Gaping Holes in Calorie Legislation

“Eating out” has become almost a dirty word, especially for those on a diet or trying to lose weight. With the obesity rates in our country skyrocketing, everyone seem to be scrambling to find the solution. The recent changes in health care policy include a provision that mandates chain restaurants with 20 or more locations must post calorie information on their menu items. Now, the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) is attempting to create some rules for how the law should be applied across the United States.

The proposed rules have recently been revised, with a notable exception to the calorie data posting: movie theaters. F.D.A. deputy commissioner for foods Michael Taylor says the rules have been revised to include only establishments whose primary function is to sell food, reports the New York Times. That means that besides movie theaters, a few other major exceptions would include bowling alleys, airplanes and carnivals.

It is important to note that research has found that posting caloric data next to menu items may not even have an impact on consumers’ food choices. In fact, according to the Washington Post, the most recent study done by New York University shows that calorie posting does not have an effect. The study, published in The International Journal of Obesity found that children and teenagers purchased about the same number of calories before and after the calorie information was posted. While the study was small, looking at only 349 subjects, it showed that the young consumers purchased about 645 calories with or without the postings. The data was collected from McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken locations in low-income areas of New York and New Jersey. It’s also important to remember that there is a definite correlation between low-income areas and higher-than-average levels of obesity.

While posting caloric data next to menu items may not have an impact for some, it will undoubtedly influence certain groups of people. Those who are already conscious about their health and food decisions may enjoy knowing how many calories they are actually consuming when they eat out. But that brings us back to the question: why not post this information in movie theaters (or bowling alleys and airplanes, for that matter)? The fact that the primary functions of these places is not technically to sell food is a weak answer at best. Popcorn has often been heralded as a healthier snack food than other options. Consumers should be aware that the tubs of popcorn at the movie theater contain almost an entire day’s worth of calories and salt, not to mention up to three days worth of saturated fat, according to data from WebMD. Yes, you read that right – three days worth of saturated fat.

In theory, the “cure” for obesity should be simple: eat healthy and exercise regularly. Unfortunately, reality is much more complicated than that, and making healthy decisions about your food can be fraught with difficulties. But fear not. With or without posted caloric data, there are ways to make simple, delicious and healthy decisions. One of those ways is to order fresh, in-season organic fruit from FruitShare™. We will deliver your box of fruit right to your home or even to your office, so you can ditch the unhealthy snacks and always have nutritious organic fruit readily available. Our fruit is perfect for creating healthy meals, too, and even comes with a newsletter that has a recipe idea. Let FruitShare™ do the hard work for you so you can enjoy your food without worrying about hidden calories, salt or fat. It’s simply fruit, the way nature intended.

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