May 9, 2018
It’s taken almost a decade, but the FDA is finally implementing regulation that requires restaurants and other food outlets with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts. That means you’ll know exactly how many calories you wolfed down during lunch, and how many miles you’ll have to run to burn them off.
Several major chains already voluntarily posted calorie counts, because the FDA was expected to finalize this regulation years ago. But now, they all must do it, regardless of whether they want to or not. From grocery stores and movie theaters to amusement parks and vending machines, food sellers will have to show how many calories are contained in their offerings right on the menu.
Nutrition experts expect that the availability of calorie information will change the way Americans think about food and nutrition, what we choose to eat, and what restaurants serve.
Research shows Americans now get most of our calories from eating out, and when we dine out, we eat more. On average, people consume 20% to 40% more calories in restaurants, compared to home-cooked meals. This is why many people link dining out with America’s obesity epidemic.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb previously expressed his desire to move forward with menu labeling, which he doesn’t view as a partisan issue. “I’m quite sure that a lot of conservatives, including myself, have turned over packages in stores to look at the calorie information and the nutrition information and appreciate that that information is there,” he told Politico.
In a May 2 blog post, Gottlieb said the regulation was a win for consumers, and a way to enhance competition among food producers to create products that are “healthy, inexpensive … [and] also tasteful.”
For questions, comments or concerns, please contact Jennifer Duell Popovec