpt:

“Early data from New York and King County in Seattle, the first two communities that have put menu labeling laws into effect, show that giving diners more dish on their diet has a modest but detectable impact — more than some earlier voluntary initiatives where customers had to seek out the information on brochures or computer kiosks. With accurate and readily accessible information right on the menu or the menu board, more restaurant customers do opt for that 400-calorie Chicken A, not the 1,200-calorie Chicken B. And public health experts predict the behavior shift will be more discernable over time.”

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Kell Brigan

May 30, 2010 at 12:36 am

But, if someone is eating normally (using the Satter definition — on demand, from a wide variety of different kinds of food, without ritualized programs or adherence to questionable food groups myths http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/08/26/what-is-normal-eating/) then any temporary “reduction” in calorie intake would be make up within 48 hours as the persons eats sanely/normally in response to appetite. Remember, NO ONE has ever proven, or even come close to proving, that heavier/fatter people eat more or differently than anyone else. The only people who might be semi-permanently (i.e. for about two years, the maximum amount of time 99% of people sustain any weight change) impacted by such labelling would be those people with eating disorders — “dieters,” and other people who are eating abnormally due to obsessions, mental illness, or a mistaken belief that body weight (beyond the ~20 setpoint gray area) can be changed by changing food intake. Safe, sane and permanent weight loss simply doesn’t exist. Even if labelling made any permanent change in intake numbers (not proven by anyone looking at this info because they’re looking at one isolated meal choice), it still wouldn’t change body weights outside of setpoint limits, i.e. more than about ten pounds.

Mrs. Right

June 1, 2010 at 9:35 am

As a calorie-counter, I absolutely appreciate restaurants posting their nutrition information with their offerings. However, I do not believe it should be the place of the Federal or even local governments to issue laws demanding the posting of such information. We need less government interference, not more.