Health-care bill makes ignoring high-caloric foods hard

By • Published: June 2nd, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Yum. It’s pizza night at your favorite restaurant. The smell of dough baking mixed with a hint of garlic and the pungent aroma of sauce makes it all too easy to disregard the thousand calories you’ll inevitably consume from eating three scrumptious pieces.

But soon, it will be hard to pretend you didn’t know about them.

Tucked into the recently passed health-care legislation package is a new law: Restaurants with twenty or more locations will be required to post the caloric content of their food items next to each menu listing.

This means that more than two-hundred-thousand fast-food and other chain restaurants will have to post calories on menus, menu boards, drive-thrus, and, in some instances, even vending machines.

This is all part of the growing battle to thwart obesity. Rather than look for calories posted on a Web site or in small print on a poster or food wrapper, consumers will see the caloric content front and center when a food order is placed. Government officials who wrote the provision hope this will make consumers think twice when they order.

The National Restaurant Association is hopeful, too. Representatives there say it means they will be better able to respond to customers. It also means that a national standard for menu labeling will be created by the Food and Drug Administration, replacing the current hodgepodge of local and state rules and regulations.

Relax for now. The FDA will have a year to write the new rules, so there’s still some time to enjoy that 800-calorie latte… and pretend.