10/06/2009

Calorie Posting Laws at NYC restaurants don't alter what people eat

Calorie posting laws in NYC haven't been altering what people eat. This might not be a big cost for large chains per dollar of food that they serve, but what about fancy "Foodie" restaurants? No change in today's menu because the food hasn't been tested yet for its calorie count. If you only serve food once as an experiment and you are a small restaurant, how can it pay to send the food off for testing? It will surely reduce innovation in food.

A study of New York City’s pioneering law on posting calories in restaurant chains suggests that when it comes to deciding what to order, people’s stomachs are more powerful than their brains.

The study, by several professors at New York University and Yale, tracked customers at four fast-food chains – McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken – in poor neighborhoods of New York City where there are high rates of obesity.

It found that about half the customers noticed the calorie counts, which were prominently posted on menu boards. About 28 percent of those who noticed them said the information had influenced their ordering, and nine out of 10 of those said they had made healthier choices as a result.

But when the researchers checked receipts afterward, they found that people had, in fact, ordered slightly more calories than the typical customer had before the labeling law went into effect, in July 2008.

The findings, to be published Tuesday in the online version of the journal Health Affairs, come amid the spreading popularity of calorie-counting proposals as a way to improve public health across the country.

“I think it does show us that labels are not enough,” Brian Elbel, an assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine and the lead author of the study, said in an interview. . . . .

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2 Comments:

Blogger Chas said...

I will give up my Big Mac when the food Nazi’s pry it from my cold dead hands.

10/07/2009 8:52 AM  
Blogger Mike Gallo said...

Wow. The problem with a statement like this: "when it comes to deciding what to order, people’s stomachs are more powerful than their brains," is that it makes the assumption that it is a bad choice to consume calories. In fact, millions of years of evolution have led us to crave easy energy; fats, sugars, etc., because we barely have to metabolize them to transfer the bond energy into usable metabolic energy forms such as ATP. The cost-to-payout ratio on these things is excellent.

Oh, well. Better not let science get in the way of a bunch of do-gooder "dieticians." And it's a good thing that "labels are not enough." I'd love to have a beureaucrat making my most intimate decisions, like what to eat, for me, because I'm too stupid to know what's good for me.

10/07/2009 9:42 AM  

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