Thursday, May 1, 2014

Restaurant Portions and Calories

Just read an article over at NPR regarding the high-calorie menu options at Italian restaurant chains.  While some of the language is rather poor (once again, they can't come up with anything better for fettucino alfredo than the now-trite "heart attack on a plate"?), I really liked what I saw at the very bottom:

So, why is it so easy to eat more than we intend to when we dine out? Well, until now, there's been little transparancy. If customers wanted calorie information, they'd have to look it up online.
But this is about to change. The Affordable Care Act includes a provision that will require chain restaurants to post calories on menus. The details are being finalized now by the Obama administration.
"I think we are looking at full implementation [of calorie posting on menus] by spring 2015," Margo Wootan of the CSPI told us by email. Menu labeling is already in some cities including New York City, Philadelphia and in California

I know from my own experience that posting calories on menus has had an effect on my decision of what to order.  If I see that the plate potentially coming towards me has a whopping overload of saturated fat and salt, I will send it back to the kitchen before it's even ordered.

I'd like to know your thoughts.  Do you think that having the calories posted is something that will be beneficial to health?  Would it have an effect on the food that you order?  Knowing that people tend to eat as much as is placed in front of them, should restaurants go back to serving smaller, 1950s-sized portions?  Or do you like being able to take home half your portion to eat as lunch the next day?

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