Those who relish their nutritional ignorance while indulging in a three-course meal at the Cheesecake Factory are in for a rude awakening. Calorie counts are coming to a restaurant near you. After years of delays, the Food and Drug Administration is expect to implement a policy that was advised during the Obama administration. Any food outlets with more than 20 locations will be required to post calorie information on their menus. A draft of the guidelines was released this week. This plan is likely to come into effect as early as May 2018.
The policy applies to not only restaurants, but movie theaters, vending machines, amusement parks, and any notable public place that serves the delicious, unhealthy garbage we consume to forget the harsh reality of our mundane lives. Given this newfound reality check, we may stop asking for extra butter on our popcorn (but probably not, who are we kidding?). Many fast food places have already anticipated these new standards, which is how I know that a Venti Mocha Frappucino at Starbucks has 500 calories.
All of this is part of an ongoing effort from the FDA to curb the obesity epidemic. Studies have shown that people consume up to 20 to 40 percent more calories when eating out, so the hope is that consumers will make healthier choices when the nutritional informational is unavoidably evident. But just because we have the data available to make more informed dining decisions, doesn’t mean we will.
Food policy experts *do* suspect it might have an impact on the recipes, ingredients, and portions sizes fast food franchises offer in the first place. After all, 1,000 calories for a super-sized serving of fries is not a good look. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Only time will tell if those triple Whoppers are not long for this world.
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